UHV gaming program draws first national ranking

A national animation and game design careers website recently selected the University of Houston-Victoria as having one of the top digital gaming programs in the region and U.S.

Animation Career Review recently put out its 2014 ranking of the Top 75 Schools for Game Design/Development. UHV landed at No. 6 among schools in the Southwest region and No. 45 overall.

Jeffrey Di Leo

“The ranking is welcome news and an amazing achievement,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “To be ranked No. 6 in the Southwest and No. 45 in the nation is a testament to the quality of our faculty and programs. Faculty members have done a great job establishing excellence in a short amount of time.”

In 2007, UHV began a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a digital gaming and simulation concentration. The program is designed for students who want to advance their knowledge of modern game design and work with a variety of professionals – from artists to writers to programmers – to bring the vision for an interactive game or media product to life.

UHV will begin offering a Master of Science in computer science this fall. The two-year program – with an optional thesis – is designed to prepare students for competitive jobs or further study in a doctoral program.

Alireza Tavakkoli

Alireza Tavakkoli, director of the UHV digital gaming and simulation program, was delighted to see the university’s program receive recognition. He thanked Di Leo and Li Chao, computer science and mathematics professor and chair of the School of Arts & Sciences Science, Technology and Mathematics Division, for their leadership and support of gaming education.

“Drs. Di Leo and Chao, as well as the hard work of my colleagues, are to credit for enabling us to have robust course offerings, partnerships and a top-notch visualization and animation facility, all of which play major roles in this ranking,” Tavakkoli said.

Animation Career Review is a source of information for aspiring animation and game design professionals. The company considered hundreds of schools in the U.S. that offered programs geared toward animation or game design.

The criteria used in the ranking included academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program and faculty, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, and geographic location. The company distributed surveys to schools in the fall to help with information gathering and the evaluation process.

A Computation & Advanced Visualization Engineering, or CAVE, lab opened in December on the second floor of UHV University West for use by students, faculty and local industry leaders. The lab has 24 high-speed motion capture cameras capable of shooting up to 2,000 frames a second. The cameras can be used for real-time motion capture – where real-world movements of a person wearing a special suit are captured.

“I have little doubt that with our new Master of Science in computer science and our CAVE lab, we will rocket up the rankings in the future,” Tavakkoli said.

To see the complete top-75 rankings, visit To see the list of top schools in the Southwest, visit

For more information about the gaming programs at UHV, contact Tavakkoli at or 361-570-4204.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro