Do you have an interest in video games, computer science, art, animation, and design? Consider these 10 best online bachelor’s degree programs in game design!

From developing a knack for graphic design to perfecting your programming skills, this degree will give you the tools needed to enter the fast-paced and lucrative gaming industry. As multiple gaming platforms continue to grow in popularity, more game designers are needed than ever before. Additionally, since game design is an ever-evolving field, this degree can also open up multiple innovative career paths. If you’re a creative “ideas” person who loves technology, this degree could be a great choice for you!

What Is a Game Design Degree?

Video game design is a complex field involving idea generation, design aesthetics, programming, and other elements of computer art. Whether you’re interested in designing games for smartphone apps or traditional consoles, all students entering this industry must first have a passion for gaming and technology. Students pursuing a degree in game design often develop multiple skills that are lucrative to employers. With this degree, you’ll be eligible for careers in video game programming, development, graphic design, animation, and more.

How Much Can You Earn With a Game Design Degree?

If your game design degree leads you into the career of a multimedia artist and animator, you can make over $70,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If your skills and interests lead you down the path of becoming a software developer for video games, your salary can potentially be over $105,000 per year. Of course, your salary will be based upon your experience, education, and skill level. No matter which area of game design you choose, you’ll also need to build an impressive portfolio.

What Is Required for a Game Design Degree?

Requirements will vary depending on which program you’re applying to. To apply for a bachelor degree program in game design, you’ll have to show proof of a high school GED. In some cases, you’ll also need to first complete an associate degree. Furthermore, some programs require proof of English language proficiency, while others cater to international students. Fortunately, for an undergraduate degree, most colleges don’t require applicants to have a portfolio or past experience with animation and programming. Some of the below programs do require internships or final projects, though. Still, these requirements often help students build impressive design portfolios that can be shown to potential employers.

What Are the Best Game Design Degrees?

The following list contains the 10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Game Design Degrees. Online Schools Report’s ranking system is based on the quality of the program, as indicated by faculty credentials and student engagement. This score includes student success rates, student-to-faculty ratio, and faculty experience and training.

Our methodology also incorporates tuition and fellowships, acceptance rates, and the number of online programs and courses offered. Lastly, we also consider student and alumni satisfaction in the programs they attended and graduated from.

  1. Liberty University

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $38,178/$38,178
    Acceptance71
    Earnings Potential73
    Online Presence4
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention86
    Student Satisfaction76
    Reputation100
    Pros
    • The entire degree can be completed online
    • Courses begin and end on an 8-week schedule
    • All professors have real-world experience in game design
    Cons
    • Takes students 3.5 years on average to complete degree
    • Requires 39-42-credit hours of general education
    • Must also complete 12-credit hours of Christian biblical studies
    100%OSR Score

    This longtime online program from Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Liberty University offers a 120-credit online Bachelor’s of Science in Information with a focus on Gaming Design. Required courses include Introduction to 3D Graphics, Web Architecture and Development, Principles of Macroeconomics, and Digital Imaging. There is also an elective internship, which has a reputation for helping students find employment after graduation.

  2. Savannah College of Art and Design

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $52,952/$52,952
    Acceptance67
    Earnings Potential33
    Online Presence8
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention65
    Student Satisfaction74
    Reputation90
    Pros
    • This degree is available online as part of their popular eLearning program
    • There are multiple on-campus locations in the U.S. and internationally
    • All professors are highly-experienced in their field
    Cons
    • There is a non-refundable $40 application fee
    • Requires 90-credit hours of general education
    • No tuition discounts exist for in-state residents
    85%OSR Score

    Based in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Lacoste (France), Savannah, and online, Savannah College of Art and Design is a great choice for highly creative and adventurous students. This program offers a 180-credit online or on-campus Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media with a concentration in game development. Whether you’re interested in programming or aesthetics, required courses still include 25-credit hours of foundation studies in drawing and color, as well as Introduction to Interactive Design and Game Development, Core Principles of Game Design, and Advanced Survey of Computer Art Applications.

  3. Academy of Art University

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $40,750/$40,750
    Acceptance87
    Earnings Potential75
    Online Presence1
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention88
    Student Satisfaction72
    Reputation86
    Pros
    • Offers both on-campus and online courses
    • Emphasis on 3D modeling, animation, and lighting in video game production
    • Courses taught by world-class and dedicated faculty
    Cons
    • Requires a US $50 nonrefundable application fee
    • A minimum grade of C- must be obtained in all core courses
    • One writing or composition course must be completed
    79%OSR Score

    Based in San Francisco, this 132-credit hour on-campus and online program is highly focused on video game design, art, and professional readiness. Students take a Games Portfolio Preparation course and Collaborative Project interdisciplinary course, as well as have the option to also participate in an internship. Graduates will leave with a professional demo reel or portfolio which meets industry standards.

  4. Baker College

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $23,160/$23,160
    Acceptance87
    Earnings Potential67
    Online Presence4
    Online Program Quality86
    Retention80
    Student Satisfaction76
    Reputation93
    Pros
    • Curriculum geared towards math, science, and programming
    • Offers the option of both on-campus and online courses
    • Graduates often continue their education with a Master of Science in Information Systems degree
    Cons
    • Requires 30-credit hours of general education courses
    • Offers few artistic game design courses
    • Application requires a $30 non-refundable fee
    78%OSR Score

    With multiple locations throughout Michigan, this not-for-profit online and on-campus program requires 120-credit hours for graduation. At Baker College, courses include Principles of Computer Science, Advanced Java Programming, and Trigonometry. Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, students also must complete an entire game development process so they have the hands-on experience upon graduation.

  5. Lindenwood University

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $31,460/$31,460
    Acceptance75
    Earnings Potential53
    Online Presence24
    Online Program Quality48
    Retention73
    Student Satisfaction74
    Reputation75
    Pros
    • Students can choose either an online or hybrid environment
    • Offers an online career center where students can receive help applying for jobs
    • Curriculum is designed using a clear and motivating “milestone” system
    Cons
    • Courses start on a traditional semester-long schedule
    • Students must take 66-credit hours of general education courses
    • Program takes an average of 4 years to complete
    78%OSR Score

    Located in St. Charles, Missouri, Lindenwood University offers a unique 120-credit hour online and on-campus Bachelor of Arts in Game Design program. Courses are highly focused, with offerings like Introduction to Game Design, Design with Photoshop, and Programming Logic. Graduates continue on to work in a diverse array of careers, including as mechanics designers, writers, concept artists, modelers, art directors, engine programmers, and audio programmers.

  6. Southern New Hampshire University

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $50,266/$50,266
    Acceptance62
    Earnings Potential67
    Online Presence1
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention89
    Student Satisfaction74
    Reputation93
    Pros
    • Offers a 30% tuition discount to U.S. service members
    • All courses are offered online
    • Taught by working game developers and designers
    Cons
    • Requires 42-credit hours in general education
    • A 3-credit hour creative writing class must be passed
    • No on-campus courses are offered
    77%OSR Score

    This 120-credit hour program from Southern New Hampshire University—an online nonprofit institution—is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Courses may include 3D Character Animation, Basic Design and Color Theory, Creature Design, Character Design, Introduction to Digital Imaging, and Introduction to Digital Sculpting. The program has an emphasis on video game art, leaving graduates with a vast array of skills in aesthetic design principles.

  7. Davenport University

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $28,238/$28,238
    Acceptance61
    Earnings Potential49
    Online Presence5
    Online Program Quality71
    Retention85
    Student Satisfaction74
    Reputation67
    Pros
    • Offers the option of completing a mathematics minor
    • Can be completed on-campus or online
    • They award $15 million in scholarships each year
    Cons
    • A 3-credit hour computer science internship is required
    • Students must complete a 12-credit hour specialty block of courses
    • Courses related to art and animation are highly limited
    76%OSR Score

    Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Davenport University offers a 120-credit hour online and on-campus Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science. With an emphasis on math, science, and programming, students are required to take courses like Applied Linear Algebra, Introduction to Statistics, Object-Oriented Programming with C#, Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, and Introduction to Game Design. Davenport University also has a low student-to-faculty ratio and hands-on learning approach, which may help students obtain lucrative careers in computer science after graduation.

  8. Full Sail University

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $39,544/$39,544
    Acceptance87
    Earnings Potential63
    Online Presence1
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention86
    Student Satisfaction79
    Reputation86
    Pros
    • Courses are offered both online and on-campus
    • Credits also apply to an associate degree so students can continue onto a bachelor degree at a later date
    • All students have access to Full Sail’s state-of-the-art campus and technology services
    Cons
    • The online program takes 116 weeks to complete, which is 36 weeks longer than on-campus
    • There are no tuition discounts for in-state students
    • Students must take a resume writing and job interview preparation course
    73%OSR Score

    Located in Winter Park, Florida, Full Sail University’s popular 120-credit hour Game Design Bachelor of Science program can be completed on-campus or online. Comprised of high-level game design and production courses that take students deep into the game development pipeline, courses include Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries, World Building, and multiple Project and Portfolio: Game Design courses. After completion, students are often hired for entry-level industry positions in the fields of game design, quality-assurance testing, level design, game scripting, and a variety of other jobs in the game and entertainment industries.

  9. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $30,295/$30,295
    Acceptance82
    Earnings Potential61
    Online Presence1
    Online Program Quality57
    Retention80
    Student Satisfaction77
    Reputation81
    Pros
    • Course schedules are flexible and offered only online
    • Faculty includes highly experienced animators, designers, and technical artists
    • Students develop highly-specialized animation skills
    Cons
    • There is a $50 non-refundable application fee
    • The program offers few science and math-based courses
    • Applicants must undergo an interview with an admissions counselor
    70%OSR Score

    Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design offers a unique 123-credit hour program for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art. Focused on the graphics of game art and the mechanics of design, required courses include 15-credit hours of art history courses, 30-credit hours of liberal arts courses, 24-credit hours of foundations courses, 45-credit hours of core curriculum courses, and 6-credit hours of studio elective courses. Students are also introduced to creative and technical writing as part of their education in building game strategies.

  10. Cogswell College

    Tuition in State/Out of State: $39,034/$39,034
    Acceptance96
    Earnings Potential65
    Online Presence2
    Online Program Quality13
    Retention87
    Student Satisfaction74
    Reputation75
    Pros
    • The program is available full-time or part-time
    • There are two different degree offerings: a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science
    • Students have six different options for annual start dates
    Cons
    • It takes full-time students 4 years to complete this degree program
    • Far less online courses are offered than other programs
    • Few scholarships are available and there are no tuition discounts
    68%OSR Score

    Located in San Jose, Cogswell Polytechnical College offers both a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design Art and a Bachelor of Science in Game Design Engineering. Courses include Introduction to 3D Modeling and Environment Art for the BA and courses like Introduction to Game Production, Game Design II, and GUI and Graphics Programming for the BS. With a 1:14 student-to-faculty ratio for both programs, students who attend Cogswell College also have increased employment opportunities due to the school’s proximity to Silicon Valley.