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March 5, 2020

The Princeton Review has released its 2020 Ranking List for Top Undergraduate Schools to Study Game Design, and Shawnee State University is ranked #9 in the nation!

This is SSU's tenth year in a row on Princeton Review's list for top undergraduate schools to study game design. However, SSU is one of the only schools to advance in the list. SSU went from being number #22 in the nation to top ten this year!

"It's really gratifying to see such a dramatic increase in our ranking as a result of our efforts. We are constantly speaking with employers, current students and industry leaders about how to improve our programs,' Jason Witherell, Associate Professor of Digital Simulation & Game Engineering, said. "Being top 10 is just the beginning - We will keep striving to make SSU one of the best places to study game design."

Game Study Area in the Advanced Technology Building

The Princeton Review chose schools based on data collected in its 2019 survey of administrators at 150 institutions in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. The 50-question survey broadly covers four areas: academics, faculty, technology, and career prospects. In all, the list analyzed more than 40 survey data points to tally the rankings.

"We've been fortunate to attract faculty with game industry experience, and have faculty in every discipline who are experts in their fields. Together, we are giving our students a strong foundation on which they can launch successful careers. Their success is our success," Greg Lyons, Professor of Digital Simulation of Game Arts, said. "We are proud of what our graduates are doing in the industry and the part we've played in preparing them. They are making names for themselves - and for Shawnee State."

Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's Editor-in-Chief, noted the survey finding revealed exceptional level of professional experience that students in game design studies attained last year. At the undergraduate level, on average, 62% of the students in the programs worked on a shipped game as part of their studies, and 85% of the undergraduate students developed a plan to launch a game after graduation.

"I've spent the last ten years as an art director in the gaming industry, and it's been very rewarding to teach here at Shawnee State. That experience shapes the approach I use with students. I know what I looked for in new hires, and I want our students to be ahead of their peers," Marcus Cenci, Professor of Game Design, said. "We focus on giving our students a framework for the creative process - creating a vision, communicating their ideas to team members, then helping them conceptualize how their idea can work. That's the heart of game design. We want our designers to be able to think and problem-solve."

Shawnee State has a long history of excellence in game design. Its Game Arts degree was developed 17 years ago through its Department of Fine Arts, with its Digital Simulation and Game Engineering Technology degree added a few short years later. Shawnee State has been ranked by Princeton Review as a Top Game Design School since it began ranking programs ten years ago.

"We've developed a gaming culture at Shawnee State that goes beyond our two top-rated programs," Adam Miller, Chair of SSU's Department of Engineering Technologies, said. "Students at Shawnee State compete in varsity Esports, participate in student clubs centered on gaming, and have many opportunities to collaborate and play through Game Jams and other events. These activities aren't reserved for gaming majors either. Our community is campus-wide. That speaks to the sustainability of what we've built here."

To learn more about SSU's Digital Simulation and Game Design programs, visit