Best Online Game Design Degrees

A bachelor's degree in game design can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the best programs available.

Updated September 20, 2022

Best Online Game Design Degrees

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Finding the Right Game Design Program and Exploring Careers

The video game industry is rapidly evolving, sparking the demand for multimedia artists and animators to grow along with it. As long as new mobile applications and games continue to emerge, skilled game designers will be needed to create their cutting-edge imagery and sophisticated special effects. Earning a bachelor's degree in game design online will give you dgital skills you need for a career beyond just video games–game designers can also train to create simulations for military training as well as education entertainment systems. Get an overview of what you might expect from taking game design courses online, as well as a list of top programs in the country.

How Much do People with Game Design Degrees Make?

While the specialization possibilities within the game design industry are broad, there are a few standard career paths everyone interested in earning their bachelor's degree in game design should consider because they are lucrative, fast-growing, or both. Take a look at the salary and growth potential for some common career paths in game design below:




Video Game Designer

Job Outlook: +5.6%
Median Annual Salary: $61,552

Good Fit For:
A video game designer must be able to code on gaming systems or computers to produce playable games, skills that are learned as part of a bachelor's program in game design. Tasks could include creating and testing new concepts and storylines, making the ability to think innovatively important. Teamwork is also essential, as game designers must map out their concepts for other team members to help with the larger development process.




App Developer

Job Outlook: +30.7
Median Annual Salary: $100,000

Good Fit For:
From modifying existing applications to new app creation and development, an app developer is a creative offshoot of software development that students with their bachelor's in game design may consider. Beyond technical skills, app developers often coordinate with or oversee teams of programmers, making the ability to communicate well and provide leadership important. Building strong relationships with and understanding user needs is also a must, making client research and relations experience helpful.




Multimedia Artist or Animator

Job Outlook: +8.4
Median Annual Salary: $70,530

Good Fit For:
An animator role is ideal for students with a bachelor's degree in game design, especially those who are adept at using animation programs like Flash and Maya 3DSMax. Animators also need strong creative thinking skills to develop stories and their characters. Building a portfolio of creative work is essential for showcasing abilities. While many roles require working independently, the ability to collaborate can also be useful for large-scale projects.




Graphic Designer

Job Outlook: +4.2
Median Annual Salary: $48,700

Good Fit For:
Those with excellent visualization and brainstorming skills combined with technical software abilities learned while earning their bachelor's in game design may find general graphic design appealing. Graphic designers are often the first people taking ideas and putting them to paper visually. Strong people and professionalism skills are also required, and designers must be able to take criticism in stride as clients request changes on products or projects.

Sources: BLS 2018

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Online Game Design Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

In general, students who grauate with their bachelor's in game design may slot well into roles as computer programmers. If you're interested in this aspect, check out the average wages state-by-state for this postion below.

Alabama Median Annual Salary: $87,700

Number Currently Employed: 7,420

Projected Job Growth: -7.2 percent

Alaska Median Annual Salary: $92,970

Number Currently Employed: 600

Projected Job Growth: -0.5 percent

Arizona Median Annual Salary: $88,700

Number Currently Employed: 4,410

Projected Job Growth: -2.4 percent

Arkansas Median Annual Salary: $69,520

Number Currently Employed: 2,040

Projected Job Growth: -0.4 percent

California Median Annual Salary: $96,270

Number Currently Employed: 34,050

Projected Job Growth: -4.7 percent

Colorado Median Annual Salary: $96,100

Number Currently Employed: 3,260

Projected Job Growth: +0.2 percent

Connecticut Median Annual Salary: $87,610

Number Currently Employed: 5,250

Projected Job Growth: -4.2 percent

Delaware Median Annual Salary: $77,200

Number Currently Employed: 1,130

Projected Job Growth: -9.2 percent

District of Columbia Median Annual Salary: $101,740

Number Currently Employed: 1,200

Projected Job Growth: -3.2 percent

Florida Median Annual Salary: $79,770

Number Currently Employed: 10,670

Projected Job Growth: +1.6 percent

Georgia Median Annual Salary: $85,380

Number Currently Employed: 6,880

Projected Job Growth: -9 percent

Hawaii Median Annual Salary: $77,190

Number Currently Employed: 470

Projected Job Growth: -10.5 percent

Idaho Median Annual Salary: $75,310

Number Currently Employed: 630

Projected Job Growth: -4.4 percent

Illinois Median Annual Salary: $89,390

Number Currently Employed: 12,060

Projected Job Growth: -4.6 percent

Indiana Median Annual Salary: $75,420

Number Currently Employed: 4,350

Projected Job Growth: -5.8 percent

Iowa Median Annual Salary: $75,060

Number Currently Employed: 1,430

Projected Job Growth: -3 percent

Kansas Median Annual Salary: $74,190

Number Currently Employed: 1,710

Projected Job Growth: -9.6 percent

Kentucky Median Annual Salary: $69,700

Number Currently Employed: 1,040

Projected Job Growth: -9.3 percent

Louisiana Median Annual Salary: $67,970

Number Currently Employed: 2,340

Projected Job Growth: +14.1 percent

Maine Median Annual Salary: $77,450

Number Currently Employed: 880

Projected Job Growth: -13.6 percent

Maryland Median Annual Salary: $89,090

Number Currently Employed: 4,710

Projected Job Growth: +7.9 percent

Massachusetts Median Annual Salary: $94,340

Number Currently Employed: 5,150

Projected Job Growth: -10.3 percent

Michigan Median Annual Salary: $73,680

Number Currently Employed: 3,630

Projected Job Growth: -7.4 percent

Minnesota Median Annual Salary: $89,440

Number Currently Employed: 4,950

Projected Job Growth: -9.3 percent

Mississippi Median Annual Salary: $73,860

Number Currently Employed: 780

Projected Job Growth: -12.2 percent

Missouri Median Annual Salary: $80,030

Number Currently Employed: 6,710

Projected Job Growth: -2.5 percent

Montana Median Annual Salary: $92,150

Number Currently Employed: 720

Projected Job Growth: +1 percent

Nebraska Median Annual Salary: $77,670

Number Currently Employed: 2,580

Projected Job Growth: -2.8 percent

Nevada Median Annual Salary: $77,080

Number Currently Employed: 1,500

Projected Job Growth: -6.5 percent

New Hampshire Median Annual Salary: $73,700

Number Currently Employed: 1,370

Projected Job Growth: -5.4 percent

New Jersey Median Annual Salary: $92,320

Number Currently Employed: 10,930

Projected Job Growth: -12.6 percent

New Mexico Median Annual Salary: $79,850

Number Currently Employed: 440

Projected Job Growth: -8.6 percent

New York Median Annual Salary: $89,260

Number Currently Employed: 16,420

Projected Job Growth: -5.5 percent

North Carolina Median Annual Salary: $90,250

Number Currently Employed: 6,820

Projected Job Growth: -2.1 percent

North Dakota Median Annual Salary: $67,080

Number Currently Employed: 670

Projected Job Growth: -0.8 percent

Ohio Median Annual Salary: $70,430

Number Currently Employed: 4,720

Projected Job Growth: -16.4 percent

Oklahoma Median Annual Salary: $79,200

Number Currently Employed: 1,900

Projected Job Growth: -8.7 percent

Oregon Median Annual Salary: $80,900

Number Currently Employed: 3,080

Projected Job Growth: -3.1 percent

Pennsylvania Median Annual Salary: $80,830

Number Currently Employed: 10,710

Projected Job Growth: -8.4 percent

Rhode Island Median Annual Salary: $75,300

Number Currently Employed: 1,020

Projected Job Growth: -10.3 percent

South Carolina Median Annual Salary: $81,380

Number Currently Employed: 3,510

Projected Job Growth: -8 percent

South Dakota Median Annual Salary: $54,950

Number Currently Employed: 640

Projected Job Growth: -5.8 percent

Tennessee Median Annual Salary: $76,740

Number Currently Employed: 4,090

Projected Job Growth: -6.6 percent

Texas Median Annual Salary: $86,200

Number Currently Employed: 20,850

Projected Job Growth: +10.4 percent

Utah Median Annual Salary: $80,930

Number Currently Employed: 3,780

Projected Job Growth: +19 percent

Vermont Median Annual Salary: $69,140

Number Currently Employed: 480

Projected Job Growth: -11.2 percent

Virginia Median Annual Salary: $95,520

Number Currently Employed: N/A

Projected Job Growth: -6.4 percent

Washington Median Annual Salary: $121,000

Number Currently Employed: 10,500

Projected Job Growth: +11.7 percent

West Virginia Median Annual Salary: $80,420

Number Currently Employed: 670

Projected Job Growth: -10 percent

Wisconsin Median Annual Salary: $76,190

Number Currently Employed: 5,450

Projected Job Growth: -2.3 percent

Wyoming Median Annual Salary: $65,480

Number Currently Employed: 220

Projected Job Growth: -7.9 percent

What Courses Should I Take to Become a Game Designer?

A wide variety of coursework is required of anyone thinkng about earning a bachelor's degree in game design online, including general education courses and those specific to their areas of focus. Students will acquire the fundamentals of traditional and digital arts as well as the technical and programming skills that will help them to create and develop video games on various platforms. Core courses focus on game design, animation, game engine development and storytelling, whereas others provide supplementary skills that could be useful in your career as a game designer.

Here are five sample courses you might expect to see in an online game design bachelor's degree program.

How to Choose the Best Online Game Design Program

Choosing the “best” online game design program is really more about choosing the “right” program for your needs. This includes your budget, the area of game design on which you would like to focus, and what career you want to pursue once you earn your degree. Here are some frequently asked questions from students considering pursuing game design.

What area of study should I focus on within game design?

This answer is different for every student, and when pursuing a bachelor's in game design you'll be able to get a taste for the many different specializations within the field. Common roles within the industry include:

You should choose a game design school with a bachelor-level curriculum list that matches your interests and has a track record of producing students who have done what you'd like to do in your career. Keep in mind, game design roles sometimes involve long hours, but if you are enamored with the end result, putting in overtime may be worth it.

What tools and programs do game design students learn to use?

Game design pros use a variety of different software and workstation platforms, depending on their specialization and preferences. But primary programs you'll get to know while earning your bachelor's degree in game design are After Effects, Visual Studio, Unreal, Assembla, Unity 3D, Blender, Photoshop. Fun tools you can get to know on your own might include TVPaint for drawing animations, or Evernote for scribbling out ideas.

Do I need to have a game idea to get the most out of a game design degree?

No, but if you do have a game idea you'd like to get off the ground, you may want to consider becoming part of the game industry to get noticed. A formal education—earning your bachelor's in game design—is often an easy place to start, to learn more about the industry and decide if there's a specialization within it that interests you. Producing and publishing a game is a very involved task, and earning a bachelor's degree in game design can better prepare you to create the game you have pictured.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Game Design Programs

Just as with any other major, bachelor's game design students, including those learning online, may need to rely on some financial aid or scholarships to help afford the cost of college tuition. Fortunately, there are many scholarships available for game design students, including the following:

Emagination Game Design offers its Rick Goodman Scholarship program to help college-bound gamers realize their dreams. Students pursuing a game design degree can earn a partial scholarship through the program by applying and demonstrating their passion for video game design and development.

Robert Morris University was the first school in the nation to offer gaming scholarships when it added eSports to its varsity lineup in 2014. Student gaming athletes can earn up to 50 percent off tuition and 50 percent off room and board.

The University of Southern California (USC) hosts a summer seminar program on video game design to showcase the latest developments in the gaming industry. Students can compete for USC Cinematic Arts Scholarships by submitting an essay that expresses their passion and skill for game design and development.

The Randy Pausch Scholarship is a $2,500 scholarship supporting game design students and others in interactive entertainment. Applicants can pursue career paths such as art, animation, programming, game design, music composition and more. The scholarship was established to support students who are pursuing careers specializing in the development of interactive entertainment. Some restrictions apply.

UAT Thinking Scholarships from the University of Advancing Technology offers thinking scholarships that recognize students who create original works and ideas that the school determines demonstrate elevated critical thinking. They also offer financial need–based scholarships to help to alleviate some of the financial burden of pursuing a degree.

Bachelor's in Game Design Programs 2022

#1

Savannah College of Art and Design

School Information
Location Savannah, Georgia
Admission Rate 96%
Graduation Rate 70%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A private institution, Savannah College of Art and Design offers in-person programs along with online classes. The school's academic offerings include 19 online programs. Learners interested in game design can enroll in the college's bachelor of fine arts in interactive design and game development program.

Bachelor's degree-seekers complete general education requirements and field-specific classes. The curriculum blends classroom learning and hands-on experiences to prepare enrollees to succeed in the field. Online undergraduates and alumni can work with faculty advisors and career counselors.

Enrollees at the accredited institution can receive federal financial aid, such as the Pell Grant. The program website provides specific application details, including requirements and start dates.

Savannah College of Art and Design at a Glance:

Total Bachelor's Programs: 31

Online Bachelor's Programs: 5

Number of Online Students: 2,904

Percent of Students Accepted: 96%

Graduation Rate: 70%

Per-Credit Tuition: Unavailable

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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