SMU Guildhall Ranked Number One in World for Game Design

The Princeton Review’s 2017 list honors SMU Guildhall as best of 150 international programs

SMU Guildhall has risen to the top spot among the world’s best graduate game-design programs in The Princeton Review’s eighth annual report, published Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

At No. 1, SMU Guildhall ranks above the No. 2 Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy at UCF. Other schools in the top 25 include the University of Utah, Rochester Institute of Technology, USC, NYU, Drexel, Abertay University (Dundee, Scotland), DePaul, Michigan State, Ohio State, MIT, the University of Malta in Msida, and the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition, SMU Guildhall ranks higher than two other top-25 graduate programs in Texas: the University of Texas-Dallas (No. 14) and Texas A&M (No. 17).

“Becoming the No. 1 graduate game-design school is a tribute to faculty with deep experience, bright and motivated students, a robust network of successful alumni, stellar industry support, cutting-edge curriculum, and a commitment to continual improvement,” said SMU Guildhall Director Gary Brubaker.

The Review determined its rankings based on its 2016 survey of 150 institutions in the United States, Canada, and abroad that offer game design coursework and/or degrees. The 40-question review asked schools to report on everything from academic offerings and faculty credentials to graduates’ starting salaries and employment experience. Curriculum, faculty, facilities, career services, and technology were all among criteria The Princeton Review weighed to make its selections.

The Princeton Review’s reporting partner, PC Gamer magazine, will include a section on the top schools in its May 2017 issue, available on newsstands March 29. It will feature information on degree programs, class offerings, events, 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.

About SMU Guildhall

SMU Guildhall is one of the premier graduate video game education programs in the United States. Founded by industry icons in 2003, the program has graduated over 600 students, with alumni working at more than 200 video game studios around the world. Classes are taught by industry veterans who have produced numerous top-selling game titles. The Guildhall is an industry-driven program with high standards of admission.

SMU art majors who are pursuing a B.F.A. are eligible to apply for a two-part B.F.A./M.I.T. (Bachelor of Arts/Master of Interactive Technology) program in partnership with The Guildhall at SMU. The 5½ year program offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Meadows School of the Arts and a graduate professional certificate or a Master of Interactive Technology degree from The Guildhall.

Applying to The Guildhall at SMU

For students wishing to combine their SMU Meadows B.F.A art degree with the M.I.T. at The Guildhall at SMU:

  • First, you must be dually admitted to SMU and the Division of Art. See Art Admission Page for application guidelines.
  • During your freshman year you must take Foundations: ASAG 1300, 1304, 1308, and 1312.
  • By Sept. 1 of your sophomore year, you must declare your major as a B.F.A. in Art at SMU Meadows and then set meetings with both the Division of Art advisor and a Meadows degree counselor to review your degree progress.
  • In your junior year, begin working on portfolio requirements outlined on The Guildhall website.
  • In the summer before your senior year, before July 1, apply to The Guildhall online.
  • Once accepted, you will spend the second semester of your senior year, plus an additional 18 months, at The Guildhall at SMU-in-Plano.

Read more for information about requirements for the B.F.A. in Art degree.

Read more about the academic programs at The Guildhall.