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For international students who have decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in video game development, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. This article offers an overview of a video game development major and a typical list of courses a student can expect to take. The article also establishes what sort of careers an undergraduate degree in video game development will prepare a student for.

International students just beginning their journey toward receiving an undergraduate degree have several important dimensions to keep in mind when deciding upon a potential major: personal fulfillment, degree demand, and the number of career opportunities available upon graduation. Given these considerations, one of the increasingly popular decisions amongst international students deciding to study in the United States is to pursue an undergraduate degree in video game development. International students who decide to study video game development in the United States have turned their love for video gaming into fuel for a lucrative career creating the next sensational gaming title. There are many reasons that make a video game development major popular amongst international students coming to the US. However, before jumping into this field, students interested in this career should perform research on what to expect when pursuing an undergraduate degree in video game development.

Usually, an undergraduate degree in video game development takes the form of a Bachelor of Science degree, but there are a small number of less common Associate's degrees available as well. A typical undergraduate degree in video game development takes between 21 and 36 months to complete, and will vary in cost depending on the state and institution at which the video game development program is located. However, there is also a large degree of flexibility regarding the number of courses a student takes during a semester and academic year, so students will surely be able to find a program that can be completed within their desired timeframe! Researching the different courses included in a video game development major is also important.

Typical Courses Comprising a Video Game Development Major

  • Introduction to computer science
  • Introduction to programming
  • Programming in C/C++
  • Programming in Java
  • Programming in Python
  • Intermediate programming
  • Introduction to data structures
  • Social networks
  • Game design experience
  • Computer graphics: 3D modeling
  • Computer graphics: 3D animation
  • Scientific computation
  • Systems and Simulation
  • Introduction to Unix
  • Foundations of Interactive Game Design
  • Algorithms and Data Types
  • Fundamentals of Compiler Design I/II
  • Systems Programming
  • Advanced Programming
  • Operating Systems
  • Comparative Programming Languages
  • Software Design I/II
  • Mobile Applications
  • Data Storage Systems
  • Computational Models
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning and Data Mining
  • Game AI
  • Computer Graphics
  • Data Visualization
  • Game Engines
  • Game Theory and Application I/II
  • Calculus
  • Trigonometry
  • Linear Algebra
  • Structure of Game Design I/II
  • Structure of Game Production I/II
  • Game Rules
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Game Pre-Production
  • Public Speaking
  • Physics
  • Capstone Game Development Project

International students who desire an undergraduate degree in video game development will have to establish a personal criteria to help decide between the many highly regarded and highly funded video game development programs to which they will have access. Some central points to consider when deciding where to pursue a video game development major are: the reputation of the institution and job placement rate of graduates, the amount of funding/financial assistance that is available to undergraduate students, the rate of debt among graduates, the contributions to the industry made by the department, and any industry affiliations which students can use to gain access to the competitive video game development industry.

Deciding to pursue a video game development major will not only link students' careers with their passion, the decision can also be a potentially lucrative investment. The undergraduate degree in video game development will prepare individuals for being part of a development team at an actual game developer's studio. A video game development major will help gain any of several high-responsibility roles when on a development team.

Possible Roles on a Development Team

  • Programmer
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Software developer
  • Software quality assurance engineer
  • Software quality assurance tester
  • Graphic designer
  • Level designer

The reason these roles are so diverse is because the undergraduate degree in video game development itself covers a diverse field of study that requires a familiarity with the many different phases of creating a video game. The curriculum of an undergraduate degree in video game development spans the entire process of game creation, and therefore is a mixture of mathematics, computer science and production. That being the case, video game development majors will be well versed in both the overview of the game development process, as well as the specifics at each step. A robust undergraduate degree in video game development will prepare its graduates to both oversee the production process as a whole, as well as take the lead on a particular aspect within the broader division of labor. In fact, many video game development majors have the opportunity to, as their final project, create a real video game! International students hoping to have a career that will involve their passion for video games might want to pursue a career in video game development.

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