To those paying attention, it’s no secret that Madison, Wisconsin is home to a growing cluster of video game development studios – a phenomenon that we see occurring throughout the greater state, too. With the number of local community gaming events like M+DEV Conference, Madison FemDev, and Indie Arcade increasing each year, there has never been a better time to be a part of Wisconsin’s flourishing game development scene – but how do we continue to foster this growth long into the future?
One strategy, of course, is to support the efforts of in-state colleges and universities offering specialized programs focused on training the next generation of game design and development professionals! 🧀🎓
Of course, we should clarify that it is certainly not a necessity to have a “game development” degree to work in our industry- many folks choose to pursue more broadly applicable fields of study including computer science, engineering, or art, while some choose not to pursue higher education at all, instead opting to self-teach and gain industry experience via personal or freelance projects. While there is no one optimal path to a successful career in the games industry, pursuing a games-focused program like any of the ones listed below can be a great way to jumpstart your education, gain access to a wealth of resources and networking opportunities, and join a cohort of like-minded individuals with goals similar to your own.
With that disclaimer out of the way, check out our roundup of Wisconsin-based game design and development programs below!
University of Wisconsin - Stout
B.S. Computer Science (with Game Design and Development Concentration)
B.F.A. in Game Design and Development
M.F.A. in Design (with Game Design Concentration)
UW-Stout’s two undergraduate game design programs – a B.S. with a focus on computer science and a B.F.A. focused on art – rank among the top in the nation. Similarly, the Princeton Review ranks UW-Stout’s Masters of Fine Arts in design program the #18 game design graduate program in the country – the sole program in their top 25 ranking from Wisconsin, Iowa, or Minnesota.
Moraine Park Technical College
Associate of Applied Science in Interactive Media Design with emphasis in:
• Motion Graphics
Offered via their West Bend, WI campus, Moraine Park Technical College offers a robust Interactive Media Design associates program with two distinct areas of concentration: animation and motion graphics. Designed to prepared students for entry-level careers in multimedia design and animation, the school reports a strong statewide median salary for recent graduates of $47,500. Want to learn more about their offerings? Check out their official website for more details.
Computer Science (with Game Development Emphasis)
An add-on to their core Computer Science major, Carroll University students are allowed the option of further specializing their study by taking digital game development coursework offered through Milwaukee Area Technical College’s (MATC) downtown Milwaukee campus. Learn more about this unique higher ed partnership on Carroll University’s website.
Milwaukee Area Technical College (Downtown Milwaukee Campus)
Associate in Applied Science - Computer Simulation and Gaming with emphasis in:
Offered at their downtown Milwaukee, WI campus, MATC’s Computer Simulation and Gaming degree is a cross-discipline program designed to prepare students for careers in computer simulation and game design, while also teaching skills transferable to other industries such as computer programming, multimedia creation, and film production. Interested in learning more? Check out this informative video on MATC’s programs.
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Media Arts and Game Development with minor/emphasis in:
• Media Arts
• Gaming Technology
The University of Wisconsin - Whitewater offers a B.A. in Media Arts and Game Development with three different concentration options: Media Arts, Communication/Gaming, and Gaming Technology. The school even hosts its own Media Arts and Game Development (MAGD) Expo each year, serving as a forum for students to show off their video, game, interactive design, and audio projects to peers, faculty, and community members.
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Game Design Certificate
Offered as a joint program between the Departments of Curriculum & Instruction, Art, and Computer Sciences, UW-Madison’s all-new game design certificate aims to offer undergraduate students the skills they need to both design their own games and gain a new critical lens on games and game design. Click here to learn more about this exciting new program.
This wraps up our list of game design and development-specific programs offered at Wisconsin college. As mentioned previously though, there are a number of other competitive programs offered throughout the state with a lesser emphasis on game development: aspiring artists may want to check out the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), for instance, while those seeking to become pro programmers may find it worth exploring the computer science coursework offered at Beloit College or Lawrence University. For more strategies on how to get hired at a game studio like ours, check out our gamedev careers-focused resource roundup!
P.S. Want to meet up with devs from our studio and talk careers in games development? Find us in our booth at M+DEV 2018 – we'd love to chat!
Additional Wisconsin gamedev resources:
Find Filament Games at Midwest Game Developers Conference (M+DEV) 2018!
A Guide to Video Game Events in Wisconsin: 2018 Edition
ESA Heartland Series: An Interview with Filament Games CEO Dan White