Computer, videogame degree programs on the rise
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Computer, videogame degree programs on the rise

If you like video and computer games, the years ahead could be good ones for you as there'll be more and more folks working on 'em.

Approximately 300 American colleges, universities, art and trade schools will offer degrees in video game design, development, programming and art during the 2010-11 academic year, according to new research from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The degrees offered at 300 institutions represent an almost 20% increase over 2009-10.  

The growing number of educational programs comes as no surprise to Rich Taylor, senior vice president for communications and industry affairs at the ESA (http://www.theESA.com), which represents computer and video game publishers.

"The steady increase in higher education programs is an important indicator about the expanding role computer and video games play in today's world," he says. "While computer and video games have been a source of entertainment for decades, our society is increasingly recognizing the broader uses of games and their positive impact. Whether it is in healthcare, education, business or government, schools across the country see the value of games and are training their students to meet the demand."

Prospective students interested in game design and development careers now have far greater options than their predecessors. During the 2008-09 academic year, 220 schools offered such programs and more than 250 programs were available during 2009-10. This year's record-setting list includes new programs such as the Game Design and Digital Studies Program at Dartmouth College, Gaming Certificate Program at Arizona State University's Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, and Digital Animation and Interactive Media at Ohio State University's Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design.

Schools offering game design and development programs can be found in 42 states and the District of Columbia. California remains at the forefront of this educational field, home to 50 institutions of higher learning that offer game-related degrees, followed by New York (26), Texas (21), Illinois (17),  Florida (15), Massachusetts (13), Pennsylvania (12), Michigan (10), Washington (10) and Georgia (9).    

The continued growth of video game programs coincides with the overall growth of the entertainment software industry. According to the ESA's 2010 "Essential Facts about Computer and Video Games" report, 67% of American households now play computer and video games.

-- Dennis Sellers

 
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