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Get A Job Playing Video Games: The Rise of Esports Degrees

“That’s it Ian, pause the game and come down for dinner!”

How many times did we hear those words as kids, much to our frustration? Little did our long-suffering parents know that the countless hours spent glued to the TVscreen were actually laying the foundations for a potential professional esports career.

With universities now offering dedicated degrees in competitive video gaming, those teenage “No Scope” clutches on Call of Duty and epic comebacks on Street Fighter could finally start paying off.

“But Mom, I Told You I Was Training!”

Both the US and UK has firmly jumped on the esports bandwagon, with a growing number of colleges/universities incorporating the billion-dollar industry into their course offerings. From specialised esports management degrees to modules covering areas like broadcasting and event production, the traditional stigma surrounding video game obsession is slowly being shattered.

What started as casual matches between friends has exploded into a global phenomenon, with esports boasting a projected audience of 646 million viewers in 2023. And where there are spectators, there is money to be made – esports revenues reached a whopping $1.14 billion in 2022 across media rights, sponsorship, merchandise and more.

With such a meteoric rise, it’s no surprise that universities want a piece of the action. After all, every burgeoning industry needs a pipeline of talent to sustain its growth.

From Mouse to Mouth: Roles in Esports

While the dream for many may be making it as a professional player, the reality is that support roles make up the backbone of the esports workforce. Just like traditional sports, you need coaches, managers, production crews, marketers, and many more behind-the-scenes roles.

As idealo’s gaming starter guide outlines, even building your own gaming PC can teach valuable technical and problem-solving skills. No wonder esports degrees cover such a broad range of disciplines beyond just gaming itself.

At the University of Staffordshire UK, students on the esports management course delve into areas like event planning, business strategy, marketing and even the legal frameworks governing the industry. They even have the option of joining the university’s esports societies to apply their learnings first-hand.

Shenandoah University takes it one step further, offering dedicated tracks for esports management, media & communication, and performance studies – creating a full pipeline for all career paths in the field.

Universities Offering Esports Courses in the UK

University of Chichester

Offers a range of esports courses with detailed entry requirements for both British and international students​​.

Sheffield Hallam University

Similar course offerings with specific entry requirements and costs listed​​.

Birmingham City University

Provides esports courses with details on course duration, costs, and entry requirements​​.

University of Leicester, University of York, University of Roehampton, Oxford University, Leeds United, Barnsley College, and West Suffolk College

These institutions offer various levels of engagement with esports, from full degree programs to specific modules and scholarships​​.

Universities Offering Esports Courses in the USA and Canada

Becker College, Massachusetts

Offers a BS in Esports Management with a comprehensive program including courses on game technology, planning strategy, business models, and an esports capstone project​​.

Shenandoah University, Virginia

Provides a BS in Esports with multiple tracks including management, media and communication, and performance studies. It also offers minors and certificates in these areas​​.

University of California, Irvine

Offers a Business Administration degree with an Esports Management Specialized Studies Certificate. The program includes courses on the business and communication aspects of esports and is known for its robust esports teams​​.

George Mason University, Virginia

Provides a minor focusing on game design and sports management, allowing students to integrate these with their primary degrees​​.

University of Texas at Arlington

Offers specialised courses and programs related to esports management and development​​.

Keuka College, New York

Offers a Minor in Esports Management that complements various BS degrees, providing hands-on experience and involvement in esports operations and events​​.

Lambton College, Ontario, Canada

A Winning Strategy

Of course, having a degree specifically in esports isn’t necessarily a must. Many roles, like marketing, PR, and broadcasting, can be approached from other academic backgrounds.

But there’s no denying the advantages a specialised education can provide in standing out in a competitive job market. An esports degree signals a true passion for and understanding of the unique landscape of competitive gaming.

As for the prospective students themselves, they finally have an iron-clad response to the classic “When are you going to get a proper job?” jibe from relatives. The skills and knowledge gained through an esports program make securing a viable career in this booming industry an increasingly achievable reality.

Who knows, we might even see some of those teenage gaming prodigies go on to become coaches and analysts for the next generation of esports champions. Now there’s a comeback story to tell the grandkids.

So dust off those gamepads, fire up your favourite title, and start practising – your overdue vindication may just be a few years of higher education away.

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