March 10, 2011

High Score

Interactive Media Division Ranked #1 for Second Year

For the second year in a row, GamePro Magazine and The Princeton Review have designated USC’s Interactive Media Division (IMD) as the top game design program in North America. Edging out schools including University of Central Florida, Parsons New School for Design and the University of California at Santa Cruz, IMD placed number one in both the undergraduate and graduate school rankings.

Interactive MFA Student Erin Reynolds works on a Wacom Tablet

“I can’t tell you how proud we are of all the ground-breaking work and innovative research going on in our Interactive Media Division,” said Dean Elizabeth M. Daley. “Our students, faculty and staff have created an extraordinary environment where the boundaries of game design are being expanded each day, and I’m thrilled that they have again been singled out for their efforts.”

The rankings were created through the use of a comprehensive survey conducted by the Princeton Review during the 2010-2011 academic year with administrators from over 150 institutions. Criteria included a variety of topics, from faculty credentials to graduates’ employment and achievements.

“While there are many very strong game programs throughout the country, any student here can tell you that USC undoubtedly has something special that sets it apart from the rest,” said Interactive Media MFA Student Erin Reynolds. “As technologies become more accessible and students become more literate in creating digital media, the future of gaming education will become less about how to simply make great traditional games and more about how to integrate game-like experiences for different fields and unique audiences. “

IMD associate professor and Electronic Arts Endowed Chair Tracy Fullerton spoke via email about the key to the division’s ongoing success.

“I think it is the balance of practice and theory, entrepreneurialism and research, aesthetics and technology, individual expression and collaborative teamwork; along with a vibrant community of making and playing that makes our program such a special place to study game design,” said Fullerton.

“The kind of work we do in the Interactive Media Division is quickly becoming more and more important to the creation of media across many different platforms and industries — television, film, mobile, etc.,” said Fullerton. “I see our students as leaders in this future world of integrated, participatory entertainment. Being interested and fluent in these areas will be critical to anyone aspiring to design games, develop television shows, create mobile experiences, and more.”

USA Today Coverage - Link