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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Rensselaer Ranks in Top 10 Undergrad Schools in the U.S. for Game Design and Animation

Video games represent one of the largest and fastest-growing entertainment industries in the world, and the Capital Region is becoming an influential location in digital gaming. The GSAS program was established in 2007, with the first class graduating 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, and computer graphics in communication and the arts. Photo credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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July 18, 2017

Rensselaer Ranks in Top 10 Undergrad Schools in the U.S. for Game Design and Animation

Rensselaer Games and Simulation Program Ranked by Animation Career Review

Troy, N.Y. — When it comes to studying game design and animation, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program (GSAS) keeps hitting the mark. The program was recently ranked No. 10 nationally on the Animation Career Review list of top game design programs in the United States. Among East Coast colleges and universities, Rensselaer came in at No. 5 out of 25 programs, and placed seventh on the list for private schools and colleges and third among programs offered in New York state.

“Rensselaer is a uniquely rich environment for games studies, and our GSAS degree program 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 (HASS), which houses GSAS. “Our program draws on RPI’s Computer Science, Cognitive Science, Arts, Communication, and Media, and Science and Technology Studies departments—a combination of resources few other games programs can even claim, let alone match. GSAS emphasizes a deep theoretical foundation along with collaborative, interdisciplinary teamwork, which is how games are actually created. This equal emphasis on theory and practice means that students graduate fully prepared to work in the games industry, and the program does indeed have a considerable success rate in post-graduate employment.”     

“There is tremendous talent and creativity in games at Rensselaer, in Troy and around the Capital Region, and throughout New York state,” said Ben Chang, associate professor and director of the GSAS. “Researchers are discovering new ways of using games in education and health care, nonprofits are teaching game design to kids and building creative communities, and game developers of all kinds are constantly reinventing the medium. There is no question that games is a growing, dynamic and exciting field, and GSAS is definitely a leader.”

In addition, Animation Career Review also recognized the GSAS program in its 2017 animation rankings list. The program came in at No. 48 nationally, and was also ranked No. 12 on the list among East Coast colleges and universities. Among private colleges and universities, the program came in at No. 35.

“Interactive technology is changing how young people learn, and assisting training efforts in physical fitness, biomedicine, and so much more,” Simoni added. “Rensselaer continues to produce graduates who are shaping the future of gaming, and we are pleased to once again be recognized among the top institutions in the country for studying video game design and animation.” 

Video games represent one of the largest and fastest-growing entertainment industries in the world, and the Capital Region is becoming an influential location in digital gaming. In 2016, the Empire State Development announced three new Digital Gaming Hubs in New York state at Rensselaer, New York University, and Rochester Institute of Technology. The Digital Gaming Hubs, selected through a request for proposals process, will receive $150,000 each per year for three years. The new Digital Gaming Hubs will encourage students and businesses to create new innovative technologies.

The Digital Gaming Hub brings together partners in the game development community, including the nonprofit organizations Tech Valley Game Space and Games in Education, local studios including 1st Playable Productions and Vicarious Visions, the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer, and the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem at Rensselaer.

Animation Career Review started publishing regional and national rankings in 2012, in response to myriad emails from aspiring animators and game designers asking for the best schools in the U.S., a given state, or a particular area of the country. In preparing the 2017 rankings, the organization considered hundreds of schools in the United States that offer programs geared toward game design or animation.  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.

The GSAS program was established in 2007, with the first class graduating 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, and computer graphics in communication and the arts.

Rensselaer also offers several advanced degree programs for aspiring game designers. Graduate offerings include a Master of Fine Arts in Electronic Arts and Ph.D. in Electronic Arts, offered through the Department of Arts. Both degree programs allow students to explore areas of interest ranging from gaming and animation to communication technologies.

The Animation Career Review ranking, GSAS program, and related activities exemplifies The New Polytechnic, an emerging paradigm for teaching, learning, and research at Rensselaer. The New Polytechnic emphasizes and supports collaboration across disciplines, sectors, and regions to address the great global challenges of our day, using the most advanced tools and technologies, many of which are developed at Rensselaer. The New Polytechnic is transformative in the global impact of research, in its innovative pedagogy, and in the lives of students at Rensselaer.

For information regarding the 2017 Animation Career Review game design rankings, visit: http://www.animationcareerreview.com/articles/2017-game-design-school-rankings

For information regarding the 2017 animation ranking, visit: http://www.animationcareerreview.com/articles/top-50-animation-schools-and-colleges-us-%E2%80%93-2017

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. For nearly 200 years, Rensselaer has been defining the scientific and technological advances of our world. Rensselaer faculty and alumni represent 85 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 17 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 8 members of the National Academy of Medicine, 8 members of the National Academy of Inventors, and 5 members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, as well as 6 National Medal of Technology winners, 5 National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With 7,000 students and nearly 100,000 living alumni, Rensselaer is addressing the global challenges facing the 21st century—to change lives, to advance society, and to change the world. To learn more, go to www.rpi.edu