Why college esports degrees are on the rise

Esports University of California, Irvine

For most people, competitive gaming is all about entertainment or even a way to enjoy some esports betting. But a growing number of young people are getting serious about esports. As a result, there has been a massive increase in the number of colleges who are offering esports degrees.

It’s a story that has been picked up by many mainstream media sources. Recently we have seen news outlets like CBS, Fox News and the New York Post reporting on the rise of esports degrees in countries like the USA and the UK. In addition to this, many schools in Singapore and China are starting to provide courses in competitive gaming.

ESPORTS DEGREES IN THE UK AND THE USA

The University of Staffordshire was one of the first higher education establishments to offer an esports degree. This looked to help young people get the skills necessary to join the booming esports industry. Students can enrol in a BA or an MA in esports and learn everything from esports marketing to gaming management.

But it’s a phenomenon that has also reached the US with Shenandoah University, Becker College and Ohio State University offering similar degrees. Plus over 100 US high schools have introduced dedicated esports programs that are similar to traditional sports programs.

THE GROWTH OF ESPORTS SCHOLARSHIPS

Esports scholarships have recently been granted to top players at institutions like the University of California, Irvine. These varsity programs aim to boost enrolment numbers and it seems that esports is now being featured alongside sports like football and basketball.

What’s interesting is the way that many of these degree courses aim to go beyond the mechanics of just gaming. With the esports industry thought to be worth around $1 billion in 2019, there are plenty of positions opening up for young people with a good understanding of how competitive gaming operates.

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As a result, places like Staffordshire University will run specialist modules to help students understand things like how to organize esports tournaments. Becker College in the US recently launched a Bachelor of Science degree in esports management. Whereas Ohio State University has an undergraduate major that aims to investigate the application of video games to health and medicine.

ALL ABOUT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGIATE ESPORTS

However, it’s important to note that many of these universities also offer structured gaming tournaments. Shenandoah University is just one of many colleges that now compete in the National Association of Collegiate Esports. This features over 170 member schools, over 5000 student participants, and it has already awarded over $16 million in esports scholarships and aid.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports was only founded in July 2016, but it now features tournaments for many of the biggest esports. Here’s a full list of the titles featured in the organization’s tournaments:

  • League of Legends
  • Overwatch
  • CSGO
  • Rainbow Six: Siege
  • SMITE
  • Paladins
  • Hearthstone
  • Rocket League
  • Fortnite
  • Super Smash Bros
  • FIFA
  • NBA2K
  • Madden
  • Apex Legends
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Image courtesy of UCI Esports

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