When it comes to great places to study game design, the Rensselaer Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program (GSAS) keeps hitting the mark. The program is No. 8 on the Animation Career Review list of top game design programs in the United States. Rensselaer came in at No. 4 out of 25 programs offered among East Coast colleges and universities, and was recognized as No. 7 on the list for private schools and colleges.
“The Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences degree provides an undergraduate experience like few others available anywhere in the country,” said Mary Simoni, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. “Our programs are positioned at crossroads of humanistic inquiry and technological innovation. The GSAS program helps students to acquire a comprehensive understanding of interactive digital media, a balance of disciplinary competencies, and a mastery of the challenges and opportunities of interdisciplinary collaboration. The Rensselaer approach to game studies combines theory and practice, along with a strong emphasis on production-oriented, interdisciplinary teamwork.
“Today, interactive technology helps shape how young people learn, drives national defense strategies via computer simulations, assists training efforts in physical fitness and biomedicine, and so much more,” Simoni added. “Rensselaer offers the unique opportunity for students to study in a STEM discipline, such as computer science, coupled with a liberal arts approach to arts and technology. We are honored to once again be recognized among the nation’s leading programs.”
“Our programs are positioned at crossroads of humanistic inquiry and technological innovation. The GSAS program helps students to acquire a comprehensive understanding of interactive digital media, a balance of disciplinary competencies, and a mastery of the challenges and opportunities of interdisciplinary collaboration.”—Mary Simoni
The GSAS program was established in 2007 and the first class graduated in 2011. Rensselaer students enrolled in the GSAS program study fields as diverse as electronic arts, artificial intelligence and cognitive science, digital graphics, software development, psychology, human-computer interaction, and computer graphics in communication and the arts. This year, 153 students are enrolled in GSAS, with an additional six students who are internal transfers for the fall semester.
Animation Career Review started publishing regional and national rankings in 2012 in response to myriad emails from aspiring animators and game designers asking what the best schools were in the U.S., a given state, or in a particular area of the country. Criteria include: academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program and faculty, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, and geographic location. In preparing the 2015 rankings, the organization considered hundreds of schools in the United States that offer programs geared toward animation or game design.
In addition, Animation Career Review also recognized the GSAS program at Rensselaer in its animation rankings list. The program came in at No. 32, and was also ranked as No. 9 on the list among East Coast colleges and universities. Among private colleges, the program came in at No. 25.