April 11, 2024

For the fourteenth consecutive year, Shawnee State University has been ranked among the top game design programs in the nation, ranking #3 in the Undergraduate Midwest listing by The Princeton Review. The programs also ranked in the Top 25 on the Top 50 Game Design Undergraduate list.

SSU Gaming

“It gives me reassurance knowing that Shawnee State is nationally-ranked in game design,” said Braiden Cheatham, SSU senior in the Game & Simulation Arts program. “You often hear just how competitive the game industry can be and knowing I am getting a nationally-ranked education within Game Arts gives me confidence that I’ll be able to make it within the industry.”

SSU’s game design programs – which includes degrees in both game programming and game arts – are highly competitive. Students in both tracks have the opportunity to develop their skills through hands-on courses leading up to their Senior Studio where the two tracks come together to allow students to simulate the experience of working in a game studio.

“My favorite part of the program is learning industry-level software from passionate teachers,” said Benji Trout, SSU junior in Game & Simulation Arts program. “I came into the program with minimal knowledge on how to use Blender and Photoshop. A little over two years later and I have learned how to use Maya, Unreal Engine, Substance Painter, Substance Designer, and Zbrush. I feel confident that everything I am learning is helping me put together a portfolio that can fit in multiple industries and prepare me for where I decide to go.”

As part of a growing and advancing industry, SSU faculty members work to keep students connected to the latest developments and trends in gaming technology. Professors share their own personal experience in the classroom as well as feature industry professionals as guest speakers – many that are alumni of the program. With the opportunity to connect with other gamers through on-campus gaming organizations, at the Shawnee Game Conference – the longest-running academic game conference in the Midwest –, and multi-day game development sessions,  the university gaming students have a nearly endless list of resources to collaborate and strengthen their skills within the field. 

“In addition to learning about game engines and tools, we also cover broader computer science topics such as AI, graphics programming, operating systems, and much more,” said Anthony McAllister, SSU senior in the Digital Simulation & Game Engineering Technology program. “It ultimately allows us to find a specific discipline that we enjoy and hone in on it. As I get closer and closer to graduating, I realize more and more how the well-balanced curricula has equipped me for numerous entry positions in the growing field of technology. I have a diverse toolset of skills that can be applied to just about any discipline in my field.”

Graduates from SSU gaming are found working throughout the nation in various industries including gaming, sales, programming, production, and more, using the hands-on skillsets they developed within the program and through collaboration with their professors and students outside of the classroom.

The Princeton Review chose its rankings based on its 2024 survey of institutions in the U.S., Canada, and abroad offering academic courses in game design, faculty credentials, and career outcomes, among other criteria. For more information about Shawnee State University’s gaming programs, visit