Colleges That Offer Video Game Scholarships

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Game Development Bachelor’s Degree Campus & Online

College Esports Teams Offer Scholarships For Video Gamers | NBC Nightly News

Students are taught the skills necessary to develop and program single and multiplayer video games for gaming consoles, personal computers, and networks.

Degree Courses Include:

  • Artificial Intelligence & dash Students learn techniques for designing intelligent behaviors and creating lifelike behaviors in characters in order to provide realism, and computer opponents that continue to challenge players even after repeated gameplay.
  • Engine Development & dash This course emphasizes debugging, development of problem solving skills, reading and understanding pre-written code, requirements analysis, and working toward being a better software engineer upon graduation.
  • Data Structure and Algorithms & dash Students learn how fundamental data structures and algorithms function and are implemented while also learning about managing complexity, linked structures, abstraction, analysis, vectors, lists, and more.
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Blackmoor Studios game development facility
  • Game Production Studio with designated Testing Room
  • Studios with areas designated for audio, graphics and technical development
  • Video presentations and interactive content
  • Online guest lectures and interviews
  • Course Director podcasts

University Of California Irvine

They play host to competitive teams for League of Legends and Overwatch, but they also offer a program for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The program actively supports their world-class gaming scholars by connecting them to both recreational and elite gamers. They also annually co-host the annual UCI Esports Conference along with their Informatics department as a way to talk about the latest research in esports.

What makes this program stand out is the structure of their culture. According to their website, they are the first public university to create an official esports program. UCI has become a sort of leader in collegiate esports as the industry has boomed since 2015. To that end, UCI has developed a program to promote messages of diversity and inclusion in esports in 2017. Their overall mission is to ensure a welcoming and safe environment for all students. With that, UCI is our number 6 choice.

Are You Ready To Find Your Fit

Many people choose to turn their gaming passion into a viable career. This industry welcomes various skill sets. For example, software engineers, writers, and animators serve important purposes in this field.

Many students can earn their degree on a budget. Learners can apply for general academic scholarships and major-related scholarships. Organizations and businesses offer gaming scholarships to help students pay for their degree.

This page outlines tips for earning a college gaming scholarship. You can also browse some scholarships for gaming students. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Boise State University Boise Id

Boise State University created its college esports program in 2017. Teams consist of full- and part-time students in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Student-athletes compete in intercollegiate play through the National Association of Collegiate Esports.

Varsity-level gaming at Boise State includes teams for League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League. Tryouts are held each summer over multiple days. Once you’ve earned a spot, you gain access to the esports training center, professional coaching, and team merchandise.

Boise State’s esports program also offers special esports scholarships and financial aid. Students on scholarships must maintain satisfactory academic performance and attend team practices and selected matches.

Summary: Video Game Scholarships

Colleges roll out scholarships to varsity video game players ...

eSports is the fastest growing sport in the country, and colleges have begun to respond to that demand by offering varsity eSports teams. In order to recruit top players, many of these schools have also begun offering gaming scholarships to players who join their teams. These scholarships can range from a couple hundred dollars a year to full tuition . If youre interested in getting an eSports scholarship yourself, you should research how eSports players are recruited at schools youre interested in, work on building your eSports brand, and reach out to coaches and current players at schools you may want to play for.

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Adobe Design Achievement Awards

Deadline: June 20th

Each year, the Adobe Design Achievement Awards are presented for up to $5,000 to college students aged 18 years or older enrolled in an accredited higher learning institution who enter a unique design project in the categories of web design, game art and design, digital publishing, animation, motion graphics, photography, illustration, or print communications. Along with the scholarship funding, winners will receive Adobe Creative Cloud membership, a student pass to the Adobe MAX event in Los Angeles, and a year-long mentorship with an industry professional.


Train Like You Have Something To Prove

The truth is, there are many more qualified and talented gamers than there are scholarships available. In time, as more schools adopt eSports as a varsity sport, there will undoubtedly be more scholarship opportunities. But for now, the competition for scholarships is extremely high. So how can you set yourself apart from the crowd? The answer is to dedicate yourself to developing your craft and become increasingly regimen about training and practice. Unlike, football, basketball, or any other organized sport, people around the world are competing in eSports related competition 24/7 with the sole purpose of becoming the best. The truth is, you are not the only person wanting to get your school paid for by playing competitive video games, so you will need to make a big commitment to do more than your competition is willing to do.

Keep in mind that eSports is a sport, and if you want to be the best you will need to treat competitive gaming as you would any other sport. Training can include the following:

  • Setting aside multiple hours a day for dedicated practice sessions.
  • Watching replays on your performance and developing in-game strategies.
  • Making sure you receive adequate physical training and proper nutrition.
  • Consistently competing against higher-ranked competition.

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Esports Scholarships / Scholarships For Gamers

All those long nights staying up till 2 am to play video games can finally pay off…literally. Being an avid gamer in this day and age is now worth more than just fun and games – there are quite a few scholarships for gamers who are looking to pay for college! Esports have entered the collegiate sports arena, where students can land Esports scholarships and get paid to play.

Esports has been around for nearly two decades, but is fairly new in the collegiate arena. There are more than thirty U.S. colleges and universities that offer scholarships for gamers, and the University of Utah is one of the larger sports schools to offer scholarships for video gaming. Its varsity Esports team competes at the popular and high-profile League of Legends competition. The university currently offers players partial video game scholarships, with the future goal of offering full video game scholarships to its gaming team. The University of California-Irvine similarly recruits students on partial video game scholarships and have even built a gaming arena for gamers and its school’s 10-player team. Robert Morris University was the first college in the U.S. to offer video gaming scholarships, where students can earn up to $19,000 a year in gaming scholarships. Robert Morris University Esports athletes also don team uniforms and post-game meals, just like any other collegiate sports team.

How Do Gamers Get Esports Scholarships

How Esports Scholarships Offer Gamers A New Path To College | NBC News

Before you toss your textbooks and start missing classes to get more gaming practice in, keep in mind, esports scholarships are still scholarships and follow the same process as any collegiate varsity sports scholarship.

First and foremost, you will need to get accepted into a college or university the traditional way. That is, you need to apply, send in your high school transcripts and any necessary references, complete the application , pass on the necessary tests like the ACT or SAT.

After being accepted, you will likely have to complete a recruitment form. UCIs recruitment form can be viewed here. UCI states that you must be at least a Master level for LoL or Grandmaster for Overwatch to even be considered.

Depending on your skill level and the school, youll be given normal or priority status. Priority status often means youll be meeting with coaches and current team members early so they can better feel you out as youve already stood out from the crowd.

After all of this, tryouts begin. Tryouts typically happen at the beginning or shortly before the beginning of a school year and you may be required to fill out a tryout application . Tryouts will often be live so that coaches can see how you play during competition. I would strongly advise getting a feel for live LAN competition at a local tournament near you before this kind of tryout.

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High School Starleague Scholarships

Deadline: Varies

This scholarship is one of the scholarships for gamers and is sponsored by TwitchTV, Newegg, Razer, Jinx, and other video game industry leaders, the High School StarLeague Scholarships offer above $20,000 total for talented gamers who participate in the annual competition for League of Legends, Dota 2, and StarCraft 2.

To meet up with the eligibility requirements for winning the prize money, high school students in North America are mandated to display an interest in joining the professional gaming scene and be committed to enrolling in a post-secondary degree program for ultimate character development outside the game.

Esports Scholarships Of Note

Below we go into more detail on four gaming scholarships that you should be especially aware of, either because of the large amount of money they offer, or their eSports history.

Harrisburg University has less than 1,000 students, but its putting a lot of resources into building a strong eSports team. This includes offering players full-ride scholarships if they earn a spot on the team. The eSports team is in fact the schools only varsity sports team, and the 26 student athletes play Hearthstone, League of Legends, and Overwatch.

Robert Morris University was the first college in the country to offer eSports scholarships in 2014. They continue to lead the pack by offering some of the largest eSports scholarships, up to $19,000 a year.

Stephens College is the first womens college to have a varsity eSports team as well as the first womens college to offer eSports scholarships. Because eSports teams skew heavily male, Stephens College developed its eSports teams as a way to encourage more women to become involved in eSports and receive scholarships for their eSports achievements. Their team currently has six main team members and six substitute members. Any current student can try out for the team, and every member/substitute receives a partial athletic scholarship.

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How Esport Scholarships Began

In 2014, Robert Morris University made headlines around the world by being the first institution of its kind to bring esports into its athletic program. This is when esports, at least in the US, became a varsity sport.

Robert Morris University created its own League of Legends team in 2014. Although schools technically had college esports teams, what marked this as the beginning was Robert Morris Universitys designation of their LoL team being a varsity sports team.

After Robert Morris University created their varsity esports team, and after many considered it to be a mere publicity stunt for a small school, the year 2015 saw the University of Pikeville in Kentucky create their own varsity esports team.

Yep, the beginning saw two small, mostly unheard of schools, create their own varsity esports teams. But if you do a bit of research on collegiate basketball, you may find a similar story. Nowadays, many consider March Madness to be better entertainment than the NBA.

Fast forward a bit and in the spring of 2016, University of California Irvine became the first public university to create an official esports program. By September 2016 the UCI Esports Arena, sponsored by iBUYPOWER, was opened. It has since gained additional sponsorship.

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International Game Developers Association Scholarships

More College Esports Players Are Cashing In Big Scholarships

Deadline: December 2nd

This scholarship is offered by the International Game Developers Association . This association awards $1,000 scholarships to full-time undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral students over the age of 18 who are in pursuit of a degree from an accredited post-secondary institution relevant to the game development field.

All applicants are mandated to be members of the above-mentioned association in good standing, be actively involved in the video game community, and attend the Game Developers Conference with an all-inclusive pass.

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Colleges Should Offer Esports Scholarships

American colleges are gradually offering more athletic scholarships to an unlikely group of people: gamers.

Team video game competitions, known as eSports, are slowly making their way into college athletic programs. TNL Media estimates that 655 students from 40 American universities will receive a total of $4.1 million in scholarship money to play video games this year.

This new idea of video game scholarships started at Robert Morris University in 2014. According to NBC News, the schools eSports director, Kurt Melcher, was met with doubts when he first presented the proposal to the administration. The school ultimately decided to fund the project, and it has reaped the rewards. The school expects 90 students will be competing for five different titles this year.

This growing industry offers tremendous financial benefits to collegiate gamers. According to NBC News, a varsity eSports scholarship at Robert Morris University pays for 70 percent of a students tuition.

The popularity of collegiate eSports continues to grow. In 2015, University of Pikeville and Maryland University offered eSports scholarships. Now, TNL Media projects that 60 colleges will offer eSports scholarships by 2018.

It was only a matter of time until eSports made their way into the college athletics scene. The eSports industry has been growing for years. Its success is spearheaded by its massive fan base. League of Legends has 100 million monthly players according to Forbes.

Sony Online Entertainment Girl Scholarship

Deadline: March 19th

This gamers scholarship is offered by Sony Online Entertainment . Gamers in Real Life scholarship is awarded yearly for $10,000 to female gamers currently enrolled at an accredited school in an undergraduate program related to video game art, design, programming, animation, production, or visual effects with an average Grade Point Average of 3.0 or more.

Along with an application, candidates are mandated to submit two original pieces of concept art, a short caption describing each piece, and a 500-word essay discussing their goals for the improvement of the image of women in games.

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Academy Of Interactive Arts And Sciences Foundation Scholarships

The AIAS Foundation Scholarship is a $2,500 award for full-time undergraduate and graduate students interested in video game design or the video game industry. This includes not only students majoring in video game design, sound design, art, animation, programming, engineering, and game direction, but also those studying law, marketing, and business administration. To apply, you must attend college or university full-time and have a GPA of 3.3 or above. The deadline for the AIAS Foundation Scholarship is usually in late May every year.

The AIAS Foundation, with support from Intel, also awards the WomenIn Scholarship. The scholarship is a $2,500 award for female undergraduate or graduate students working towards a career in game development or the interactive arts industry.

Take Your Hobby To The Next Level

College offers athletic scholarships to video gamers

Game design and development is exploding in the computer technology sector, so schools are in heavy competition launching the latest programs to attract top talent. If youre interested in game design and development, there has never been a better time to break in to the business the growing popularity of gaming points to an era of plentiful educational opportunities.

Game designers and developers come to the field following years of interest and participation in the past-time. Many students already have some experience engaging in hobby game design, and possess a solid understanding of the technology that drives modern games. Professionals typically work in studios that produce games and interactive software. Because game design and development innovators constantly re-define the cutting edge of the industry, landing jobs is ultra-competitive. The graduates with the most impressive educational resumes are quickly snatched up by notable studios.

To realize their design dreams, college students rely on financial aid from a range of sources. Game developers draw from career-specific scholarships initiated by corporations, government agencies and a host of technology philanthropists.

Like game developers, competitive video game players playing games like League of Legends have scholarship options available to them.

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Game Design Bachelor’s Degree Campus & Online

Courses Include:

  • Game Mechanics & dash In this course, students learn how pacing and thematic structures incorporate conflict resolution and generate a plausible challenge and reward system.
  • Game Balancing & dash Students learn how to use level-design and gameplay-design fundamentals to create levels that capitalize on the strengths of their own designs while also learning about communicating to the player through a user interface.
  • Game Design Preproduction & dash This course requires students to collaborate as they would in a professional game development environment, working in teams to document and develop a gameplay prototype.

Scholarships Help Fund Your Game Dev Career

Although there are some careers in the gaming industry that dont require a college degree, you will be more competitive if you have earned a degree or certificate.

Whether your goal is to study computer science, art and animation, graphic design, digital cinematography, game development, game programming, 3D modeling, music production, visual effects, or something else entirely, theres a college or university thats right for you.

And now, with all of the financial aid thats available today for aspiring video game developers, theres never been a better time to take that first step toward your future career making video games.

Special thanks to for contributing to this article, and for helping game dev students fund their future careers through unique scholarships.

Image: MD Duran/Unsplash

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