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USC video games program named No. 1 for third year in a row

USC Video Games Program Named No. 1 for Third Year in a Row
USC Games graduates have worked on some of the world's most popular video games.

For the third year in a row, The Princeton Review has named USC as the top school in the nation for studying video game design.

Topping lists for both undergraduate and graduate programs in the study of video game design, USC has been named No. 1 every year since the list debuted in 2010.

The USC Games program is a joint effort between the Interactive Media Division (IMD) at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) and the Department of Computer Science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

“USC comes out on top because of our focus on the artistry of game design,” said Tracy Fullerton, chair of the IMD at SCA, holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair of Interactive Entertainment and director of the USC Game Innovation Lab. “Our faculty and students see beyond the trappings of technology, and we are constantly driving the form forward.”

Michael Zyda, professor of computer science and director of USC’s GamePipe Laboratory at USC Viterbi, added: “This is wonderful news for our students. We developed our joint games courses to be the best simulation of what a job in the video game industry is like, and it’s paid off for our graduates. In total, we estimate that USC Games graduates have developed games reaching more than 436 million players.”

Those games courses will be capped off on May 2 when USC Games presents its 14th biannual Demo Day. During the event, students will showcase their newest and most innovative video game creations to an audience of peers and industry representatives.

USC Games graduates have worked on some of the world’s most popular games, including the Activision juggernaut Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which broke sales records last year to become the top-selling video game in history.

“Academic and professional programs in video game design studies – from very specialized college majors to highly concentrated graduate degrees – have evolved tremendously over the past 10 years,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher. “We salute the schools on our list this year for their commitment to this burgeoning field and the innovative programs they offer. For students aspiring to work in this more than $10.5 billion industry and for the companies that will need their creative talents and skills, we hope this project will serve as a catalyst for many rewarding connections.”

The Princeton Review’s rankings were based on a comprehensive survey of administrators at 150 North American institutions offering video game design coursework. Conducted during the 2011-12 academic year, the survey included more than 50 questions covering topics from academics to faculty credentials to graduates’ employment and career achievements.

The Princeton Review’s top 10 undergraduate schools to study video game design for 2012 are:

1. USC
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Mass.)
3. University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
4. DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, Wash.)
5. The Art Institute of Vancouver (Vancouver, B.C.)
6. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, N.Y.)
7. Shawnee State University (Portsmouth, Ohio)
8. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, Ga.)
9. University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, N.M.)
10. Becker College (Worcester, Mass.)

The Princeton Review’s top 10 graduate schools to study video game design for 2012 are:

1. USC
2. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, N.Y.)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4. University of Central Florida (Orlando, Fla.)
5. Southern Methodist University (Plano, Texas)
6. Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
7. Savannah College of Art and Design
8. DigiPen Institute of Technology
9. University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, Calif.)
10. Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pa.)

The Princeton Review has been a leader in helping students achieve their higher-education goals for more than 28 years through college and graduate school test preparation and private tutoring. It partners with schools and guidance counselors throughout the United States to assist in college readiness, test preparation and career planning services, helping more students pursue postsecondary education.

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USC video games program named No. 1 for third year in a row

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