KENNESAW, Ga. (Mar 27, 2017) — The Princeton Review has ranked Kennesaw State University for the second consecutive year as one of the top 50 schools worldwide to study game design. KSU is ranked No. 32 and is one of only 20 public universities named in the annual ranking.

Now in its eighth year, Princeton Review’s “Top Game Design Schools” list ranks both undergraduate and graduate programs around the world from the 150 institutions that offer game design degree programs and courses.

The Computer Game Design and Development (CGDD) program in Kennesaw State’s College of Computing and Software Engineering is the first – and only – academic program of its kind to earn accreditation from ABET, the accrediting body for college and university programs in the disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. The CGDD program focuses on the design and production of digital media for entertainment, education and research.

As a specialization within the field of computing, game design and development offers interdisciplinary collaborations with engineering, the creative arts and the humanities. KSU’s program has grown tremendously since its inception in 2008, with 15 courses offered to the more than 350 students currently enrolled.

“Our students continue to excel in the Computer Game Design and Development program, and it’s rewarding to receive this external validation for the great work that the faculty continue to do,” said Jon Preston, interim dean of Kennesaw State’s College of Computing and Software Engineering. “Through experiential learning courses like our games-for-learning collaboration with local K-12 schools, major events such as the game jams we host, and state-of-the-art labs, our students gain unique opportunities to learn game design and development in the best environment possible.

“Our program is a standout because we partner with local industry experts and the Georgia Game Developers Association to advance game design and development throughout the state of Georgia, and our students play a vital role in this while at KSU and after graduation,” Preston added.

Kennesaw State is one of only a few universities in the U.S. that are outfitted with a Sony PlayStation 4 laboratory, which gives students access to technology for PS4 development. KSU also opened a multi-functional virtual reality and augmented reality lab, called the GUITAR lab, short for Games, User-Interactions, Tangibles, Animations and Realities (GUITAR).  The lab equips a whole-body motion capture system including face animation, a Microsoft Hololens, three HTC VIVE VR headsets and different 3D headsets for smartphones.

With well-equipped facilities, the CGDD program has hosted some of the largest game development gatherings in the nation and has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services to develop programs focused on smoking cessation, food-borne illnesses and HIV awareness. The CGDD program also works with the Georgia Game Developers Association to promote STEM and game development studies among high school students.

For the ranking, college and universities were chosen based on The Princeton Review’s 2016 survey of 150 institutions in the U.S., Canada and abroad that offer game design degree programs or courses. The survey gathered data on academic offerings and lab facilities, as well as graduates’ starting salaries and career achievements.

According to the survey results, 57 percent of game design students created actionable plans to launch games while working on their undergraduate degrees. At Kennesaw State, students gain competitive insight during the program’s sponsored Game Jam and Global Game Jam competitions, where programmers, designers, musicians and artists gather to develop video games in less than 48 hours.

The ranking will be published in PC Gamer magazine in its March 28 issue.