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Moving up the high score list

The U’s video game design program is ranked one of the best in the world.

The University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) program continues to show the world it’s got game.

The video game design program, which began in 2007 and is part of the U’s College of Engineering, was ranked No. 5 in the top graduate game design schools in North America and No. 7 in undergraduate schools, up one slot in each category from last year, according to the newest rankings from Princeton Review. The rankings are based on surveys from 150 top institutions in the U.S., Canada, and some abroad with game design coursework and/or degrees.

According to the rankings, both the U’s graduate and undergraduate programs are each ranked No. 2 among the world’s public universities.

“It’s a real honor to be ranked so highly again this year and to be among the strongest of schools in the world,” said U School of Computing professor and EAE Director Michael Young.  “Moving up in both undergraduate and graduate rankings in the same year is an impressive achievement that comes from the great work of our remarkable students, staff and faculty.”

The EAE curriculum, which teaches students all aspects of video game production, from conception, design, and programming to the business of selling games, continues to get high marks around the world.

Last fall, the program was ranked third in the country in the inaugural rankings by U.S. News & World Report for “Best Undergraduate Game Design Programs.” The U.S. News & World Report rankings are particularly noteworthy because its college lists are considered the most prestigious and valuable for students. And also last year, EAE was ranked No. 1 among Top Public Game Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S., according to the latest rankings from Animation Career Review.

EAE offers a Bachelor of Science in Games; a Minor in Games; a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Entertainment Arts and Engineering Emphasis; and a Master’s of Entertainment Arts & Engineering. The program also offers—in collaboration with the U’s David Eccles School of Business—a unique dual MBA/MEAE degree that gives students the necessary business skills to start or run game-centric companies.

EAE’s courses involve all aspects of art, humanities, social science, and computational research. The curriculum covers areas such as game design, rapid prototyping, game engineering, production, digital content creation, ethics in games, digital storytelling, 2D and 3D art, and marketing management.

EAE faculty and students also conduct cutting-edge research in gaming that delves into subjects including modeling, simulation, and artificial intelligence. And through The Therapeutic Games & Apps Lab (GApp Lab), a collaboration between EAE, the U’s Center for Medical Innovation, and the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, students also develop games for health, learning and training through faculty-led research efforts.

In 2017, EAE also launched Utah Varsity Esports, the first college-sponsored varsity esports program from any school in a Power Five athletics conference (Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern). The U’s esports team consists of four squads, each for the games “Overwatch,” Hearthstone,” “Rocket League” and “League of Legends.”

Click here to see the complete list of the Princeton Review rankings for graduate schools. Click here to see the list for undergraduate schools.