Top Game Design Schools and Colleges in Chicago (2022 College Rankings)

Game Design Schools and Colleges in Chicago. Chicago offers a wide variety of programs for video game developers at public and private universities, technical schools, and art and design colleges. The following university is considered one of the top-ranked schools for video game design and development in Chicago, based on the programs offered, the gaming and computer lab facilities, and the school’s connection to the local community:

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What are the top game design programs in Chicago for 2022?

Rankings of Illinois Game Design Schools for 2022

Ranking             School  City

1DePaul UniversityChicago
2Columbia College ChicagoChicago
3Bradley UniversityPeoria
Game Design Schools and Colleges in Chicago

1. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois

Established in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission (of the Vincentian) religious community, DePaul University is one of the oldest universities in the country. DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the country with nearly 22,500 students and the 13th-largest private, not-for-profit university in the United States.

In addition to its two campuses in Chicago, the school offers more than 300 degree and certificate programs in 10 colleges and schools. The College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University is one of the first universities to offer courses for developing games for smartphones.

Three schools of the CDM are established: the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), the School of Computing (SoC), and the School of Design (SoD). Our degree programs include BS degrees in Game Design and Game Programming, BS degrees in Computer Science focused on Games, an MFA in Game Design, and MS degrees in Game Programming which include training in real-time computing, computer graphics, and retooling for the game industry. Software engineering, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, animation, software architecture, and networking are among the topics students study in this program. Both the SoC and SoD of the CDM offer minors in Game Design and Programming.

Furthermore, DePaul University offers the DePaul Game Experience (DGE) and a Summer Academy for Game, Cinema, and Animation. Students may take classes focused on Computer Game Development, 3D Computer Modeling and Animation for Games and Cinema, or Digital Cinema Production during this weeklong program.

A select group of students can participate in the DePaul Game Experience (DGE) and create a game for the Student IGF Competition. DGE teams have been finalists in IGDA student competitions in the past.

The Deep Games Laboratory and all CDM laboratory facilities are available to students in all Game Design programs, including several relevant to the program, such as research and development, gameplay, virtual reality, and playtest and usability labs. This lab is a cross-disciplinary group of designers, researchers, developers, and assessors that focus on games that explore human insights.

The DePaul Game Program has recently graduated professionals at Carbine Studios, Disney Interactive Studios, Firaxis, and others.NeatherRealm Studios, Owlchemy Labs, Phosphor Games, Scientific Games, Wargaming, and many others. Young Horses developed its indie hit Octodad at DePaul, and several graduates have formed their own gaming companies.

2. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

The Columbia School of Oratory (Columbia College Chicago) was founded in 1890. The school’s Schools of Media Arts, Fine and Performing Arts, and Liberal Arts and Sciences enroll nearly 7,000 students in 150 majors, minors, and graduate programs. Interactive Arts & Media (IAM) Department was established within the School of Media Arts to offer programs for aspiring game designers.

The program offers BA degrees in Games Art and Game Design with specializations in Game Development and Game Sound Design, BA/BS degrees in Programming with a Concentration in Game Programming, and minors in Games Art and Game Design.

Students in the Game Design program will be able to start creating games from the first semester and continue creating for the remainder of their time at Columbia. As professional game artists, students will use the same tools used in class. According to the school, the curriculum is modeled after the collaborative environment of the game industry. A team of seniors in Video Game Art, Video Game Design, Video Game Programming, and Video Game Sound will form the collaborative team.

In this Senior Capstone, you will work in small (Indie Game Studio) or large (Large Team Game Studio) groups to create a video game. In addition, students will have the opportunity to present their work at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, South by Southwest (SXSW), and the Columbia College Industry Night.

The Game Lab is available to students in all programs. In addition to PC and console gaming hardware, there is a high-definition AV system, and hundreds of video game titles available for student research, according to the school.

Those who have graduated from the Columbia College Game Programs have found employment at studios and companies including Bungie, High Voltage Software, Incredible Technologies, Iron Galaxy, Jellyvision, NetherRealm Studios, Pixar, Raven Software, Raw Thrills, Robomondo, Skywalker Sound, Sony, and Weta Digital. Even major companies such as Walmart and John Deere use simulations built by graduates.

3. Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois

In 1897, Lydia Moss Bradley, a successful businesswoman, and philanthropist founded Bradley Polytechnic Institute, which eventually became Bradley University. There were no more than 150 students at the school at that time.

There are currently 5,900 students at Bradley University, who are taught by 340 full-time faculty members. They are enrolled in over 200 programs across eight colleges.

Game Art and Game Design majors can earn a BS or BA from Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts’ Department of Interactive Media (IM). Both minors in Game Design and Game Production are offered.

It requires 18-21 credit hours of studies to complete the Game Design Minor, and 18 credit hours to complete the Game Production Minor. According to the school, courses for the Game Design Minor focus on storytelling and the production of audio and video for games. There are three levels of courses in Interactive Media Fundamentals, Game Design I-II, and Game Production II. A Computer Game Capstone Project is also part of the program (3 credit hours) and the Advanced Game Capstone is 6 credit hours.

Students majoring in computer science or computer information systems may pursue the Game Production Minor. In addition to Courses I-II, students will also take Introduction to Interactive Media and Computer Game Capstone Projects as well as Advanced Game Capstones, which teach students how to apply technical skills to game development. This program focuses on “processes and tools used in the industry, as well as user-centered design principles.”

Game Design addresses the creation of ideas, scripting, prototyping, and the game development process through its focus on idea creation, asset creation, environment art, character art, and animation. At the annual FUSE exhibition, students will demonstrate their digital artwork to the public, participate in game jams and other competitions, and gain hands-on experience with industry-standard software packages. The students will also complete an internship “at a renowned company working with real-time visualization or in-game art.”

Participants will have the opportunity to visit the Interactive Media, Animation Research, Game Design Research Labs, and InterMedia Center.

Students who graduate from Bradley University’s IM program have found employment at Blizzard, Double Negative MGM, NetherRealms, Oculus VR, Scientific Games, Sony Pictures Imageworks, United Renderworks, Warner Brothers Games, and more.

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