Colleges Adopt Video Gaming into Their Curriculum

Parents cherish the day when their college bound kids announce their majors. Although hearing “mom I want to major in video games” doesn’t sound too thrilling especially when thousands of dollars in tuition and fees are concerned; statements like these are becoming more popular.

With the increasing popularity of video gamming, HBCUs may join the trend and add gaming disciplines to their course catalogues.

According to the International Game Developers Association, less than a dozen North American schools offered any game related programs five years ago; now in 2006, that figure has grown to more than 100.

This past fall Southern Methodist University in Dallas enrolled 32 students in an 18 month master’s level certificate program in video game design. Schools like Shawnee State University in Ohio have gone all the way as to offer an undergraduate major in game and simulation arts.

Even some of the big name science and technology schools are observing and continuing the trend. The Massachussetts Institute of Technology, The Georgia Institute of Technology, and Carnegie Mellon University now offer cirricula not only in game design but in video game criticism and games as educational tools.

HBCUs like Howard University are seeing growing interest from students to create a gaming curriculum.

Howard Baker, a senior majoring in computer science at Howard, along with six other classmates created a video game for their senior project. In the Computer Science department in Howard’s College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Sciences, senior students must work with an outside company to create a complex database. Baker and his collegues opted to make a video game in conjunction with Microsoft.

“[We are] hopeful this game we made and what we’ve done will boost enthusiasm here," Baker said. Most schools have gaming classes if not a gaming major."

James H. Johnson Jr., Dean of Howard’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences, has taken notice of the interest in gaming by students like Baker and is working with Howard faculty and outside companies to explore a possible gaming program on campus.

Johnson said, “There is serious discussion of incorporating game development into the systems and computer science undergraduate curriculum in a systematic way-we may start slowly with a concentration withing the systems and computer sciences major or a minor as first steps.”