U’s EAE Program Ranked Third in Nation by U.S. News and World Report


EAE/University Of Utah

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By Devin Oldroyd, News Writer


The University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering program, commonly referred to as the Games program, was ranked third in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Undergraduate Game Design Programs list.

“It’s pretty special,” said EAE program director Michael Young. “I think it reflects, really, the quality and strength of our students, and the great faculty that we have. I could not be more thrilled.”

The ranking comes from what is U.S. News & World Report’s very first iteration of their list for Best Undergraduate Game Design Programs.

“We were completely unaware that they were doing this,” Young said. “It was quite a surprise, a great surprise.”

This ranking from U.S. News & World Report comes after a series of other accolades bestowed upon the Games program.

“There is a program called Princeton Review, which ranks academic university programs across every degree that is offered at modern universities,” Young said. “For a number of years, they’ve been providing rankings for games programs. Since they started, we have been [ranked] in the top six worldwide.”

The Princeton Review has been ranking game design programs for over ten years, meaning the U’s EAE program has managed to hold this prestige for over a decade.

Along with the U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review, the program has historically been ranked high for subsets of game development. According to Young, the program typically gets ranked in the top three for the areas of animation and 3D modeling.

Praise for the program is echoed in the words of Games students.

“All of your projects and all of your homework are passion projects,” said EAE sophomore Cedric Loehr. “I find myself spending three hours, at least, without even knowing it on these projects, because I love doing them so much. It does not really feel like schoolwork until you remember the deadline.”

The program offers students access to high-end equipment available for both educational purposes and leisure activities.

“[The program’s] building has all these great resources at your disposal,” Loehr said. “They have like a whole basement full of super PCs. I am down there probably two or three times a week. You can also use them to play games.”

The program also allows students to make connections within the gaming industry.

“A lot of our professors are people who have worked in the industry,” Loehr said. “Like my Environmental Art professor worked on Disney Infinity. And, we get a ton of information [and] the first heads up when it comes to internship applications, stuff that we wouldn’t get in other places.”

Young believes that what sets the U’s EAE program apart from other universities is the simulated studio aspect of the program.

“We have a large number of dedicated faculty that have strong games industry experience, and they bring that experience to our classrooms,” Young said. “We focus on the skills that are particularly relevant to preparing students to work in the games industry. We really focus on grounding ourselves in the relevant tools, the relevant techniques and the broader sort of context of what it’s like to work in the games industry.”

From students and faculty to college ranking lists that recognize its prowess, the games program is seen as an organization that students want to be a part of.  

“I would tell [prospective students of the program] to take a lot of classes in different areas of games to figure out what you like,” Loehr said. “And,  it is going to be a lot of fun.”


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