San Antonio Schools with Game Design Programs
A few schools in the San Antonio, TX, area offer programs related to game design at the certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree levels. This article explores three schools that are no more than 25 minutes from the city center and the relevant programs they offer. Preceding this information is a table of facts about the schools, such as enrollment, tuition, graduation rate and acceptance rate. Prospective students may find this knowledge helpful as they decide on a school.
- Northwest Vista College offers certificate programs in game production and game concept art, along with associate degree programs in game development with concentrations in either game production or game programming. This school is about nine miles from downtown San Antonio.
- Students at The University of Texas at San Antonio, 16 miles from downtown, can earn a bachelor's degree in art with an emphasis on new media.
- At the University of the Incarnate Word, there is a bachelor's degree program in 3D animation and game design. The university is just five miles from the heart of San Antonio.
Comparison of Schools
There are many factors to consider when choosing a school. This table displays data about each of these schools in a way that makes it easy to compare them.
|Northwest Vista College||The University of Texas at San Antonio||University of the Incarnate Word|
|School Type||2-year; public||4-year; public||4-year; private not-for-profit|
|Total Enrollment (2019)||18,010*||32,594*||8,175*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large city||Large city|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2019-2020)|| $3,030, in-district;
| $8,262, in-state;
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2018-2019)||74%*||83%*||99%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2019)||N/A - open admission policy*||77%*||94%*|
|Retention Rate (2018-2019)|| 68% for full-time students;
51% for part-time students*
| 73% for full-time students;
60% for part-time students*
| 73% for full-time students;
33% for part-time students*
|Graduation Rate||32% (20% transfer-out rate) for students who began Fall 2016*||42% (31% transfer-out rate) for students who began Fall 2013*||51% (31% transfer-out rate) for students who began Fall 2013*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.
Northwest Vista College
Northwest Vista College (NVC) is part of the Alamo Colleges system and is located less than 20 miles west of downtown San Antonio. NVC has two game development associate's degree programs with specializations in game production and game programming. Two certificate programs are also available, in game production and game concept art.
Certificate in Game Production
This 33-credit-hour certificate program teaches students how to work on teams to design games. The program takes three semesters to complete and is intended for those planning careers in video game design. Some of the courses include digital imaging, computer programming, level design and game testing.
Certificate in Game Concept Art
This program is intended for those interested in video game design, 3-D animation and special effects. This 30-credit program prepares students to become concept artists and character designers. Some of the requirements include 3-D modeling and rendering, drawing and character sculpting. Students also take a course that helps them to create a portfolio of their 3-D animation work.
Associate of Applied Science in Game Development (Game Production)
Students learn the basics of 2-D and 3-D game production in this Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program. The curriculum incorporates teamwork and communication, digital imaging, game scripting and level design. Students also participate in a group project that includes the creation of a game or simulation. Upon graduation from this 60-credit program, students may consider transferring to a 4-year school to pursue a Bachelor of Applied Science or Bachelor of Applied Technology program in game design or a related field.
Associate of Applied Science in Game Development (Game Programming)
The curriculum in this A.A.S. degree program focuses on the programming end of game development. Working in teams and on individual assignments, students develop skills in game testing, game design and data structures. Specific training highlights C++, DirectX and other programming languages. Successful graduates may also find employment as software developers or programmers. After graduation, students are encouraged to pursue a bachelor's degree in game programming or similar field at a 4-year college or university.
The University of Texas at San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is located about 16 miles north of downtown San Antonio and offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program that features opportunities in new media, such as video and digital design.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art
This Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program is offered through the university's art department and is approved by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The program has several studio concentrations, including a track in new media. Regardless of concentration, students in the program take core requirements such as 2-D and 3-D design, survey of modern art, drawing, contemporary arts and digital arts. Students must also complete an independent study and internship focused on developing new media skills.
University of the Incarnate Word
The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is a private institution founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. It is located about five miles north of downtown San Antonio and offers a BFA in 3D animation & game design through its computer graphic arts department.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Animation & Game Design
The BFA degree program in 3D animation & game design prepares students for career opportunities in game design. Some of the core requirements include computer graphics, digital imaging and 3-D modeling. Additional classes are available in set and level design, animation gestures, visual narrative and environment production. Additionally, students must complete a senior thesis, a seminar and a portfolio.