Throughout the United States, more and more universities are offering funded varsity esports programs. If playing esports is something you aspire to do, you’ll want to figure out what is the best college to do that. That’s where we come in. We studied nearly 60, 4-year universities with esports programs and evaluated them on 7 crucial factors. After weighing each factor for all the schools we created a ranking of the best schools.
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Best Colleges for Gaming and Esports
1) Miami University
Miami University is the best school to pursue esports. Announced in 2016, Miami University had the first varsity esports team at a top tier U.S. university. Only one year later Miami University’s Overwatch team won the 2017 National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) season. Their League of Legends team had similar success, reaching the finals of the NACE invitational. In addition to the program, Miami University offers a course on esports as well as a minor in digital gaming. Overall, Miami University boasts a strong academic record, a prime campus and a stellar nightlife.
2) University of Utah
We found University of Utah to be the 2nd best school for esports and gaming in the U.S. Stylized as “Gamer U”, the University of Utah has had an Entertainment Arts and Engineering program since 2007 which explores the artistic and engineering aspects of game development. In 2017, the school introduced a fully supported varsity esports teams as well as began offering a bachelors of science in Games. The University of Utah scored amongst the highest in our “value” category – a measure of a school’s cost vs average expected income after graduation. As a state school, students pay an average of $11,000 but end up with salaries averaging over $50,000 within six years out of college.
3) University of California Irvine
Esports at University of California Irvine are taken seriously. Irvine was the first public university to introduce an esports team. Since its creation in 2015, Irvine has since created one of the most elite programs in the country complete with an esports arena. At Irvine, gamers will definitely feel at home with 72% of the student body identifying as ‘gamers’. Like Miami University and University of Utah, academics at Irvine are top notch. You also get great value at Irvine, with students earning an average salary of $55,000 six years after graduation (amongst the highest on our list)
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4) Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern is another university that has been a pioneer in collegiate esports. The college currently has six esports teams that have been around since 2012. At GSU, members of the esports teams enjoy full athletic perks. The school also hires professional esport players as coaches to help athletes progress into professional gaming after college. GSU boasts a great party scene, as well as stellar professors and academics.
5) Illinois Wesleyan University
Illinois Wesleyan University is another great spot for gaming while at college. Though newer than the schools above it on our ranking (the esports team will begin competing in the fall of 2018), gamers should feel at home in this midwestern university. The esports program has its own facility like at Irvine and has recently hired experienced gamer Callum Fletcher as head coach. IWU is one of the best schools in terms of academics on our list. It is a bit more expensive compared to the four universities we list above.
|2||University of Utah||101.6||92||92||88||95||92||95||92|
|3||University of California Irvine||100.7||95||92||88||85||82||95||92|
|4||Georgia Southern University||98.7||88||95||92||82||100||88||85|
|5||Illinois Wesleyan University||97.1||95||92||82||85||88||92||78|
|9||Georgia State University||95.5||88||85||88||92||92||85||85|
|10||Boise State University||95.5||85||88||85||88||88||85||88|
|12||St. Ambrose University||94.7||85||92||85||88||88||85||78|
|13||Robert Morris University||94.2||88||92||95||85||85||82||72|
|14||University of Akron||93.7||82||85||88||88||92||88||82|
|15||Western Kentucky University||93.4||82||85||85||85||95||85||85|
|16||Missouri Baptist University||93.4||78||95||95||88||82||75||78|
|18||University of Jamestown||92.8||82||88||88||82||85||78||85|
|19||Indiana Institute of Technology||92.5||78||88||88||92||88||78||82|
|21||South Dakota School of Mines & Technology||92.4||88||78||78||82||82||95||85|
|24||Northwest Christian University||91.7||82||85||82||88||82||82||82|
|26||St. Louis College of Pharmacy||91.4||88||75||78||85||85||82||92|
|27||Oregon Institute of Technology||91.1||88||75||88||75||78||88||88|
|28||Texas Wesleyan University||91.1||85||82||82||78||78||88||82|
|34||Embry Riddle Aeronautical University||89.3||88||78||82||75||75||88||78|
|36||West Virginia Wesleyan College||88.9||82||78||75||82||85||85||82|
|37||Grand View University||88.9||78||85||78||82||82||75||82|
|38||Florida Southern College||88.6||88||78||75||82||82||85||75|
|40||Kansas Wesleyan University||88.4||82||82||78||88||82||78||75|
|41||Lebanon Valley College||88.3||85||82||78||72||75||82||78|
|46||St. Thomas Aquinas College||86.3||78||75||82||78||82||78||82|
|47||Central Methodist University||85.9||82||78||82||62||78||85||75|
|48||DigiPen Institute of Technology||84.8||92||82||82||85||82||85|
|49||University of Pikeville||84.7||75||75||85||72||72||82||78|
|52||Southwest Baptist University||82.9||78||72||75||72||62||82||78|
|56||College of St. Joseph||54.2||75||82||75||72||82|
To find the best colleges for gaming we first compiled a list of all four year universities with varsity esports teams. We then turned to data from niche.com to determine which was the best schools from that list. We looked at a school’s ratings for their academics, campus, food, professors, location and night life. We then took the average salary graduates from the school had six years after graduating and divided it by the average cost of the school according to Niche to determine it’s value. To make it so every factor did not have equal importance we gave extra weight to academics, campus, professors and value. We also gave less weight to nightlife and the campus food quality.