Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has been proud to be a “trailblazer” on the esports college frontier. The only varsity sport on its campus, in fact, is esports.
On Friday, the Pennsylvania school announced it is blazing a new trail around video gaming by introducing an Esports Bachelor of Science degree program that will start enrolling students in the spring of 2020. Harrisburg is bringing in esports event production and facilities management group Nerd Street Gamers to serve as a program partner and advisor.
“Harrisburg University develops undergraduate and graduate degree programs in response to market needs,” says said Dr. Eric Darr, President of Harrisburg University. “And since launching our esports collegiate team, we have watched an already booming esports industry continue to grow. Developing this program was a natural next step. The workforce to support an exploding esports industry does not exist. Given our experience and commitment to esports, we are thrilled to help build a new industry.”
By producing skilled esports professionals, Harrisburg will only strengthen the esports industry, says John Fazio, CEO at Nerd Street Gamers.
“With the announcement of an Esports undergraduate program, Harrisburg University continues to raise the bar for collegiate Esports across every aspect of the industry, including player development, event programming, and most importantly, education,” Fazio says. “Building the infrastructure for Esports goes beyond finding talented players, it requires a foundation that increases accessibility for more individuals to participate in gaming, and educational training programs that develop talent in early stages.”
What better place to launch an esports degree program than Harrisburg, which won the Collegiate Overwatch National Championship in early 2019, less than a year after establishing its varsity program. By enrolling in the program, students can get all the skills necessary to leverage their esports knowledge into careers as media content creators, event managers, specialized coaches, organizational/team managers and analysts.
Harrisburg, a private STEM-focused nonprofit university established in 2001 that boasts nearly 6,000 students, will be one of only a handful of universities across the U.S. to offer an esports undergraduate degree program … although many schools are exploring ways to implement one.
“Students who graduate from this program will have the skills and know-how to succeed in a very promising industry,” says Professor Charles Palmer, who leads both the Interactive Media and Esports undergraduate programs at Harrisburg. “Industry leaders are searching for highly skilled esports professionals. This program will allow students to follow their passions and land a lucrative career in an industry that continues to grow.”
Chris Burt is the Conference Chair of the Academic Esports Conference & Expo (October 19-21, 2020 in Chicago). Contact him at [email protected]