Achievement Unlocked: Defending Champion. SMU Guildhall has held onto the top spot among the world’s best graduate game-design programs in The Princeton Review’s ninth annual report, published March 13, 2018.
At No. 1, SMU Guildhall ranks above NYU (#2), UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (#3), USC (#4), and the University of Utah (#5), as well as one other top-25 graduate program in Texas — the University of Texas-Dallas (#14)
The Princeton Review chose the schools based on its 2017 survey of 150 institutions in the United States, Canada, and abroad that offer game design degree programs or courses. The 40-question review gathered data on everything from academic offerings and facilities to graduates’ starting salaries and career achievements.
The Guildhall program was specifically noted for its faculty, curriculum development, career services success, and team game production program.
“Faculty at SMU Guildhall are world class. By design, [they are] recruited from the industry, and the curriculum was designed in collaboration,” reads a statement from the Guildhall to the Review. “Student games are produced by a faculty of professional developers, providing students with the ability to be mentored by thirty-year veterans of the industry.
“These relationships yield professional quality games and teams that are hired by studios all over the world. In fact, an entire student team was hired by Gearbox Software this year to develop an unannounced avant garde VR title. It is the first time in the history of game development programs that a major studio has hired an entire student team upon graduation. [Guildhall faculty] have accumulated so much experience and talent that it has revolutionized game development programs worldwide.”
The Guildhall created its Master of Interactive Technology degree as the only program of its kind in the world. Designed with ongoing input from industry professionals, the graduate degree provides a rigorous preparation to enter the game development industry at a two-year experience level.
The Princeton Review’s reporting partner, PC Gamer magazine, will include a section on the top schools in its May 2018 issue, available on newsstands March 27. It will feature information on degree programs, class offerings, events, prominent professors, and alumni. The issue will also include a special section on SMU Guildhall.