U Ranks No. 1 in Game Design in Animation Career Review


Hailey Danielson

(Photo by Hailey Danielson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Malinka Kaluarachchi, News Writer


Out of all the top public game design programs in the nation, the University of Utah ranks No. 1 according to the Animation Career Review released on March 3. The U’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program is under the College of Engineering and is bustling with creative minds.

Emma Morrissey, a senior in EAE, always knew game design was going to be a promising career.

“Game design was never a question for me. Games have always been a part of my life,” Morrissey said. 

These rankings first began in 2012, and there were 149 schools this year. Each program was evaluated based on academic reputation, admission selectivity and program faculty. Some other aspects considered for a ranking are the value of the program related to tuition, graduation rate, geographic location and employment data.

EAE is also one of the top-ranked game design schools according to The Princeton Review. The U’s first-place ranking with Animation Career Review was definitely on its way over the last few years. 

Morrissey mentions a wall of motivational sticky notes in the EAE building. Behind a water fountain tucked away in a corner, is a wall full of encouraging messages and doodles.

“It’s pretty small, but it’s been a source of inspiration for my entire time in the game design program at the U,” Morrissey said. 

EAE began in 2007 and rapidly became known to the whole world as a unique video game development program. EAE offers a Bachelor of Science in Games, a minor in Games, a B.S. in Computer Science with an EAE Emphasis and a Master’s in EAE.

“I work with a small team on an independent game, you should check it out on Twitter, that requires me to be a producer, artist, engineer and sometimes even a sound designer,” Morrissey said. 

If a student is interested in starting up their own game company, the U’s David Eccles School of Business offers a dual MBA/MEAE degree where students learn business skills needed to start up their own business in relation to games. 

EAE Director Michael Young is thrilled about the U’s latest ranking.

“It reflects the longstanding strengths of our professional graduate program and the innovation in the design of our new Bachelors of Science in Games,” Young said. 

Some aspects of the program and curriculum include game design, rapid prototyping, game engineering, production, digital content creation, game ethics, digital storytelling, marketing management, along with other important and related topics. There is also research on modeling, simulation and game artificial intelligence. 

“Both our graduate and undergraduate programs have seen remarkable growth in the last five years, and our strong engagement with games industry partners helps our students land jobs where their skills can be used to change the way games are made,” Young said.

EAE also has a Utah Varsity Esports program which is the first college-sponsored varsity esports program from any school in a Power Five athletics conference, which includes the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern.

Morrissey emphasized the importance of working on exciting projects, talking to professors and not being afraid to try new things.


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