Interactive Media, Video Game Design and Management Degrees

53 students made up the first class that the University of Southern California (USC) admitted in 1880. In the western part of the country, this private research university holds the distinction of being the oldest institution of higher learning in its field.

Of the 28,000 students enrolled at USC, 17,000 were undergraduate students and the remaining 18,000 were graduate or professional students.

The University of Southern California offers a major in Interactive Entertainment that includes courses in the liberal arts as well as those intended to prepare students for careers in both more conventional media and computer and video game design. Students can pursue a minor in video game design and management at the university that combines classroom instruction with practical experience.

Courses like these are required of students majoring in interactive media, including:

Four Distinct Degree Programs in Game Design and Development

Four degree programs in various game design and development fields are offered by USC Games. We provide a Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media at the undergraduate level. We provide a Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media for graduate students.

Depending on your objectives and level of preparation, you can choose the program that is best for you. Our degrees are all practical in terms of using technology and developing creative projects. We advise enrolling in the Interactive Media program for those primarily interested in design and production. The Viterbi School of Engineering offers degrees in computer science (games) for those who want to concentrate on game technical development.

We offer a variety of minors for undergraduates who want to complement their major field of study with an expertise in one of the many facets of games in addition to our full degree programs. Students from all USC Games programs collaborate across all academic fields and degrees.

School of Cinematic Arts, SCI building

A broad liberal arts education and a focus on game and interactive entertainment design are combined in the Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Entertainment program. The core game design education gives students the opportunity to earn multiple specializations within the industry, broadening their skill sets and post-education trajectory. Students create games at all levels of the program, developing practical skills across a range of digital media arts. Within a thriving intellectual community that investigates novel interactivity models as well as developing markets and platforms for playful media, practical skills are taught. Emphasis is placed on collaboration, team-building, innovation and creative leadership.

The M. F. A. A three-year intensive program in interactive media trains students to be creative thinkers, innovators, and thought leaders in the rapidly developing fields of games and interactive entertainment. As with the undergraduate degree, M. F. A. Students work on practical projects and develop their design, development, collaboration, and creative leadership skills. This culminates in a yearlong thesis project. The M. F. A. the School of Cinematic Arts’ strengths, such as Game Design, Animation, Sound Production, Screenwriting, Producing, and Critical Studies, to create a vibrant community of cutting-edge digital media practice.

Designing and analyzing interactive entertainment with applications in neuroscience, public health, and medicine are the main goals of the Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media with an Emphasis in Games and Health program. The course is intended for MFA candidates who have already been admitted and who wish to declare this focus, usually by the end of their second year. Students are required to start, oversee, and finish a thesis project in this field in addition to completing the coursework for the emphasis.

The Graduate School in collaboration with the Creative Media Department offers the Master of Arts in Cinematic Arts with a focus in Media Arts, Games, and Health. The curriculum is based on cross-cutting initiatives from the center that best capture our vision and mission. Students gain from cutting-edge methodologies, tools, and research that congregate at the center, as well as the diverse backgrounds represented by the faculty, students, and visiting scholars.

Viterbi School of Engineering, EGG building

The BS in Computer Science (Games) program’s objective is to produce graduates with a strong foundation in computer science and a multidisciplinary understanding of game development. Games production, visual design for interactives and games, computer animation, video game programming, game hardware architectures, game engine programming, serious game development, introductory and intermediate game design, and two semester-long final game projects are among the topics covered. Graduate programs in computer science and game development are also options for program graduates who want to continue their education.

The goal of the M. S. The goal of the Computer Science (Game Development) program is to produce graduates with a foundation in computer science, a game development core focused on engineering, and a concentration in one of the major areas of research in serious games, cognition and games, infrastructure, or immersion.

Game Design – Design for games is a young, exciting field applicable to media artists working all over the world, in different aspects of the industry and with as many different tools as possible. The Game Design minor teaches iterative design and prototyping skills while providing students the opportunity to explore design for new technologies and the skills of user assessment and usability testing.

Game Animation – The skills of the modern animator, visual effects artist, performance capture professional and many others are of great value in the games industry when paired with an understanding of how these assets can be used in games and systems. The Game Animation Minor provides an educational path that teaches both systems thinking and the skills and creativity of an animator.

Game Audio – Game audio professionals must not only be competent in one area (e.g., expressly in music composing, or in audio recording), but in other areas of audio and in theories of procedurality and interaction. This minor provides grounding in game design and systems thinking, while also providing theoretical backing and skills in audio design and composition to prepare students to design successful audio for the games industry.

Game Entrepreneurism – The modern media, technology and entertainment fields are built on the backs of new businesses and new ideas. To start a successful business, a young video game entrepreneur needs specific knowledge of the processes for setting up a business, finding investment and turning their creative project from prototype to finished project. The Game Entrepreneurism Minor provides an educational path that teaches hard business thinking for creative entrepreneurs.

Game User Research – Game and interaction design are deeply dependent upon human-computer interaction and the ability to use research methods to improve player experience. Game user research is a critical aspect of game design and development that involves management of playtests and usability tests of the software, technology and rules. Along with the ability to analyze and design for optimal player experience, this field combines the ability to analyze large batches of data, and an understanding of how to build applications that mine data from users; these skills form the backbone of an incredibly valuable team member for digital entertainment products.

Themed Entertainment – Who designs theme parks, museums, fireworks shows, water fountain spectaculars, and parades? Themed entertainment designers do. From cruise ships to casinos to immersive educational retreats, the Themed Entertainment Minor teaches students to design almost anything that involves submerging a real, live human being into a story in a truly robust, physical way.

Video Game Production – Production is a critical field in video game development – the lynchpin that coordinates the work of many disciplines and shepherds that talent to bring a game to fruition. The Video Game Production minor guides students to a hands-on understanding of the process of developing video games, with an emphasis on production and project management. Students will be introduced to the many facets of video game production including design, art, programming, and management, as well as the hardware and software tools commonly involved in the process. Professionalization and communication will help students prepare for a career in production and learn to coordinate among specialists. Students will also have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with related fields critical to game production such as QA Management and Data Analytics.

Video Game Programming – Through integration of two major disciplines (computer science and information technology), students will be exposed to a variety of programming concepts related to creating video games including: 3-D graphics, artificial intelligence, particle systems, rendering, collision detection, game algorithms, physics concepts, and math formulas. In contrast to the video game design minor where the focus is applying design concepts and using software design tools, students in the video game programming minor will evaluate, write and debug code, in addition to creating a game engine during the course of the minor.

3D Computer Modeling and Graphics – The 3D Computer Graphics and Modeling minor merges theoretical concepts with state-of-the-art techniques to prepare students to apply 3D computer graphics across a wide range of industry applications. Hands-on courses build from a core foundation throughout the spectrum of advanced cutting edge technologies as they are used in real-world application and culminate with the production of a portfolio of work commensurate with the needs of 3D industries.

Computer Science – The computer science minor introduces the concepts, tools and techniques that are involved in the programming of computers. The minor prepares students to achieve mastery in several current programming languages. In addition, the student will learn about creating effective user interfaces and how to build applications that are available on the Internet.

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game design/art portfolio (accepted to USC, NYU, Pratt, UCSD)


Is USC a good school for game design?

The University of Southern California was ranked first in the world by The Princeton Review for video game design. The Computer Science Department of the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Interactive Media and Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts have collaborated on USC’s game design programs.

What college has the best game design program?

The best video game design program in the US is at the University of Southern California. It provides students with two bachelor’s degree programs and two master’s degree programs that will prepare them for a career in game design. The school of cinematic arts offers a program in interactive media and game design.

What major is best for game design?

Those who just enjoy playing video games are not suited for the world of video game design. It is a challenging science that has grown to be one of the most sought-after college majors in the country. VGD combines artistic talent with superior math skills and knowledge of computer programming.

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