Create the code that drives games, simulations, and other interactive experiences. At Columbia College Chicago, we teach programming as an artistic practice that combines theory and practical application to bring ideas to life. Programming is an art form that takes practice. That’s why you’ll start making games and applications your first year and build your confidence and skills throughout your time at Columbia. You’ll work in team environments to develop your collaboration skills and create a portfolio of games and applications that can help you land a job as a programmer in a variety of fields.
We offer a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Programming. You’ll take a number of scripting, programming, physical computing, and game development courses in both degrees, but Bachelor of Science students take additional mathematics courses. Within the BA or BS degree, choose from two concentrations: Application Programming and Game Programming.
In this program you’ll develop software for a variety of platforms. You’ll study different programming languages like C++ and take courses on advanced topics like artificial intelligence, physical computing, and database design. Bachelor of Science (BS) students take rigorous mathematics courses that prepare them for advanced computer science studies in graduate school, but both the BA and the BS prepare our graduates for work as commercial or independent software engineers.
Video games are complex creations, and programmers are the people who make all the pieces work together. As a Game Programming student, you’ll learn to develop games, simulations, and other game-like interactive experiences. Some students have even released the games they’ve created in class on the App Store.
You’ll learn programming languages applicable to games and software development. We work in game engines like Unity, so you’ll build game engine pieces in the same environments that gaming professionals use. During your senior year, you’ll work on a collaborative team to create an entire game from idea to product, giving you experience and portfolio pieces to use on the job market after graduation.
Columbia College Chicago offers both Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in Programming. Both degrees offer a challenging curriculum designed to prepare you for a number of post-graduate options.
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Programming gives students an overview of programming and a flexible curriculum that allows time to explore other interests and take electives outside the major. The Programming BA requires 51 credits within the major.
The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Programming has similar curriculum to the BA option but requires more coursework in science and mathematics. These additional courses prepare students for software engineering careers or graduate study in computer science. The Programming BS requires 70 credits within the major.
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 the programming theory you’ve already learned. If you’re an Application Programming student, you might look into courses like Fundamentals of Interaction or Computer Architecture. Or, you can take Intro to Game Development, a course that identifies the characteristics of the different game genres and the career paths in the gaming industry. 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.
During your senior year, you’ll take part in a capstone course. If you’re an Application Programming student, you’ll enroll in the Interactive Arts and Media Team course and join a dynamic interactive production team with students from the Interaction Design degree program. Game Programming majors enroll in our Game Studio capstone with other gaming majors and develop an entire game in the course of two semesters.
We offer two unique capstone experiences for our Application Programming and Game Programming students.
Interactive Arts and Media Team capstone
Game Studio capstone
You’ll get real-world opportunities to show your stuff while you’re in school. The opportunities differ from year to year, but in the past, students have tested their skills, networked with professionals, and shown off their work at events like
Kevin Bolander builds futuristic, large-form touchscreen displays for Coca-Cola and other leading companies.
Our faculty members are working professionals and experts in the field. They’re award-winning game designers, accomplished audio artists, and expert programmers. And they’re dedicated teachers, bringing their knowledge of groundbreaking theories and techniques into the classroom.