23 Best College Esports Programs and Facilities

Best College Esports Programs
Image credit: bestcolleges.com

College esports are more popular than ever before, evidenced by this list of the best college esports programs.

Colleges are now awarding scholarships to esports athletes who join an institution’s esports program, proving that video games aren’t only for dorm rooms. 

Because of the heightened rivalry for student gamers, students are looking for institutions that offer excellent academics and top-of-the-line facilities and equipment. Furthermore, the whole market for esports is estimated to reach about $2.2 billion by 2023.  

A college’s esports program may include games like League of Legends, Madden, Overwatch, and Fortnite.

Varsity esports programs can provide you with the resources and equipment to stay on top of your game and organize matches amongst schools. 

 In addition, when evaluating college varsity esports programs, it’s crucial to think about how much time and effort they require.

Furthermore, you may be required to compete in regional tournaments, just as you would in any other varsity sport.  

In addition, the best college esports programs can be used as a stepping stone to a professional gaming career or as a complement to an esports-related academic program, such as a degree in video game production or art design.  

1. Maryville University Of Saint Louis

Maryville started its eSports program in 2015, and after winning the 2016 League of Legends championship with a 40-0 record, it became the most prominent name in collegiate eSports. They won the same title for the second year in a row in 2017 and the third year.  

As a result, it’s no surprise that they concentrate on League of Legends. Furthermore, the university has a cutting-edge practice facility with the fastest internet available for minimal ping and high FPS (frames-per-second).  

The facility includes high-speed computers, top-of-the-line headsets, and gaming chairs for optimal comfort and concentration. Scholarships of up to $2,000 are available from Maryville. 

2. Miami University, Oxford, OH

Miami University was one of the best esport college programs and facilities in the United States to start an esports varsity program.

Furthermore, the varsity Overwatch team of the institution won first place in the National Association of Collegiate Esports Overwatch season in 2017.  

However, the school won statewide esports championships in Overwatch and League of Legends two years later. Additionally, three varsity teams compete in League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Overwatch as MU’s esports program.  

The institution built an esports arena on the first floor of the campus’s King Library to assist its esports program.

During an annual summer esports camp, students can also volunteer as counselors. Furthermore, MU also provides esports academic offerings, including a nationally rated gaming minor.  

3. Boise State University

Boise State University Best College Esports Programs

League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League are among the varsity esports teams at Boise State University. Teams consist of ten to sixteen players, and scholarships are offered for both new and returning students.  

Players are judged twice on their teamwork, communication, and attitude at tryouts. BSU hosts live events as well as a Twitch channel for broadcasting. 

4. University Of California, Irvine

Irvine’s University of California was the first public university to establish an official esports program. And it is also one of the best college esport programs and facilities.

An esports program was seen as a natural outgrowth of the school’s substantial computer game science degree and the thriving gaming community.  

UC Irvine’s esports program, which began in the fall of 2016, now offers many scholarships. Furthermore, UC Irvine’s department actively promotes world-class game academics and provides an enjoyable and competitive community for student gamers.  

It also co-hosts an annual conference that brings scholars and industry representatives together to debate and analyze the most recent esports research. 

5. Robert Morris University, Illinois

This university, located in the center of Chicago, pioneered the concept of varsity eSports programs, and in 2014, it awarded the first eSports scholarships to potential League of Legends team members.

League of Legends, Overwatch, CS: GO, and DOTA 2 are among the games in which the squad competes.  

Furthermore, these teams have dedicated coaches and many sponsorships that give the players some of the most excellent facilities in the country.  

iBuyPower, ASUS, Cooler Master, and DXRacer are among the sponsors, and they make high-quality gaming PCs, keyboards, mice, and gaming chairs. RMU gamers and students have access to around 20 gaming computers in their arena. 

6. University Of Utah, Salt Lake City

The University of Utah became one of the largest universities in the United States to offer varsity esports in the fall of 2017. Hearthstone, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League are among the games that the U presently supports.  

In addition to having a highly competitive esports program, the University of Utah has a long gaming history and has provided a video game creation degree since 2007.  

Furthermore, the university’s esports team can give cutting-edge equipment and scholarships to student-athletes thanks to sponsorships from Mountain Dew and Rockstar Energy Drink. 

7. Illinois Wesleyan University

Illinois Wesleyan University is one of the best college esports programs and facilities. This is a private liberal arts university that is relatively new to eSports. In the fall of 2018, the program began competing and awarding scholarships to selected athletes.  

League of Legends is the most popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game globally, so it’s no surprise that Illinois Wesleyan University concentrates on it.  

Furthermore, IWU has also built an eSports facility at the Hansen Student Center to help launch their varsity program. There are 17 Alienware computers and monitors and unique Vertagear chairs in the arena.  

Twelve of these computers are available to all students; the remaining five are reserved for team members alone. A 55-inch screen is located outside the stadium, where other events can be viewed. 

8. George State University

Georgia State University is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports and the Georgia Esports League (GEL), allowing players to compete in national and regional tournaments.  

Additionally, League of Legends, Smite, and Brawlhalla are among the games available, and players who maintain a good GPA are eligible for scholarships.

Furthermore, the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) offers games design, Media Entrepreneurship, and computer science classes. 

9. University Of Akron

Georgia State University is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports and the Georgia Esports League (GEL), allowing players to compete in national and regional tournaments.  

League of Legends, Smite, and Brawlhalla are among the games available, and players who maintain a good GPA are eligible for scholarships.

Furthermore, the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) offers games design, Media Entrepreneurship, and computer science classes. 

10. University Of California, Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley is one of the best college esports programs and facilities. The UC Berkeley arena is brand new, yet it already has 54 NVIDIA-sponsored top-of-the-line gaming PCs.

Berkeley also has a Women in Gaming initiative, which attempts to boost the number of women working in the gaming business.  

They want to make eSports more accessible to women and encourage them to pursue professions in the industry.

Furthermore, the Intramural eSports program will be housed in an Open Play Gaming Area, which will begin with League of Legends. The Players’ Lounge is a relaxing space with large TVs and streaming seats.  

In addition, the Streaming and Broadcasting Booth is a Twitch connection point for students on and off-campus, as well as a live-streaming station for all official Cal Esports matches. Finally, there’s the Gaming Area for Cal Esports Teams. 

11. The University Of Texas At Dallas

Despite being a relative newcomer, UT Dallas quickly establishes itself as a significant competitor in collegiate esports.

The well-known Texas university launched its esports department in 2018 and has already seen considerable success.  

The school’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team won its second national championship in 2021. The UT Dallas Overwatch squad was ranked among the top eight esports teams in the US towards the end of the 2020-21 school year.  

Furthermore, UT Dallas has varsity esports teams in Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. All varsity players are considered student-athletes and are eligible for athletic perks such as a scholarship, a jersey and uniform, and priority registration. 

12. Harrisburg University

The Harrisburg University Storm is HU’s esports team. The name is supposed to convey the esports team’s ferocity and intensity.

Additionally, their Overwatch squad has dominated the game’s 2019 and 2020 Collegiate Championships on the competitive scene.  

Aside from Overwatch, the college also offers Hearthstone and League of Legends. While not as competitive as the other submissions, their instructional structure for the program more than makes up for it.  

Furthermore, Full-tuition scholarships and housing stipends are available to twenty-two varsity esports participants. Students can also participate in world-class coaching and practice fields. 

13. Winthrop University

Winthrop University is next on our best college esports programs and facilities list. Additionally, Winthrop has a thriving competitive scene that includes successful League of Legends and Rocket League teams.  

In addition, the 2021 CLoL Championships, second place in the Gateway Legends Collegiate Invitational, and first place in the 2021 South Conference Playoffs are just a few of their achievements.  

While there is no scholarship information for the college, the program culture is vibrant. Furthermore, many members of Winthrop Esports prioritize the significance of friendship and community above anything else in the program.  

While not the only thing the program appreciates, previous tournament placements demonstrate the college’s commitment to hard effort and accomplishment. 

14. Roosevelt University

In the year 2020, Roosevelt University in Chicago and Robert Morris University-Illinois united. In addition, this school, which is not to be confused with RMU in Pittsburgh, features a competitive varsity esports program that dates back to 2014 and is one of the first of its kind.  

Additionally, Director Michael Wisnios oversees the initiative, including games like Call of Duty and Overwatch. Players from all over the world are recruited for the program. 

15. University Of Ottawa

The Black and Gold teams call this place home. They have programs for League of Legends, CS: GO, Valorant, R6, Overwatch, Rocket League, and Call of Duty, to name a few.  

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Gold and its sister team dominated the 2021 Call of Duty Playoffs for an undefeated season. The Gold won the 2021 Activision Blizzard Collegiate Tournament and was ranked 1 & 2 (Gold and black, respectively) in Call of Duty.  

They’ve also won the CW Collegiate Championships on two occasions. Furthermore, they offer scholarships for their esports programs, although little information is accessible. 

16. Columbia College

Columbia College is also one of the best college esport programs and facilities right now: Since 2016, Columbia College has had an active esports program, with opportunities to compete in national tournaments such as the Collegiate Star League.  

However, with various gaming systems available for varsity athletes and leisure use, the Game Hut is the epicenter of gaming life on campus.

The program focuses on League of Legends, and potential students can get started by filling out an online questionnaire. 

17. University Of North Texas

Three of its esports projects include Overwatch, League of Legends, and Rocket League. In the Spring 2021 season, their Rocket League squad finished third. Like Ohio State, the University of North Texas made the top 16 in Overwatch this year. 

However, the college does not currently provide any official esports scholarships. It does award scholarships to tournament participants based on their performance. 

18. Southwest Baptist University

Southwest Baptist University has been receiving students since 1878, and in 2019 it launched a varsity esports department.

Teams compete in League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rocket League and connect with fans through Twitch, Discord, and Twitter. 

 Furthermore, the program began with just one Xbox One arena and has since grown to include hundreds of intramural players and numerous varsity teams. 

19. University of Pikeville

The University of Pikeville is also one of the best college esports programs and facilities on our list. The University of Pikeville’s esports program competes in League of Legends, Overwatch, and Hearthstone.

Additionally, Coach Nicholas Alverson holds a bachelor’s degree in game design and works out of a cutting-edge gaming facility supported by companies like iBUYPOWER.

Furthermore, prospective students can apply for a scholarship by using the university and filling out an online interest form. 

20. Bellevue University

The “Bruin Bunker,” Bellevue’s esports arena, is home to many varsity esports teams. Bellevue has won championships in League of Legends and Overwatch as a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).  

Additionally, a course named “Fundamentals of Streaming Media Production” lets students learn how to create better live streams on Twitch and broadcast esports competitions, one of the school’s unique features. 

21. Stephens College

Stephens College’s esports program is notable for being the first varsity Overwatch team at a women’s college in Columbia, Missouri. It also emphasizes diversity, welcoming transgender and non-binary players.

Furthermore, the team is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) and has competed in the Missouri Overwatch Cup and other significant awards. Adrienne McIntire coaches it. 

22. Midland University

Midland University is next on our best college esports programs and facility list. Hearthstone, Overwatch, and League of Legends players can apply for scholarships at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska.

Furthermore, Midland University, despite its small size, boasts a vibrant athletics program with 33 varsity sports.  

Additionally, Esports teams play in the Collegiate Star League and other regional and national leagues, with access to experienced coaches and a state-of-the-art gaming environment. 

23. Tiffin University

Tiffin University in Ohio has esports covered from a competitive and academic standpoint. Additionally, students can compete in a 4,000-square-foot arena, playing games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike.  

In contrast, those interested in a gaming profession can pursue a sports management degree with an esports management specialization. Furthermore, Prospective students can also participate in esports camps at Tiffin University. 

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