7 Schools that offer eSports Programmes

Have you thought of translating your video game achievements into real life?
Written by Nelson Sng
Published on
What if you could pursue an eSports education?
What if you could pursue an eSports education?
Remember the old saying that playing video games will get you nowhere, and one will be better off spending their free time studying? Well, this isn’t the case any longer, as more education institutions around the world have started eSports programmes and even begun offering scholarships for students who excel in their specific gaming arenas.
Check out these seven places, great for avid gamers who are hoping to have a formal education in eSports.

1. University of California, Irvine (USA)

UCI students in the Student Center's Zot Zone
UCI students in the Student Center's Zot Zone
Back in March 2016, the University of California, Irvine (UCI) announced that it will become the first public university to launch a League of Legends eSports scholarship program, which will begin in fall 2016. Riot Games will be supporting the programme and funding a new PC cafe on campus. This cafe will be built in the model of Korean PC cafes and will offer a "premium League of Legends experience.” Other games will be available as well. Riot and UCI are hoping that through the PC Cafe, they’ll be able to rouse a greater interest in eSports among the students.

2. Robert Morris University (USA)

The first ever college in the United States to offer an eSports programme, Robert Morris University (RMU) is a non-profit private university based in Chicago. RMU offers hefty scholarships for students involved in competitive gaming, specifically in League of Legends. Their scholarship programme has been in place for almost two years, and will cover up to 50% of tuition, room and boarding costs. Students will have access to built-in facilities and professional coaching.

3. University of Pikeville (USA)

UPIKE eSports Team
UPIKE eSports Team
The University of Pikeville (UPIKE)is a private liberal arts university in Kentucky, which offers scholarships to students who excel in eSports. Similar to athletic scholarships, students eligible for the eSports scholarship will need to maintain a specific GPA, and participate in mandatory practice sessions. "It will be a regime a lot like athletics," said UPIKE's New Media director, Bruce Parsons. UPIKE has been proactive in its search for the best students, making trips to local high schools, playing practice matches with prospective students, and collecting information on their in-game ratings and toxicity reports. 

4. Columbia College (USA)

Columbia College has announced that they will be offering Esports scholarships in late 2016. Columbia College is one of the first colleges in the United States to offer scholarship money for eSports athletes. The idea for an Esports programme came to Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple, after a videogame challenge with his students in 2014. At the moment, they are in the process of hiring a coach for the eSports teams, who will be in charge of the selection of candidates. Columbia College is looking to improve their infrastructure. The college will be turning an old soccer locker room into a full-fledged gaming arena.

5. Garnes Vidaregaande Skule (Norway)

Garnes Vidaregaande Skule will be one of the first high schools to put eSports into their core curriculum. Students in this high school will need to study eSports for at least five hours a week. Slated to begin in August 2016, the main aim of this programme is to enhance the student’s ability to stay focused over a long period of time. Students enrolled in the course will be given rigs equipped with Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti video cards, to provide them with the best gaming experience.

6. Arlanda Gymnasiet School (Sweden)

In August 2015, the Arlanda Gymnasiet School in Sweden enrolled seven students to take part in their brand new eSports curriculum. "When the students graduate we want them to have received the best possibilities imaginable to support themselves doing eSports, but also to have an alternative if that doesn’t happen," said Principal Eriksson, "…applicants had to get into one of our national programs first, either a technical program, an aesthetical one, or a social science one with a focus on media.” The school hopes that its students will be able to enter and work in the eSports industry even if they may not have the necessary talent to be a professional player.

7. WME-IMG Academy (USA)

International Management Group
International Management Group
The final entry in our list is not exactly a school. The William Morris Endeavor - International Management Group (WME-IMG) is an entertainment and talent company based in the States. For nearly 40 years, the IMG Academy has provided a training home to athletes of all ages, including famous athletes such as Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova. On May 4th, WME-IMG announced that they would be providing training for eSports athletes as well.
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