Programming, Game Programming, BA

Programming, Game Programming, BA

At Columbia, game programming is an artistic practice that combines theory and practical application to bring ideas to life. In this program, you’ll create code that allows games, simulations, or other interactive experiences to function. In addition to scripting and programming courses, you’ll take Liberal Arts and Sciences Core classes to gain a well-rounded education that prepares you for the collaborative, ever-changing technology industry.

You’ll learn and work in a team environment. You’ll learn how to (and how not to) work with others, making you a valuable candidate for employers. We believe in the “fail up” mentality, wherein you learn and grow as a creator, student, and person by making mistakes and learning something new along the way. By graduation, you’ll have had the opportunity to build a portfolio of work that includes several completed games and/or applications.
What to Expect Your First Year

You’ll hit the ground running, learning core theory in Introduction to Programming and immediately putting it into practice. In Object Oriented Programming, you'll build upon and expand the programming theory learned.

You’ll take Intro to Game Development, a course that identifies the characteristics of the diverse game genres and the career paths within them. Here, you’ll learn the differences between game art, game design, and game programming, and you’ll explore all aspects of creating a video game. You’ll learn what makes programming objects and effects within the game so appealing. You may also discover that you want to create characters or design virtual worlds in games. You’ll have the opportunity to look at all roles in the game-making process and confirm your focus area during year two of the program.

What to Expect Your Last Year

During your senior year, you’ll take part in a capstone course. But this is not your average senior project—the creative power is yours. Capstone projects are pitched and led by students. Perhaps you have your eye on a leadership role, or a role as a valuable member of the production team. You’ll work not only with peers in your program, but also with students throughout the college.

Industry-veteran faculty members are there to supervise the process, but you and your fellow students are the producers and bosses. You’ll be empowered to make your own creative decisions and see them through to the finished game. This immersive, experiential approach requires professional-level work and commitment, and it prepares you to launch successfully into a career in the game or software fields.

BA vs. BS: What’s the Difference?

Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs feature a flexible curriculum that allows for exploration and the ability to tailor elective coursework beyond your major. The Programming Bachelor of Science (BS) program features more focused coursework in Science and Mathematics. The additional courses provide recommended skills for those interested in software engineering careers or graduate study.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-World Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

Columbia prides itself on giving you real-world opportunities while you’re in school. The lineup differs from year to year, but in the past, students have tested their skills, networked with professionals, and shown off their work at events like:

  • The Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco—the world's largest professionals-only game industry event.
  • The Chicago Toy and Game Fair—Indie Team Game Studio students are required to show there each year.
  • SXSW in Austin—compete in events like a Music Hackathon, where participants develop a prototype for a music app in just 24 hours.
  • Industry Night—the Interactive Arts and Media Department’s annual event to showcase graduating seniors’ work to industry professionals from across the country.
What are my internship options?

Interning is the best way to get real-world industry experience. Our students have interned at places like Bethesda Softworks, Braintree, NetherRealm Studios, High Voltage Software, and WMS Industries.

See the Career Center website for information on internships.


Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

Looking for an event near you?

If you can’t make it to campus, don’t worry! We have a full schedule of events all across the U.S. and around the world.