Collegiate Game Design/Dev/Business Programs - What's out there? Who's been there?

I know that when you speak in terms of decades, this is a very new thing, but I see several schools offering associates and full four year bachelor programs in game design.

I was curious who has done such programs, what programs are out there, and what is rising to the top or sinking to the bottom?

And what are you supposed to learn? And does it open doors? Are there post-grad programs as well?

I can only speak to where I teach, but we’ve been getting really good placement for our Design, Art, Programming, and Business students after they have competed our 4-year degree. We put a lot of work into the structure of our program. You can check out what we offer here: http://gamestudio.champlain.edu/

That site hasn’t been updated with our latest work, but you can see how well our senior teams did at a spring regional student game competition here:
http://www.champlain.edu/centers-of-excellence/game-studio/gamefest-2013/gamefest-2013-gallery#slide=0
(I Executive Produced Magnosphere in the Fall Semester and Sagittarii Run in the Spring Semester.)

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have either here or through PM.

EDIT: Greg beat me to it; he’s actually in the program here at Champlain. But here are my thoughts anyhow:

I’m biased, but Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont has an excellent Game Development program, with degree programs in design, art & animation, and programming, along with business degrees in the management of creative media for those wanting to be producers. Our track record is very good, in terms of placement and reputation in the industry. Our students get a full four year BS degree; we’re not a tech school or game academy or what-not, but a small New England private college that dates back to 1878 (though admittedly our game program then was probably more like whist and cribbage).

There are many, many programs now, at full four-year colleges, two-year schools, and more technically focused places. At Champlain, we focus on getting students into production environments using real-world skillsets long before they graduate. There are probably other schools that are doing similar things, and there are definitely other places that are merely cramming a bunch of technical courses into people and pushing them out the door.

How good are these programs, including ours? Hard to say. We like to think we give our graduates a solid grounding that they can parlay into a career in game development, or other fields if they choose. That’s one benefit of a solid B.S. degree. Our game programmers, for instance, are essentially beefed-up software engineers, with extra math and physics coursework to prepare them for the demanding tasks ahead of them in game development. If they choose to work elsewhere, they can easily do so. Game designers have a bit tougher path, of course–a degree in game design has somewhat less flexibility I think. Artists and animators tend to be somewhere in the middle. Our experience with employers in the industry has been good. We have a campus in Montreal, for instance, where many students spend part or all of their junior year. We’ve made good contacts with developers up there, and in the Boston area, though our graduates have gone to places as far afield as Austin and Redmond as well.

As to what you’re supposed to learn, I guess that depends on the program. At Champlain, we aim for our students to be able to step right into a production environment and be productive from the start; our coursework is built on production models and students are generally very comfortable with working at the pace and with the intensity and precision necessary for success in the industry.

I know this sounds sort of like a commercial, but it’s pretty accurate as far as I can tell! I’m actually not in the game program here, though I’ve been involved with it since its inception, and I do teach some courses occasionally. But our students are turning down a lot of pretty famous places to come here, so we’re doing something right it seems.