Michigan State University was founded in 1855 and is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan. MSU is one of the largest universities in the United States (in terms of enrollment) and has approximately 552,000 living alumni worldwide. It’s famous for its research contributions, sports activities and game development courses.
The Game Design and Development Program at Michigan State University was founded back in 2005, and has grown leaps and bounds into a Top 10 Ranked program by the Princeton Review. The program involves a mix of disciplines and backgrounds, comprised of Designers, Artists and Programmers.
5,200-acre campus with 2,100 acres in existing or planned development
More than 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional study
The Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab has created and researched over 22 games with funding from NASA, the National Institute of Health, Ford Motor Company Fund.
“I teach many of the Digital Game Design and Development and Game Design Studio courses, where we primarily focus on creating quick, smaller game projects using the Unity 3D game engine. For teaching game-related subjects, we focus on giving our students strong foundational knowledge of good game design through playing and analyzing many different types of games. Our other main focus is on building and developing role specific skills (as well as soft-skills) through game design projects. Our students work in multidisciplinary teams (of designers, programmers and artists) to build full videogame projects, where they learn first hand the communication, skill, knowledge, and dedication required to make videogames.
Michigan State University is uniquely positioned to offer a minor in Game Design and Development. MSU has several faculty doing innovative game design and development work, as well as many faculty working on cutting edge research in such areas as the impact and influence of games on individuals and society, games for learning, gender issues in games, play patterns, artificial intelligence in games, advertising in games, and more. Further, MSU has strong research and production facilities, growing connections with the game industry, and a diverse student population interested in the minor.
Students in the program will graduate with either a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering, a Bachelor of Arts or Fine Arts in Studio Art, or a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Media and Information, depending on their major. The degree usually takes four years to complete with the minor undertaken during the junior and senior years.
Most human resource heads I speak with in the game industry state that they are looking for individuals, not only with the skills necessary to do their job today, but the knowledge and creativity to learn, adapt, and transform into their job tomorrow. Technologies, tools, and techniques rapidly change in the game industry. Students need to be strong, creative problem solvers with excellent communication and teamwork skills. Michigan State University provides this education, not only through the specific courses students will take as part of their major and in this minor, but also through the excellent liberal arts education they will earn along the way.”
Brian M. Winn is the Co-Founder and Director of the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab at Michigan State University. Winn is also an Associate Professor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Media and Information.
The percentage of graduates obtaining jobs in game development is about 75 percent. MSU alumni work in games all over the globe. Some of their most recent graduates work at Electronic Arts (EA Sports), Riot (League of Legends), Bungie (Destiny 2), Deep Silver Volition (Saints Row, Agents of Mayhem), Rockstar (Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption 2), Iron Galaxy (Killer Instinct, Dive Kick), and High Moon Studios (Destiny 2).
Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer, DC Comics
Steven Messinger, Senior Programmer, Rockstar San Diego
Brian Murray, Creative Director, Electronic Arts
Chris Bray, Senior Product Owner, Bethesda Softworks
Scott Brodie, CEO, Heart Shaped Games
Evan Cox, Technical Artist, Bungie