Game design program ranked 21st by Princeton Review

By University Communications
April 7, 2016
Emily Dillhunt, a senior majoring in game design and development, uses a virtual reality headset while working in a lab.

Photo: Emily Dillhunt, a senior majoring in game design and
development, uses a virtual reality headset while working in a lab.

 The game design and development undergraduate program at University of Wisconsin-Stout once again has been named one of the best in North America.

Princeton Review’s 2016 rankings, released Tuesday, March 15, listed UW-Stout’s program at No. 21. It was the only program from Wisconsin, Minnesota or Iowa to make the top 50 list.

This is the fourth straight year UW-Stout’s program has been ranked in the top 30 either by Princeton Review or Animation Career Review.

Diane ChristieIn a separate Princeton Review ranking of the 2016 top 25 graduate schools for video game design, UW-Stout ranked 16th. UW-Stout's Graduate School offers a Master of Fine Arts in design with eight focus areas, including game design.

UW-Stout is pleased to be nationally ranked again as a top game design school. Although we are a small, Midwestern university, we provide our students a high quality education by combining computer science and art students to create new and innovative games,” said Diane Christie, director of the game design computer science program. “These industry-simulated classes, along with internships and field experiences, prepare our students to compete on a national level.”

UW-Stout offers two undergraduate game design programs, a Bachelor of Science program with a focus on computer science and a Bachelor of Fine Arts program with a focus on art.

Math and computer science skills are needed to develop computer graphics, artificial intelligence and game engines. Art and design skills, such as drawing, digital imaging and animation, are needed to create interface components, 3D environments and 3D characters.

Dave BeckDave Beck, director of the game design-art program, says UW-Stout’s two programs complement and strengthen each other.

“The strong emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration in our game design classes demonstrates a synergy between the arts and sciences that is not found in many university settings. That unique approach to teaching, coupled with opportunities for students such as faculty-led study abroad programs in game design and access to cutting edge software, hardware and virtual reality equipment, allows us to stand out from the crowd as a top-tier, unique and affordable college experience,” Beck said.

The rankings are based on a survey of 150 schools in the U.S. and Canada that offer video game design. Robert Franek, Princeton Review's senior vice president and publisher, called it a “burgeoning” field and said the ranked schools offer “extraordinary opportunities” for students.

"The faculties at these schools are outstanding. Their facilities are awesome. And their alumni include legions of the industry's most prominent game designers, developers, artists and entrepreneurs," Franek said.

A student project required animation, drawing and 3D graphics skills.

Princeton Review, an educational services company, is known for its annual rankings of colleges, law schools and business schools. It is not associated with Princeton University and is not a magazine.

UW-Stout’s original game design and development program was approved in 2009 by the UW System Board of Regents. The BFA program was approved in December 2014.



Second Photo: Diane Christie

Third Photo: Dave Beck

Bottom Photo: A game design student created a video that required many of the skills students learn, including drawing, animation and creating 3D environments and characters.