The Princeton Review has again named the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program (GSAS) as one of the top 25 video game design programs. Rensselaer is No. 11 on the list this year, moving up from last year’s No. 18 spot.
The GSAS program at Rensselaer has appeared on this list every year since the list’s inception in 2010. The ranking is based on a survey the Princeton Review conducted in 2014-15 of 150 institutions offering game design course work and/or degrees in the United States, Canada, and some countries abroad.
“The Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) degree at Rensselaer 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. “Today interactive technology helps shape how young people learn, drives national defense strategies via computer simulations, and assists training efforts in physical fitness, biomedicine, and so much more. Rensselaer continues to produce graduates who are shaping the future of gaming. The unique program combines interdisciplinary courses of study, a diverse faculty made up of leaders in the field, and hands-on experiences for students. We are pleased to once again be recognized among the top institutions in the country for studying video game design.
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, and human-computer interaction. This year, 133 students are enrolled in GSAS and 16 are slated to graduate in May.
“It’s been an exciting year for GSAS,” said Ben Chang, associate professor and GSAS director. “The new Writing for Games concentration is picking up steam, and we’re building new connections to the music area, in addition to forging ties with research and entrepreneurship activities taking place across campus. The recognition from the Princeton Review speaks to the quality of our students, the dedication of the faculty, and the accomplishments of our alumni.”
Chang also noted that games developed by GSAS students will be on display to the public during the 11th Annual Game Fest Symposium and Exhibition. The event will be held May 1-2 in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. This year the symposium will showcase cutting-edge work by gaming students from Rensselaer and other universities in the region, along with an evening of eclectic, game-themed electronic music and live visuals by PULSE, and a keynote talk by James Portnow of the popular Web series Extra Credits.
“It has long been our mission to help students find—and get into—the schools best for them,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review senior VP/publisher. “For students aspiring to work in the burgeoning field of game design, we strongly recommend Rensselaer and each of the other schools that made our 2015 lists. They have exceptional professors and awesome, state-of-the-art facilities. Collectively, these schools have graduated legions of the industry’s most successful video game designers, developers, artists, and entrepreneurs.”
For the third consecutive year, the Princeton Review teamed up with <i>PC Gamer, <i>a monthly magazine published by Future plc as its reporting partner on this project. PC Gamer has a feature on the list in its May issue. The feature has information on some of the schools’ unique programs, class offerings, prominent professors, and alumni.
The Princeton Review developed its “Top Schools To Study Game Design” project in 2009 with assistance from a national advisory board that helped design the survey instrument and methodology. Board members included administrators and faculty from respected game design programs, and professionals from some of the top gaming companies.