DigiPen is the first school in the world to offer a bachelor's degree in game development, and its students are among the most celebrated in the industry. Since 2001, DigiPen students have won 27 awards at the annual Independent Games Festival (IGF), more than any other school in the world. Furthermore, DigiPen is one of the only academic institutions in the world whose students' games have competed in the Professional category at the IGF.
DigiPen's degree programs encourage a deep, fundamental understanding of the underlying concepts of game development. Instead of just teaching students to use current tools, DigiPen's programs teach the foundational principles of programming, design, art and animation, preparing students to become innovators rather than simply users of technology. That depth of knowledge means that DigiPen graduates excel in careers both inside and outside the games industry.
DigiPen's curriculum goes beyond mere theory. At DigiPen, students work on year-long group projects where they create fully playable games from scratch, including the art assets, artificial intelligence, and even the game engine itself. This doesn't just give students the chance to apply what they've learned in the classroom – it lets them build a body of work that can compete with those of professional developers.
DigiPen graduates currently occupy positions at top developers throughout the games industry, including Valve, Bungie, Blizzard, Microsoft, Nintendo, and many more. Most notably, DigiPen students provided the foundation of the critically-acclaimed first-person puzzle games Portal and Portal 2, which incorporate elements of the award-winning DigiPen student games Narbacular Drop and Tag: The Power of Paint.
DigiPen's faculty is made up of both academic experts and seasoned industry professionals with years of experience in education and in the field. Their courses aim to simulate real-world industry conditions rather than encourage rote learning and memorization. Instructors emphasize critical thinking, flexible methodologies, aesthetic discernment and a variety of practical skills that allow graduates to stay competitive even as the technology changes.
DigiPen’s close links with the games industry, government bodies, and local communities ensure that the curriculum is constantly relevant and up-to-date. These connections have also led to more placement opportunities for students through networking, internships, and career fairs.