The Princeton Review chose the schools for its 2016 Top Schools for Game Design lists based on a survey it conducted in 2015 of administrators at 150 institutions offering game design coursework and/or degrees in the United States, Canada and some countries abroad.

The selection and ranking of schools was based on criteria that broadly covered the quality of the faculty, facilities and technology. The Princeton Review also factored in data it collected from the schools on their curriculum and career services.

The Princeton Review developed the survey in 2009 with the assistance of an advisory board the company formed for this project. Advisory board members included faculty at top institutions offering game design courses and professionals at leading companies in the gaming industry. The survey, which has more than 40 questions, covers a wide range of topics, from academics and faculty credentials to graduates' employment and career achievements. Some of the survey questions asked of each school are below.


  • What game design-related courses do you offer for undergraduates?

  • Does the school offer a game design center where students can engage in the study and or practice of game design?

  • The number of gaming-related courses available to students.

  • Whether the school hosts an annual gaming competition, showcase or symposium.

  • What game design-relevant skills does your program teach?

  • Does your gaming program use a team-driven approach? If yes, in that team are students paired with other students from different disciplines?

  • Is it a requirement for students in your program to have created a functional game before graduating?

  • How many game design students developed an actionable plan to launch a functional game while at school?

  • The number of research opportunities available to students.


  • What percentage of your total undergraduate gaming faculty have started, run or worked for a game studio?

  • How many gaming faculty members do you have?

  • How many departments do they represent?

  • Percentage of gaming faculty with PhDs (or terminal degree equivalent).

  • Does your faculty have funded research in game design?

  • How many faculty members are supported by funded research in game design?

  • How many students are supported by funded research in game design?


  • What technologies or engines does your school utilize?

  • Does your school offer game labs for students to use? How many?

  • Does your school offer a game library for students to use?


  • What career-related opportunities does your school offer to undergraduate gaming students?

  • For the most recent graduating class, what percentage of graduates have worked on a game that has shipped?

  • During the 2015 academic year, how many game companies visited your school for any of the following reasons: recruiting, lectures, seminars, demos, collaborations?

  • What percentage of graduates have taken a job in some aspect of game development at the time of or before graduating? What was their salary?

  • How many different game design studios have hired your graduates?