B.F.A. Game Design and Development - Art

Do you want to learn what it takes to make video games?
Degree Type Bachelor of Fine Arts
Careers & Salaries Annual Employment Report
Delivery On Campus

Computer and video game companies, directly and indirectly, employ more than 120,000 people in 34 states. The average salary for direct employees is $75,000.

UW-Stout's Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Game Design and Development (GDD) is an award-winning program where students gain core skills in art and design such as drawing, 3D modeling, and animation. As a game artist, you will create the visual elements necessary for games including concept art, characters, level design, and animations. Game developers work in entertainment, training, advertising, simulation, and education.

UW-Stout's B.F.A. Game Design and Development degree will teach you skills in art and design such as drawing, 3D modeling and animation. / UW-Stout

Awards and Honors

The game design and development program is among the very best in the nation. That’s according to new rankings from Princeton Review, an educational services company that surveyed 150 colleges and universities with game design majors. The 2021 rankings put UW-Stout at No. 6 in the U.S. among public universities, as well as the No. 1 ranking in Wisconsin.

  • National co-champion at the E3 College Game Competition
  • Received the Student Showcase Award, International Digital Media and Arts Association Conference
  • Nationally ranked by Animation Career Review

We offer:

  • Collaboration with computer science students
  • Courses covering two- and three-dimensional models, animation and visual effects for video games, television, movies
  • Three labs with industry-standard hardware and software
  • AAA development kits, Intuos Cintiq Displays, HD and 3D projectors, and virtual reality headsets

To be successful in the industry, you must be skilled and able to work with your counterparts and apply those skills to creating games. UW-Stout offers Game Design and Development programs focusing on both art and computer science skills to serve the industry. Students will develop deeper skills in either discipline before joining together in the three capstone advanced project courses. These courses simulate industry by creating games using a team environment.


Program Overview

View program plans, credit requirements and course descriptions.


Modern games are among the most demanding of computer applications, requiring knowledge of advanced mathematics and physics which form the basis of the 3D graphics, artificial intelligence and game engines that make up the game programs. Using core skills in art and design such as drawing, digital imaging and animation, game artists create the visual elements necessary for the game including heads-up interface components, 3D environments and 3D characters.

"There is a wealth of information and tutorials online, but nothing can compare to a tangible, real-time studio environment. The art and design professors at UW-Stout are dedicated, passionate and kind; working with them is an irreplaceable experience."

-- Emily Dillhunt
B.F.A  Game Design and Development

The world is going digital. Entertainment is no exception. Sales of computer and video games have grown consistently over the past ten years and the industry is predicted to expand even more. Serious games feature the use of interactive game technologies within non-entertainment sectors for training, advertising, simulation or education.

This is the future. Do you want to be a part of it?

Use the Request Information form to receive a program summary and learn more about the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Game Design and Development.

Request Information

B.F.A. Admissions Requirements

New First-Year Students

Students will be admitted as a Pre-Bachelor of Fine Arts (Pre-BFA) student. As a Pre-BFA participant, you will join an exciting community of first-year art and design students with classes and events geared towards preparing you for a successful application to the intended BFA program. 

As a student accepted into one of the six BFA programs, please be aware of the following:

  • You will be required to submit a portfolio in the spring semester of your freshmen year to apply for acceptance into the intended BFA program. Portfolios will be evaluated by School of Art and Design faculty. Through your first-year experience, you will be given the tools and skills required to prepare and submit the portfolio, and the necessary support to navigate the application process.

Transfer Students

  • All transfer students will be admitted as a Pre-Bachelor of Fine Arts (Pre-BFA) student.  Upon acceptance information will be provided on how to submit a portfolio and essay to be reviewed by a committee of School of Art & Design faculty, who will determine direct admissions into the BFA major of your choice. The priority deadline is no later than 9:00 a.m. on October 1st for spring admission and 9:00 a.m. on March 1st for fall admission. 
  • Submissions may be made after the priority date; however, there is no guarantee when it will be reviewed for a decision nor what art-specific coursework you may be able to get into after the review is completed and whether or not registration for the next semester has begun.  There is a $10 application fee assessed at the time you electronically submit your portfolio.

Transfer students are considered both fall and spring. This includes portfolio and essay submission priority dates. Students applying for one of the BFA programs will remain admitted as a "Pre-BFA" student if you: 

  • do not submit a portfolio/essay
  • apply after the BFA program has closed
  • are not approved for the BFA program after submission of a portfolio/essay. 

You may then apply for a change of major in subsequent semesters, depending upon available openings in the program. If needed, BFA Foundations courses will be available to "Pre-BFA" students pending seat availability. 

Game Design and Development Careers

In 2013, $21.53 billion was spent on video games, hardware, and accessories. Game software and content accounted for approximately $15.4 billion of that total. Computer and video game companies directly and indirectly employ more than 120,000 people in 34 states. The average salary for direct employees is $90,000.

The game entertainment industry is the typical choice for careers, but game development skills are also used for serious purposes, such as military training, education, personal medical assistance and business simulations.

Artists create two- and three-dimensional models, animation and visual effects for video games, television, movies, and other media. Employment of multimedia artists and animators is expected to grow by 6 percent through 2022. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development predicts an 11.1 percent increase in the number of multimedia artists and animators from 2010-2020.

The video game industry is an emerging industry in Wisconsin. Raven Software, of Middleton, is largest and most established (1990). Other Wisconsin companies include Human Head Studios (Madison), Guild Software (Milwaukee), Filament Games (Madison),  Learning Games Network (Madison),  PerBlue (Madison),  ZyMo Entertainment (Green Bay), and Digital Iris (Milwaukee). 

Job Titles


  • 3D Artist
  • 3D Building and Environment Modeler
  • Interface Designer
  • 3D Artist and Animator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Product Photographer
  • Developer
  • Freelance
  • Big John Games
  • Finn Daniels Architects
  • Design Ready Controls
  • Wink Frozen Desserts
  • Find-It-Faster Online
  • Len Busch Roses
  • Pixel Spill Games


GDD Advisory Committee

2021 GDD Advisory Committee

First Name Last Name Title Company
Dave Beck Director, School of Art and Design Department of Design
Ari Carrillo Professional in the Field dev N Ari
Ian Davis Professional in the Field ThetaREZ
Sam Herder Professional in the Field Periscope
Dev Jana Professional in the Field dev N Ari
Mark Jarman Professional in the Field PGAV Destinations
Karl Koehle Lecturer Department of Design
Jay Little Professional in the Field Independent
Kim Loken Assistant Professor Department of Design
Frank Marquart Professional in the Field Volition
Zack Olson Student Representative  
Brian Pelletier Professional in the Field Roundhouse Studios
Julie Peterson Associate Professor Department of Design
Joshua Seaver Assistant Professor Department of Design
Andrew Williams Program Director Department of Art & Art History

Student Gallery

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Game Design and Development

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