Colleges With eSports: The 5 Best Colleges to Attend for eSports
Kevin Larsen, Chief Editor
Since 2014, collegiate esports programs have been steadily growing in popularity, offering student funding and lucrative sponsorships. According to ESPN, there are currently more than 125 college esports programs in the United States.
In this post, we cover the five best colleges to attend for esports. Important factors that we’ve taken into consideration include access to esports scholarships, the quality of the gaming facilities, and campus community engagement.
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1. University of California in Irvine
University of California in Irvine is the first public university to develop and initiate an official esports program. It’s held in high regard as the most comprehensive, and arguably the best, college to attend for esports.
UCI’s esports program started in 2016 with an emphasis on four main pillars: Competition, Community, Academics & Research, and Entertainment.
UCI has its very own arena dedicated to esports, aptly called, UCI eSports Arena. To add, UCI offers lucrative scholarships for their Overwatch and League of Legends players.
It’s worth noting that UCI is big on gaming-related research. In fact, they constantly refer to a study that indicates that playing 3D immersive games, such as Minecraft, can help strengthen human memory. It’s definitely a gamer’s college.
2. Miami University in Ohio
Miami University in Ohio is another highly accomplished university when it comes to collegiate esports programs. It’s actually the first top-tier university in the United States to launch a varsity esports program.
Did you know that Miami University’s varsity Overwatch team seized the number-one spot in the 2017 season of the NACE Overwatch Tournament?
Another thing that’s worth noting is that Miami University’s varsity esports program was formed at the request of the university’s student-run esports club.
3. Boise State University in Idaho
Similar to the above-mentioned universities, BSU is a Division I school that’s big on esports programs. The university is part of NACE and has competed in several organized esports tournaments over the past few years.
Apart from NACE, BSU has participated in esports tournaments organized by entities like uLOL, Collegiate Star League, and TESPA, to name a few.
BSU’s varsity program can be accessed by both full-time and part-time students. It can also be accessed by graduates and undergraduates alike.
Boise State University in Idaho boasts several lineups for a variety of games, including Hearthstone, League of Legends, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, and Rocket League.
4. Maryville University in Saint Louis
Maryville University in Saint Louis is another university that embraced esports programs early on. In 2016, the school’s lineup won the League of Legends championship, with a score of 40-0.
They went on to win the championship two more times after that, once in 2017 and once in 2020. On top of that, they won the Overwatch Collegiate Championship in April of 2021.
Maryville University offers esports scholarships up to $2,000. Their gaming facilities are state-of-the-art, boasting ultra-fast internet, high-speed computers, comfortable gaming chairs, top-of-the-line headsets, and much more.
MU’s esports program features two divisions: Community Club and Varsity. The former division is for students who are looking for friendly competition in games like CS:GO, Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, and Hearthstone.
The latter division aims to attract top collegiate talent from all over the world and enroll them in national tournaments and competitions.
5. Robert Morris University in Chicago
Located in the heart of the Windy City, RMU is one of the first universities to come up with the idea of varsity esports programs. It was actually the first university to offer esports scholarships to their in-house League of Legends team.
Prospective members of RMU’s esports team compete in a wide range of video games, including DOTA 2, Overwatch, League of Legends, and CS:GO. What’s more, the university boasts dedicated coaches for each of these games!
RMU’s esports program is backed by a number of sponsors, including ASUS, DXRacer, iBuyPower, and Cooler Master. Further, the university boasts one of the best gaming facilities in the entire nation.
There are many colleges in the US that you can attend for esports, with the above-mentioned ones being the best of the bunch.
Honorable mentions include University of Utah, University of Akron, Georgia State University, Michigan State University, and Harrisburg University.