A student tests a virtual reality game. (Texas A&M University College of Architecture)
Texas A&M University is ranked among the top video game design schools in the nation, according to new ratings by Animation Career Review, an online career resource for aspiring animators, game designers and digital artists.
Texas A&M landed at the No. 7 spot among public schools and colleges and No. 21 among public and private programs nationally in the 2018 game design school rankings. In the state of Texas, Texas A&M took the No. 1 ranking among public universities. Only Southern Methodist University outranked Texas A&M among public and private schools in the state.
For students pursuing a gaming-related master of fine arts, Texas A&M ranked fifth in the nation.
“Texas A&M is a talent-rich environment and we’re proud to again be recognized and ranked highly,” said Tim McLaughlin, head of the Department of Visualization. “Our faculty and staff here do an amazing job building our resources and transforming the learning environment for our students.”
Other video game design programs on the overall list from Texas include the University of Texas at No. 28, the University of Texas at Dallas at No. 30 and Baylor University at No. 40. The University of Southern California, Rochester Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University rounded out the top three nationally on the overall list.
The lists were compiled after an analysis of schools’ depth and breadth of programs and faculty, admission selectivity, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, academic reputation and geographic location.
Gaming-oriented study at Texas A&M includes focus options within the master of science and master of fine arts degree programs and enhanced game design at the undergraduate level as part of a broader curriculum offered at the Department of Visualization, which is known worldwide for producing graduates prepared for success in a wide range of visualization-related fields by developing their artistic and technical expertise.
“The Visualization department has always been a fertile recruiting ground for the entertainment industry because of the caliber of the students and faculty,” said André Thomas, associate professor of visualization and director of the department’s LIVE Lab, where students sharpen their game-making skills.
In the Learning Interactive Visualizations Experience Lab, student designers, coders and educational specialists from a variety of disciplines create and champion interactive educational software and collaborate with the videogame industry.
“Variant” and “ARTé Mecenas,” a pair of educational video games developed by visualization students in the LIVE lab, are currently being used across the country by university students learning calculus and art history.
Graduate visualization students have the unique opportunity of learning about the fast-growing fields of digital animation and virtual reality in the department’s summer industry course, in which participants create animated short films and virtual reality games with guidance from industry pros using a workflow process similar to the kind used at professional studios.
Visualization program alumni can be found working as creative talent for Hollywood’s leading animation and special effects studios including Pixar, Blue Sky, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Industrial Light and Magic, Dreamworks Animation, Rhythm & Hues Studios and Reel FX.
Texas A&M has been previously lauded as one of the most elite video game design schools in the world by The Princeton Review and the Department of Visualization was recently dubbed a top illustration school by The Art Career Project.
The work of the Department of Visualization’s students, faculty and alumni can be found online.