Update on the Higher Education Esports Academic Program Inventory – by Seth E. Jenny

Update on Our Higher Education Esports Academic Program Inventory

by Seth E. Jenny. Department of Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock, PA, USA

After two and a half years of cataloging and analysis, Dr. Joey Gawrysiak, Dr. Nicolas Besombes, and I published “Esports.edu: An Inventory & Analysis of Global Higher Education Esports Academic Programming & Curricula” in the International Journal of Esports. In this 47-page article we provide the first widespread global inventory and analysis of higher education academic programming and curricula.

We found that there are at least 74 different higher education institutions worldwide that offer 95 different esports degree, diploma, certificate, or minor programs. In descending order, the focus areas of these 95 programs included esports management/business-related (80%), esports broadcasting/communication-related (16%), esports coaching/performance-related (13%), esports game design/information technology-related (11%), general esports (3%), and esports gambling (1%). Study inclusion criteria included that the term “esport”, “e-sport”, “esports” or “e-sports” appearing in title of the “degree”, “diploma”, “certificate”, or “minor” program awarded by a higher education institution. Of note, programs solely focused on game design were excluded from study unless esports or its variation was included in the program title.

Likewise, an analysis of 404 individual esports-specific modules (i.e., known as “courses” in the United States) offered by 59 higher education institutions that deliver esports academic programs revealed that the top five most recurring modules focused on: esports business/management (22%), introduction/history of esports (13%), esports media production/communication (12%), esports event/venue management (11%), and esports coaching/performance (8%). Moreover, based on earlier work by Nico Besombes (2019), in Appendix A we offer figures of the esports’ ecosystem listing the vast expanse of esports-related professions in six different languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Within the paper, maps are also provided indicating the geographic location of each of the 95 higher education esports academic programs, as well as direct web links to each program’s website: esports master’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and diploma programs (Appendix B); esports certificate programs (Appendix C); and esports undergraduate minor programs (Appendix D). In addition, sample individual esports modules (i.e., courses) are provided in Appendix E.

Update Since Publication

While our paper was published on 13 September 2021, data collection ceased in March 2021. Therefore, I have come across 20 other higher education esports academic programs since then, including one master’s degree, two bachelor’s degrees, 11 technical degrees (i.e., diplomas), three certificates, and three undergraduate minor/concentration programs. Thus, the new total higher education esports academic programs we have found is 115. Below are more details regarding each newly found program:

Additional Found Esports Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Higher Education Institution Location Year Program Started Esports Degree Offered Esports Focus Area(s) Approx. Number of Esports-specific Modules
Miami University Oxford, OH, USA 2021 Master’s in Esports Management Management 8
https://miamioh.edu/online/programs/graduate/master-of-esports-management

https://miamioh.edu/cca/academics/departments/etbd/academics/majors/combined-esports/index.html

Thomas College Waterville, ME, USA 2021 B.S Esports & Gaming Administration Business 4
https://www.thomas.edu/esports-and-gaming-administration
University of Portsmouth Portsmouth, UK 2021 B.Sc. (Hons) Esports Coaching & Performance Performance 6
https://www.port.ac.uk/study/courses/bsc-hons-esports-coaching-and-performance

Additional Found Esports Technical Diploma Programs

Higher Education Institution Location (Language, if not English) Year Program Started Esports Diplomas Offered Esports Focus Area(s) Approx. Number of Esports-specific Modules
Fukuoka Design & Technology College (FCA) Fukuoka, Japan (Japanese) 2019 Management (4yrs)

Pro. Gamer (3yrs)

Event Staff (3yrs)

Mgt; Performance; Event Mgt; n/a
https://www.anime.ac.jp/team-e-sports/school/fca.html
Keyano College Fort McMurray, AB, Canada 2021 Business Administration Esports Management (2yrs) Business; Mgt 10
https://www.keyano.ca/en/programs-and-courses/esports-program.aspx
Kobe Koyo School of Music & Dance (KOYO) Kobe, Japan (Japanese) 2021 Pro. Gamer (3yrs)

Event Staff (3yrs)

Performance; Event Mgt n/a
https://www.anime.ac.jp/team-e-sports/school/koyo.html
Nagoya Design & Technology College (NCA) Nagoya, Japan (Japanese) 2019 ·Pro. Gamer (3yrs)

Event Staff (3yrs)

Performance; Event Mgt n/a
https://www.anime.ac.jp/team-e-sports/school/nca.html
Osaka & IT Technology College (OCA) Osaka, Japan

(Japanese)

n/a Management (4yrs)

Pro. Gamer (3yrs)

Event Staff (3yrs)

Mgt; Performance; Event Mgt; n/a
https://www.anime.ac.jp/team-e-sports/school/oca.html
Osaka Anime / Voice Actor & E-sports College (OAS) Osaka, Japan

(Japanese)

2020 Pro. Gamer (3yrs)

Pro. Gamer & Staff (3yrs)

Game Streamer (3yrs)

Performance; Mgt; Comm-unication n/a
https://www.anime.ac.jp/team-e-sports/school/oas.html
Sapporo Design & Technology College (SSA) Sapporo, Japan (Japanese) 2019 Management (4yrs)

Pro. Gamer (3yrs)

Mgt; Performance n/a
https://www.anime.ac.jp/team-e-sports/school/ssa.html
Sendai Design & Technology College (SCA) Sendai, Japan (Japanese) 2019 Management (4yrs)

Pro. Gamer (3yrs)

Mgt; Performance n/a
https://www.anime.ac.jp/team-e-sports/school/sca.html
Tokyo Anime Voice Actor & e-Sports College (TSA) Tokyo, Japan

(Japanese)

2016 Management (4yrs)

Super Pro. Gamer (3yrs)

Event Planning Mgt (3yrs)

Mgt; Performance; Event Mgt n/a
https://www.anime.ac.jp/team-e-sports/school/tsa.html
Tokyo Design Technology Center Vocational School (TECH.C.) Tokyo, Japan

(Japanese)

2019 Pro. Management (4yrs)

Pro. Gamer (3yrs)

Mgt; Performance n/a
https://www.anime.ac.jp/team-e-sports/school/tech.html
University of Paris/

University of Poitiers

Paris, France (French) 2022 Esports Manager

(1 year diploma)

Mgt; Health; Performance 4
https://odf.u-paris.fr/fr/offre-de-formation/diplome-d-universite-du-diu-1/sciences-humaines-et-sociales-SHS/diu-esports-manager-KRQ3RFME.html

Note. Mgt = management; Pro = professional; yrs = years. TSA was Japan’s first professional gamer vocational school opened in April 2016.

Additional Found Esports Certificate Programs

Higher Education Institution Location Year Certificate Started Certificate Level Esports Certificate Offered Esports Focus Area Approx. Number of Esports-specific Modules
Miami University Oxford, OH, USA 2021 Graduate Online Esports Management Management 8
https://miamioh.edu/online/programs/graduate/certificate-in-esports-management/index.html
Miami University Oxford, OH, USA 2021 Undergraduate Esports Management Management 8
https://bulletin.miamioh.edu/creative-arts/emerging-technology-business-design/esports-management-undergraduate-certificate
University of Miami Miami, FL, USA 2021 Professional Development Global Esports Management Course Management 1
https://opa.dcie.miami.edu/pro-certificates/sports/esports-management/index.html

Additional Found Esports Undergraduate Minor & Concentration Programs

Higher Education Institution Location (Language, if not English) Year Minor Started Esports Undergraduate Minor Offered Esports Focus Area(s) Approx. Number of Esports-specific Modules
Ball State University Muncie, IN, USA 2021 B.A. Telecommunications Production (Esports

Concentration)

Production & Communication 4
https://www.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/esports
Butler University Indianapolis, IN, USA 2021 Esports Communication Minor Communication 2
https://www.butler.edu/esportscommunication
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA, USA 2021 Esports Minor General Esports; Event Management 2
https://www.sru.edu/news/081121a

Additional Found Individual Esports Modules Offered at Higher Education Institutions

Higher Education Institution Location (Language, if not English) Year Module Started Module Level Esports Module Offered Esports Focus Area
Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart, Germany (German) n/a Undergraduate eSports General Esports
http://www.fh-stuttgart.de/block?sgname=Crossmedia+Publishing+%26+Management+%28Master%29&blockname=eSports&sgblockID=2573663&sgang=550056

Invitation for Future Updates

If you are aware of any other higher education esports degree, diploma, certificate, or minor programs NOT listed in the Appendices of our paper or within this article, please email dr.sethjenny@gmail.com as much of the following information as you can:

  1. Name of Higher Education Institution
  2. Location of Institution (City, Country)
  3. Full Title of Esports Degree, Diploma, Certificate or Minor Program
  4. Year and Semester/Term the Esports Academic Program Started
  5. Website of the Esports Academic Program

Esports Higher Education Degree Case Study: Staffordshire University

For an extremely detailed investigation of the United Kingdom’s first esports degree program that started in 2018 at Staffordshire University, consider reading: “Course corrections: What lessons can be learnt from Staffordshire University and the UK’s first esports degree?” (Sacco, 2021a). Essentially, this is a journalistic case study of Staffordshire’s esports academic program post three years, with multiple interviews from Staffordshire administrators, esports students, and esports faculty. It is a long article, but well worth the time for anyone considering higher education esports academic programming.

​Major concerns voiced within this article included: the esports experience level of instructors; perceived interaction problems between esports education students and esports/gaming club students; perceived insufficient esports/gaming area (e.g., caster could be heard by players during esports competitions, etc.); some module assignments were perceived to not be applicable to esports (e.g., one instructor was reported to have students casting snooker instead of an esports event); perceived lack of experiential learning opportunities (e.g., esports students were reportedly promised they would host an esports event in the first year which did not happen; most likely due to COVID-19, however); and some students felt that having an esports degree is admittedly a “black mark” to industry and may actually hurt their job chances while other students felt the complete opposite.  Overall, many reported comments are simply common complaints by students in any higher education program, not specific to esports (e.g., students reported that some instructors were not being responsive to student emails, etc.).

Additional Resources

Similar to the above article on Staffordshire University’s esports degree program, Esports Insider (Walker, 2021) published a short article titled: “What’s next for generic esports degrees?” regarding the current landscape of British universities offering esports degrees. Similarly, for those interested in esports education at the secondary school and further education levels prior to higher education, consider reading “The Esports BTEC one year on: We talk to students, teachers and others about how the qualification has aided them” (Sacco, 2021b) regarding the United Kingdom’s Pearson Education (2021) Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) Esports program, similar to a vocational/technical education program in the United States.

Final Thoughts

It is interesting to note that all of the following no longer exist: 1) the first global higher education esports degree program which started in 2004 (M.S. in E-Sport and Competitive Computer Gaming from Danube-University Krems, Austria), 2) the first United States collegiate varsity esports team that offered esports scholarships starting in 2014 (Robert Morris University Illinois; now Roosevelt University), and 3) the first United States esports degree program which started in 2018 (Becker College; now Clark University) (Jenny et al., 2016; Jenny et al., 2021). It is possible these pioneers were willing to take on the added risk of being innovators in this area because their institution was already in financial straits prior to program implementation. Nonetheless, only time will tell which higher education esports academic programs will sustain, and the focus areas of the programs that survive and thrive.

Author Note

Seth E. Jenny, Ph.D., is an assistant professor within the Department of Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, USA. Other articles written by Dr. Jenny for the Esports Research Network includes: “Reconsidering the Value of the Esports Industry: New Research & New Thinking”.

Email: dr.sethjenny@gmail.com

Twitter: @DrSethJenny

Website: https://www.sethjenny.com

References

Ahn, J., Collis, W., & Jenny, S. (2020). The one billion dollar myth: Methods for sizing the massively undervalued esports revenue landscape. International Journal of Esports, 1(1). https://www.ijesports.org/article/15/html

Besombes, N. (2019, July 29). Esports related profession. https://medium.com/@nicolas.besombes/esports-professions-e402a1c3ab92

Jenny, S. (2020, October 6). Reconsidering the value of the esports industry: New research & new thinking. Esports Research Network. https://esportsresearch.net/2020/10/06/reconsidering-the-value-of-the-esports-industry-new-research-new-thinking

Jenny, S., Gawrysiak, J., & Besombes, N. (2021). Esports.edu: An inventory and analysis of global higher education esports academic programming and curricula. International Journal of Esports, 1(1). https://www.ijesports.org/article/59/html

Jenny, S., Manning, R. D., Keiper, M. C., & Olrich, T. W. (2016). Virtual(ly) athletes: Where esports fit within the definition of “sport”. Quest, 69(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/00336297.2016.1144517

Pearson Education. (2021). Esports. https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/subjects/esports.html

Sacco, T. (2021a, May 28). Course corrections: What lessons can be learnt from Staffordshire University and the UK’s first esports degree? Esports News UK. https://esports-news.co.uk/2021/05/28/course-corrections-lessons-learnt-staffordshire-university-uk-first-esports-degree

Sacco, T. (2021b, July 15). The Esports BTEC one year on: We talk to students, teachers and others about how the qualification has aided them. British Esports Association. https://britishesports.org/education/esports-btec-qualification-info-students-teachers-pearson

Walker, P. (2021, May 26). What’s next for generic esports degrees? Esports Insider. https://esportsinsider.com/2021/05/whats-next-esports-degrees

Related Tags

#EsportsEDU #EsportsEducation #EsportsBusiness #EsportsCurriculum #HigherEd #HigherEducation

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