The University of Central Florida’s video game graduate school ranks No. 3 in the world, according to The Princeton Review and PC Gamer magazine.
The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, an anchor of UCF’s planned downtown campus, has been in the top five schools for each of the nine years the Princeton Review has done the rankings.
“I’m always happy to see the Princeton Review reward our innovation and effort to try and be a leader in interactive entertainment education,” said executive director Ben Noel. “The future success of our program will depend on the continued hard work of our students, faculty and staff.”
Since opening its doors in 2005, FIEA has graduated 606 students. Graduates are working at more than 139 companies around the world, including Apple, DreamWorks, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Bungie, Zynga, Ubisoft, Disney, Microsoft and Nintendo.
The average starting salary for recent FIEA graduates is $62,600. Graduates are working on some of today’s most popular franchises. Those include God of War 2018, Fallout 4, Fortnite, Star Wars Battlefront II, Madden NFL 18, NBA 2K18, Call of Duty World War II, Extinction and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
The school is located in UCF’s Center for Emerging Media, across from the site of the former Amway Arena. Plans for UCF Downtown call for a renovated Center for Emerging Media to join a new academic building that UCF and Valencia College will share. FIEA is designed to graduate talented and well-qualified professionals to work in video games, new media, film and simulation industries.
“Orlando is an interactive-entertainment powerhouse with FIEA as a global leader in graduate education,” said Dale Whittaker, provost and executive vice president. “Our faculty and staff anchor an emerging media industry in downtown Orlando, where we’re excited to open a campus next year that will bring more students in related fields to benefit from the foundation FIEA has built.”
The Princeton Review chose the schools based on its 2017 survey of 150 institutions offering game-design degree programs or courses. The 40-question survey gathered data on everything from the schools’ game-design academic offerings and lab facilities to their graduates’ starting salaries and career achievements. More than 40 data points in four areas (academics, faculty, technology, and career) were analyzed to tally the lists.
UCF’s undergraduate game design program was also listed in The Princeton Review rankings for the first time this year. It came in at No. 36.
In addition to being published today on The Princeton Review website, the listing will also be featured in the May issue of PC Gamer magazine, on newsstands March 27.