Interactive Media Division named top in country again

The Princeton Review and GamePro magazine  recently named USC as the best game design program among schools in North America for the second consecutive year.

Design · Arjun Badarinath (left) and Shreyas Hernajal, graduate students studying computer science, work to develop web applications to incorporate interactivity to corporate websites in the interactive media lab. - Ted Gerike | Daily Trojan

The rankings consider the success of both the Interactive Media Division, a part of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, as well as the computer science major with a concentration in game development available through the Viterbi School of Engineering. USC took the top spot for both undergraduate and graduate divisions.

“Obviously we’re really excited and honored that The Princeton Review would rank us as the top program again,” said Tracy Fullerton, chair of the interactive media division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. “Our mix of practice and theory, as well as our focus on making and understanding games really helps us understand the culture of game design.”

Criteria for the rankings ranged from items such as the quality of faculty members to the post-graduate plans of students in the program, something Fullerton said she believes could have put USC above the rest.

“This program has a sort of notoriety for producing an amazing group of alumni that are currently in the industry,” Fullerton said. “We have a really fantastic mix of people in terms of our faculty and students that give our program a really neat culture.”

Many students cite versatility and breadth of the curriculum as reasons why they believe USC received the No. 1 ranking.

“The range is huge, from character development to sound design to programming, and what’s great is that you can structure your course load to what you are actually interested in,” said Brittney Black, a sophomore majoring in interactive entertainment. “You get a good combination of theory and practice with lots of hands-on learning.”

Yannis Yortsos, dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering, said he has seen a tremendous increase in interest in the program after being ranked for the second year in a row.

“Our program has become very popular, even though it only started five years ago,” Yortsos said. “Lots of kids are interested in coming here and are attracted to how we overlap computer science and entertainment. It’s a powerful combination and something I believe we do really well here.”

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