As a billion-dollar industry with explosive potential, esports is embraced by many top universities in the US. These departments have developed academic programmes for gamers and fans, complete with opportunities to compete, network, and eventually land a job. Universities with more robust programmes even offer scholarships and stipends to students.
Here’s where gaming gets serious for talented streamers; the outstanding ones earn good prize money through national and international tournaments today. It’s only a matter of time, then, until esports makes its way into universities around the world, too. Till then, check out offerings from these top US institutions according to streaming network Venn.
University of California Irvine
An esports education pioneer since 2015, UC Irvine boasts some of the top country’s top teams for League of Legends, Overwatch, and Super Smash Bros. Each player grows under the guidance of a full professional team, including a manager, trainer, and psychologist; it is this environment that nurtured the 2018 College League of Legends champions.
The university first offered scholarships to its League of Legends teams in 2016. Players here get a solid support system including coaching, internships, and career opportunities.
With varsity teams in CS:GO, Hearthstone, Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League and more, Miami U has raked in its fair share of accolades in this space. This includes winning the Overwatch Esports Collegiate Championship in 2021. It also offers the first D1 varsity esports programme in the US. You can pursue relevant courses in gaming, designing, and emerging technology to round out your employability skills beyond the gaming sphere.
Michigan State University
Known as digital athletes at MSU, esports players enjoy casual and competitive gaming across a wide array of classic and new games. There are even casual opportunities to play games like Halo, Magic the Gathering, and Pokemon. To widen your experience, you can take on broadcasting and leadership opportunities.
Located in Missouri, this university allows students to explore the field in Varsity and Community Club divisions. It has produced the three-time National Champion League of Legends team, as well as an Overwatch team ranked in the country’s top four. Only the best earn a spot on the varsity team, while others play in the friendlier casual club. Students can qualify for academic scholarships of up to US$2,000.
Boise State University
This Idaho university is known for hosting and participating in League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League and Valorant competitions in the National Association of Collegiate Esports. It also hosts a free two-week stay-at-home summer camp for highschoolers called EsportsU. Participants are introduced to academic and career pathways within the gaming industry, which is only beginning to shine in its potential.