50 World Class College eSports Programs [For eSports Careers]
If you’re looking for colleges to attend that have killer eSports programs, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the 50 best college eSports programs in existence.
You already know, with eSports exploding in popularity, there is no shortage of colleges with eSports programs and clubs.
But we decided to separate the great from the garbage and give you the absolute cream of the crop.
Whether you’re a serious competitor, a content creator looking to launch a career in eSports, or just play games as a hobby, these universities have what you need to take your game to the next level.
Ann Arbor eSports
Arbor eSports at the University of Michigan is one of the best college eSports programs in the country.
Their goal is to satisfy the needs of the Ann Arbor eSports community through all kinds of awesome events like LAN events, giveaways, eSports viewing parties, and tournaments for players of all skill levels.
Arbor eSports even hosts guest speakers from leaders in the eSports industry from time-to-time!
You can catch Ann Arbor eSports on Facebook.
UNC Chapel Hill eSports
The eSports program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supports one of the largest selections of games of any program on our list.
They frequently host viewing parties for eSports events like The Rainbow Six Siege ESL Pro League Final and have even organized a 12-hour charity stream with Extra Life, an organization that unites the gaming community to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
If you want to be a part of one of the most fun and caring college eSports organizations on the planet, UNC-Chapel Hill is definitely for you!
Arizona State University eSports is a force to be reckoned with in competitive gaming.
They won the TESPA Heroes of the Dorm tournament in 2016, earning a prize pool of $375,000 in tuition for their players.
What makes them even more impressive, though, is that while they have some severe sluggers on their competitive teams, players of all skill levels are more than welcome to join in on the fun.
Ohio State eSports
Where do I even start with the eSports program at Ohio State University?
They are building out the "most comprehensive eSports program ever.
Their goal is to open doors for students to enter careers in the eSports industry and while they haven’t decided on specific areas of study yet, they may include things like eSports management, programming, game design, art, production, the business of games, and even health and rehabilitation.
If this wasn’t awesome enough, they built out a state-of-the-art eSports arena with 80 gaming PCs where their teams will compete and practice.
Check out Ohio State eSports on Twitter.
USC eSports (eSports Union
The eSports Union at USC is one of the newest contenders in the college eSports scene.
Launched in November of 2018, they currently support a League of Legends team, with plans to add more varsity teams in the coming years.
What’s most impressive to me about the program is how they were able to bootstrap the whole thing on a tiny budget and a dream.
They’re new, but they already have a promising future (Peter Zhang, head coach, was formerly the head coach of UC Irvine, and even served as the head coach of Team Liquid).
Check them out USC eSports on Twitter.
Texas A & M eSports
Texas A&M is one of the best colleges in the country, so it’s no surprise their eSports Program is too.
With teams competing in nine different games including Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Rocket League, there’s something for everyone at Texas A&M.
Recently, they teamed up with some high profile companies like Mtn. Dew and IBuyPower to put on an event called “The eSports Experience.”
The event was a day of tournaments and a panel with gaming industry experts; the goal of which was to build a local eSports community and highlight career opportunities in eSports.
It's obvious Texas A&M cares about its eSports members and their futures.
You can see TAMU eSports on Twitch right here.
UCI eSports at the University of California, Irvine
UCI was the first public university to host an official college eSports program and is still one of the best.
While some of the college eSports programs in this list are just getting off the ground, members of the eSports program at UCI have been busy dominating and winning championships in multiple titles for a long time.
In July of 2018, UCI won the College League of Legends Championship, and their Overwatch team are the defending champions of the California Cup Collegiate Clash.
Their program is built on the pillars of competition, academics & research, community, entertainment, and careers.
Cal eSports at the University of California, Berkeley.
If UC-Berkeley wasn’t already impressive enough, their Cal eSports Program is one of the best out there.
Their program is about more than eSports and competition; they put a significant emphasis on community, lifelong learning, wellness, and social good as well.
Berkeley even has a "Women in Gaming" Initiative designed to make gaming more inclusive for women, encouraging them to pursue their dreams of careers in eSports.
To top it off, their gaming center boasts 54 top-of-the-line gaming stations sponsored by NVIDIA.
Members of Cal eSports at Berkeley are sure to leave the program not only as better gamers but better people overall.
Check out Cal eSports on Facebook.
Washington eSports at the University of Washington
The University of Washington is host to some fantastic eSports players and teams.
Some of their Overwatch players were even recently invited to Dreamhack Atlanta to compete for a $50,000 prize pool. The team actually won the entire event which is truly phenomenal!
Their PUBG team also recently competed in the CBA finals with the top 17 Collegiate PUBG teams.
They’ve been busy adding an eSports arena to the HUB (Husky Union Building) that will have 40 high-end gaming computers and support both casual and competitive gamers.
Illinois Tech eSports
Illinois Tech eSports is one of the oldest and well-established eSports programs in the country.
Take one look at the website for this group, and it’s easy to tell they aren’t messing around.
The group hosts some seriously awesome events for its members like the “Gaming Olympics,” an event which is designed to find out exactly who deserves the title of “the best gamer on campus.”
The organization also does a fantastic job involving students with talents in other areas like planning and hosting, content creation and publication, and management.
VESPA (Virginia eSports Association) at Virginia Tech University
VESPA at Virginia Tech University hosts all kinds of different events for both casual and hardcore gamers including giveaways and tournaments.
They currently have official teams in League of Legends, CS: GO, and Overwatch.
With over 200 members, this is one of the largest eSports communities on our list.
If you’re looking for a college with a great supportive community, whether you are casual or competitive, VESPA has got you covered!
University of Utah eSports
The University of Utah is the first Power Five school to offer varsity eSports teams.
They have varsity teams for League of Legends, Overwatch, HearthStone, and Rocket League and support their teams with sports psychologists, cognitive and behavioral trainers, and nutrition & wellness coaches.
As if all that weren’t enough, players on the varsity teams each receive a $1,000 per year scholarship!
If all that wasn't great enough on its own, the club organization at University of Utah has over 600 members and hosts all kinds of great events for specific groups of people like those who are new to a game, women-only events and more.
The school even runs an annual competition for all the Universities in the state!
The University of Utah knows how to treat their players!
UofR eSports at the University of Rochester
ESports at the University of Rochester makes the list because of how dynamic their program is.
Not only do they compete in intercollegiate events and tournaments; they also have plenty of support for casual players and even speedrunning(yes!).
UofR eSports has already attracted over 100 members to the club and is showing no signs of slowing down.
You can keep up with UofR eSports on Facebook.
UTK eSports at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Starting as a small League of Legends club way back when the game first released, UTK eSports has evolved into something much more.
Over the past few years, they have become an official TESPA participant and put up some impressive finishes. They were semifinalists in Dota 2, locked down a top 16 finish in Heroes of the Storm, and a top 4 placement in Smite.
UTK eSports also founded the Collegiate Battlegrounds Association, the first of its kind for PUBG.
Watch out for these guys, they’ve been crushing it so far, and what they’ve already accomplished is nothing short of extraordinary.
Follow UTK eSports on Twitch.
Case Western Reserve eSports
Case Western Reserve University is home to one of the best college eSports clubs in the country.
They hold frequent tournaments across multiple games like League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League. CWRU eSports has competitive teams for 11 different games(which is the most I’ve seen).
Case Western eSports also hosts other awesome eSports events fans like 3 am viewing parties for the League of Legends Worlds Finals.
You can find CWRU eSports on Facebook.
GSU eSports at Georgia State University
Georgia State University eSports makes the list because they go beyond the players and competition and include students in almost every aspect of eSports.
Students who aren’t competitive players can participate in really fresh and unique ways like broadcasting, production, and marketing of eSports tournaments, coaching, student management, and game development.
The Georgia eSports League even plans to provide scholarships to students who win statewide events in the future!
Gamecock eSports at the University of South Carolina
Gamecock eSports(what an awesome name!) looks like one of the most fun college eSports clubs where you could be a member.
The goal of the group is to support all forms of gaming from mobile games, console games, and even Tamagotchi.
They have competitive eSports teams in Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, PUBG, Fortnite, Heroes of the Storm, and Rainbow Six Siege.
Gamecock even hosts tournaments with big cash prizes! I’m a big fan of Gamecock, I mean check out that logo, it’s just badass.
Utah State eSports Club
Utah State University is home to one of the best college eSports clubs you will find.
The goal of the club is to give gamers on their campus a place to call home and to support the medium of eSports through competition and community.
They currently have a player base for League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Tekken 7, Overwatch, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros, and Hearthstone.
USU eSports shares all kinds of excellent content and articles on their Facebook page and host viewing parties for eSports events.
Northeastern University eSports
What started as a small competitive Overwatch club at Northeastern University has become something so much more.
These guys rip!
NEU eSports completely dominates the collegiate Rocket League scene having won a national championship in the past and finished in the top 8-12 this year!
They are no slouches in other games either, with their Overwatch team recently taking first place at Boston University’s “Fall Brawl.”
Their Overwatch team has continued to excel, winning two other tournaments since then; the Boston Uprising Collegiate Cup and the Mohegan Sun Invitational.
If that wasn't excellent enough, their student club (CSI) has over 300 members competing on over 10 titles including CS:GO, Rocket League, Overwatch, Fortnite, LOL, and more.
Kent State eSports
Kent State University is one of the best choices for students who want to go to a college with a killer eSports program.
The university currently supports teams in Overwatch, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Rocket League, and CS: GO.
The organization was described by one of its members as “a great community of players that love hanging out… and they’re awesome players”.
To top all that off, Kent eSports is a member of a bunch of different official eSports organizations including NACE and TESPA.
8 Bit eSports at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
8 Bit eSports at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is the premier college eSports organization at UNLV.
Not only do they have killer competitive teams, but they go the extra mile and host all kinds of other events like viewing parties and social events.
They even recently held a “Spook Night” 24-hour stream on twitch on October 13th where they played a variety of horror games for 24 hours straight!
8-Bit is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign for LAN Vegas, a grassroots eSports Convention which aims to celebrate eSports culture.
Boise State eSports
Boise State University’s eSports program is hard to beat.
They offer officially sanctioned varsity teams for graduate and undergraduate students and even multiple teams in the same discipline so that more students can play competitively.
The directors of the program at Boise State are the most dedicated of any on this list.
Dr. Chris Haskell and Dr. Brett Shelton(the program heads) literally wrote the book on eSports. The book, “College eSports: What You Need to Know” is a must-read for anybody planning to enter the college eSports space, it’s seriously fantastic stuff.
Check them out on Twitch, Twitter. You can even hook them up with Twitch Prime if you like the stream! (they deserve it trust me).
RedHawk eSports University of Miami (Ohio)
Miami University(in Ohio) is already known for their AIMS program, one of the best Interactive Media Studies programs at any college in the country.
Launched in 2016, RedHawk eSports looks to expand the scope of the AIMS program into the eSports arena.
RedHawks currently compete in Hearthstone, Overwatch, and League of Legends.
What impresses me about this program, though, is their annual eSports summer camp.
At the camp, students who are interested in eSports stay for a week competing in nightly tournaments as well as learning about potential career paths in eSports, the history and culture of eSports, and more
WLU eSports at Washington and Lee University
WLU eSports was founded in 2017 at Washington and Lee University and are already partners with TESPA.
The college eSports organization has grown incredibly with over 100 student participants in seven competitive divisions.
The coolest thing about this program is that they even have their own “eSports House,” a dedicated place that eSports athletes can call home.
The house has 17 residents and features some gaming equipment students can use as well as space for practice and team competitions.
Can I move in with you guys?
GCU eSports at Grand Canyon University
Two thousand eighteen has been a big year foreSports at Grand Canyon University.
They hit a significant milestone, reaching over 500 student members (the most in this list) making them the second largest club on campus.
2018 also brings about the opening of their new eSports arena with 36 top-of-the-line gaming PCs as well as consoles for both casual and competitive play.
If that weren’t enough, GCU eSports’ Rocket League and Overwatch teams recently put up some seriously impressive finishes at major tournaments, coming in top 20 and 9th respectively.
SNHU eSports at Southern New Hampshire University
SNHU eSports is a newcomer to the college eSports scene, having just launched this fall.
The program is the first college eSports program in New Hampshire and one of only a handful in New England.
The college is going the extra mile, though, to support and incubate the organization. Southern New Hampshire University treats eSports as a varsity sport and will even offer $3,000 scholarships for its players starting next fall.
Timothy Fowler is the man with the plan at SNHU. Timothy has an inspiring vision for where he wants to take the organization and what he wants it to become, and I’d say he and the rest of the eSports group are well on their way to creating something extraordinary.
Zips eSports (University of Akron)
The University of Akron takes its eSports seriously.
The college not only offers official varsity teams, but they also are host to both club and recreational level eSports programs as well.
The University has THREE different state-of-the-art eSports facilities on campus; one dedicated to varsity teams, one that serves as a hybrid for club, varsity, and recreational teams, and another which is mostly for recreational gaming.
This is a college that knows how to take care of its players.
It blows my mind what they’ve accomplished in such a short time, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Find them today on Twitter.
Emerson eSports makes the list because they offer something utterly unique in the college eSports space.
Emerson college is the first American university to offer a pre-college program for high school students, the goal of which is to arm them with knowledge and insight to prepare for the future growth of the industry.
It’s incredible when a college eSports program has such a heavy focus on all parts of the eSports industry.
Emerson takes great care to show students who have a passion for gaming can land a job doing what they love.
Champlain College eSports
Champlain College eSports is all about the community.
The group knows how to celebrate the good that gaming can do for its members and those around them.
They take part in Extra Life(an event organized to host 24-hour Twitch streams for charity) every year and host bi-weekly LAN events on their campus.
This looks like one of the most fun college eSports groups you could join.
In addition to all that, Champlain College also supports official varsity eSports teams in League of Legends, CS: GO, Overwatch, and Hearthstone.
College eSports at Marietta college is just getting off the ground, but have already shown they have big plans for the future(they've already applied to be a member of NACE).
Their ultimate goal is adding eSports as an official varsity sport and growing their teams to be a competitive presence on a national level.
They are already throwing their hat into the ring, competing in sanctioned events with other college eSports programs on this list like Akron University and Case Western.
They even secured a semifinalist finish in one tournament!
I can’t wait to see what this group does in the coming years!
Stay up-to-date with Marietta eSports on Facebook.
Full Sail Armada
Full Sail University is already well-known as one of the best colleges for anybody who wants to pursue a career in anything gaming related, so it’s no surprise their eSports program is tier 1.
The university recently broke ground on an 11,200 sq ft. eSports arena known as “The Fortress.”
The Arena will feature state-of-the-art equipment and room for over 500 fans!
Armada allows for any interested students to join the group, making the program very accessible for everyone.
To top it off, they also host tons of excellent extra-curricular activities like viewing parties and tournaments(can I join?).
Colorado College eSports
Like most college eSports programs, Colorado College eSports is a relatively new organization in its second year.
The program started in the 2017-2018 school year and have teams competing in League of Legends and Overwatch.
What sets these guys apart though, is their Twitch stream.
Colorado College streams insightful commentary on Overwatch and LoL games every week, and you can tell these guys know what they’re talking about.
It’s a lot of fun to hang out and watch a few games when these guys are streaming, and they have some precious advice that can help you out!
Maryville College is home to one of the most fierce, dominating teams of absolute League of Legends monsters the world has ever seen.
The team won the championship at Dreamhack Atlanta in 2016, finishing the season undefeated with a 40-0 record (no, that’s not a typo).
The very next year, Maryville claimed its second Collegiate League of Legends title.
As you can imagine, this has all been a massive boost to the college eSports program at Maryville, and it’s propelled them to open new teams in other games.
The college even offers a $2000 participation award for members of the eSports organization.
When they aren't busy dream crushing LoL teams, you can find Maryville eSports on Twitter.
Ashland University eSports
Ashland University eSports goes further than almost any college to take care of their players and members, earning their spot on this list.
The university offers annual eSports scholarships of $4000 and a state-of-the-art gaming center.
If that wasn’t enough, members also get hooked up with a backpack, jersey, jacket, keyboard, mouse, mousepad, and headset.
Ashland University's overall mission is to “Accent the individual,” placing great emphasis on helping every student reach their full potential, and their eSports program is no different.
SDSMT eSports (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology)
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology sets itself apart by offering an actual eSports certification program.
The program is designed to "cultivate professional attributes through the study and practice of eSports."
Students in the program learn not only things like computer programming, art and graphics, but also professional attributes like emotional intelligence, teaming, and communication.
The school also has varsity eSports teams for more competitive players and a general eSports club where all are welcome.
In addition to all this, the eSports club also participates in charity streams on Twitch to give back to the community.
DUES (Drury University eSports)
DUES or Drury University eSports has some seriously amazing things to offer its members.
They frequently host all kinds of cool events like holiday events, LAN events, and are even planning a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament release day(can I come guys?).
The program also seeks to challenge the stereotype that the gaming community is prejudiced.
At Drury University, students of all races, religions, ethnicities, identities, and sexual orientations are encouraged to join!
Check out DUES on Facebook.
SC eSports (Southwestern College)
SC eSports at Southwestern College is shaping up to be a serious competitor in the college eSports circuits.
The program has some pretty strict guideline on those who can enter like required amounts of practice and standards for top-level competition.
If you've got what it takes, though, the rewards justify the means.
Students who participate can be eligible for a grant of $5000 which is renewable annually.
If you think you have what it takes, to compete on one of their competitive teams, Southwestern College is a good choice.
Follow them today on Twitter.
TXWES eSports (Texas Wesleyan University)
Texas Wesleyan University’s college eSports program is hard to beat.
What makes this organization so cool is how many opportunities for involvement there are for students with all kinds of different skill sets.
Non-gaming students interested in helping with the program can participate in the production of their broadcasts, content creation, and content hosting.
Texas Wesleyan even offers up to 12 $2000 scholarships for players based on performance and game history.
Their teams put up results too, with their FIFA team recently advancing to a championship game, and Hearthstone playing in their first playoff!
You can find TXWES eSports on Twitter.
Fighting Scots eSports (Edinboro University)
Edinboro University is an acclaimed university with high national rankings in the areas of game design, animation, and computer science.
Their college eSports program hasn’t even officially launched yet, but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like they will be a serious contender right from the start.
The Fighting Scots will participate in the competition with some of the top gamers in the world in Fortnite, League of Legends, CS: GO, and Hearthstone.
Count me as a fan; I’m sure I’ll be cheering this team on for many years to come.
HU Storm (Harrisburg University)
Harrisburg University is a true trailblazer in the booming esports industry.
They are another of the colleges whose esports program transcends competition, understanding that there are tons of career opportunities in the industry outside of competitive play.
Something else that impresses me with them is the lengths they go to in showcasing their players.
Their website makes the claim that they are “bigger, bolder, and more alive than any varsity esports team you’ve seen before,” and I have to say, I agree.
They get my vote for best logo and mascot, just excellent all around!
Shenandoah University is the first college in the country to offer an actual eSport major.
No, I didn't say ESports team or eSports club, but a real major in eSports.
Students enrolling in the program can choose to concentrate their studies in eSports management, media, and communication, or coaching.
This has to be one of the most progressive programs any of the colleges on this list do to aid in the advancement of eSports.
If you are thinking long-term about the possibility of a career in eSports, the program at Shenandoah university should be a priority.
Make sure to stay up to date with Shenandoah University on Twitter.
Fighting Bees eSports (St. Ambrose University)
Fighting Bees eSports at St. Ambrose University is another of the teams just getting their start but are already crushing it.
They opened the 2018 season making a deep run at the HUE Fest Overwatch tournament which featured 16 teams from across the country.
Semifinalists in their first tournament? Sounds like a team I would want to be involved with!
The university recently finished building an esports arena for the team to call home, and it looks like a place I would love to call home.
Here's some pictures of the new eSports arena:
You can catch the Fighting Bees on Twitter.
NCC eSports (North Central College)
The eSports program at North Central College is all about building a community around technology and competition.
The club was officially recognized by the college in Fall of 2017 and has already grown to over 100 members.
They have a seriously killer CS: GO team whose recent victory over Kentucky Western University secured them the 1st place ranking in the entire conference.
NCC also has teams competing in Overwatch, PUBG, and League of Legends.
Head over to Twitter and give them a follow.
Austin College eSports
Austin College eSports is a new contender in the college eSports arena.
The program just launched this year, and the university has a unique approach to how its students will interact and grow within the program.
Austin College takes a learning-through-experience approach to student growth.
Through roles in leadership, content production, and content creation, students will be prepared for careers as writers, video editors, analysts, coaches, broadcasters, and more.
Overall, Austin College looks like the perfect fit for anyone who is serious about pursuing a career in the eSports space.
Dragons eSports (Cogswell Polytechnical College)
Whether you are a serious competitive gamer, enjoy playing games for fun, or someone with a passion for the gaming industry, Cogswell College has got the tools you need to launch a successful career.
Cogswell is one of the best schools in the country for game design, and their eSports program is nothing short of extraordinary.
The school goes above and beyond, awarding scholarships of up to $4000 to qualified players on its Overwatch and League of Legends teams.
Cogswell also has the unique position of being located in Silicon Valley, near some of the largest gaming companies like Blizzard, Activision, and Twitch.
ECPI Rams eSports
ECPI is a college that is serious about its eSports program and taking care of their athletes.
The school offers insane scholarships of up to $5000 for players and provides a high-end arena for practice and competition.
If you listen to the players at ECPI talk about their experience with the program, it's easy to tell how much they love being a part of it.
It gives me goosebumps seeing the amount of passion the players have for the program and their school.
Keep it up Rams; you’ve made a fan out of me.
Stephens College Stars eSports
Stephen’s College is the only all-women’s university with a varsity eSports team in the country.
Even though all-women's teams aren’t necessarily a new thing in eSports, it’s cool to see a school like this throwing their hat in the ring and competing at the highest level.
It’s no surprise that the school would make a push into eSports in its early days.
Stephen's College has a long-standing reputation of being early adopters and breaking down barriers in areas that have historically been overwhelmingly male.
Keep up with Stephens College eSports on Twitter.
Clarke Pride eSports
Get ready, Clarke University is launching its eSports program spring 2018!
The program, headed by coaches Joshua Moris, and Mike Dempwolf, will compete in the League of Legends North American League North Division.
The school will be offering grants for qualifying new students who participate in the program which is awesome for players and should go a long way to attract some talent to the team.
You can check out Clarke eSports on Twitter.
Culver Stockton College eSports
Culver-Stockton college is one of the best places to get involved in college eSports.
The school currently offers scholarships for players of League of Legends, Overwatch, Starcraft 2, and Rocket League.
The organization recently held the first Wildcat eSports invitational, a League of Legends tournament for high school students.
It’sawesome to see an eSports group like this doing something for the younger generation, bringing in new talent to not only its program but the eSports landscape as a whole.
Follow Wildcat eSports in Twitter.
Warrior eSports at Indiana Tech
Warrior eSports at Indiana tech is seriously raising the bar for college gaming.
The school is one of the founding members of NACE, one of the largest collegiate eSports organizations in the world.
Warriors enjoy a state-of-the-art gaming facility in which to practice and compete with 20 state-of-the-art battle stations, DXRacer chairs, and Razer peripherals.
A primary goal of the organization is to prepare its members for professional success once they graduate.