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Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) at the University of Utah has been ranked number one for its undergraduate program and number two for its graduate program by the Princeton Review.
“We are gratified that our exceptional faculty, studio setting and the outstanding work of our students combine to put us at the top of this innovative academic discipline,” says Robert Kessler, director of the EAE program and professor of computer science at the University of Utah. “The interdisciplinary and scholarly approach we began in 2007 is working, and we’re pleased to be so recognized.”
The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a comprehensive survey it conducted in the 2012-2013 academic year of administrators at 150 institutions offering video game design coursework and/or degrees in the United States and Canada. The survey, which included more than 50 questions, covered a wide range of topics from academics and faculty credentials to graduates’ employment and career achievements. School selections covered the quality of the curriculum, faculty, facilities and infrastructure as well as scholarships, financial aid and career opportunities.
EAE is a joint effort of Utah’s College of Engineering and College of Fine Arts. Students work in the areas of video games, computer animation, film and special effects and work together throughout their academic careers, which is the norm in the industry.
“The University of Utah is able to deliver depth on both digital and artistic fronts,” says Mark Van Langeveld, an instructor who holds a Ph.D. in computing. “Utah’s legacy in computing and the arts makes a distinctive difference for our students, which is being recognized in the field.”
The EAE program is known for its high number of graduates in the industry, large number of award-winning and published student games, medical games — including a game to help children fight cancer — and games research. The program is regarded for its interdisciplinary philosophy and collaboration with industry leaders.
“As a global leader in digital interactive entertainment, having the top ranked academic program for game development in the nation a few miles from our studio helps us not only with hiring tomorrow’s brightest game professionals but allows us to continue making incredible games here in Salt Lake,” said Jon Dean, vice president and general manager at EA Salt Lake
EAE graduates and current students work for companies including Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive, Zynga, and Microsoft and others, many of which have operations in Utah. According to the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, the video game industry is an important economic contributor, adding $112.7 million to the state economy in 2011, growing 25 percent over the prior five years.
“Utah is the place to make videogames,” says Roger Altizer, EAE’s director of game design and production. “Our focus is on collaboration. We firmly believe artists and engineers working together, industry professionals and academics working on games, and medical, engineering, art and humanities faculty studying games together is what makes the Entertainment Arts and Engineering program a hub for interactive entertainment.”