An Analysis of
Global Academic Esports Degree Programs
10/09/20, 11:00AM - 11:30AM PT
About the Presentation
Moreover, in April 2020, the British Esports Association (BEA, 2020) announced a partnership with education company Pearson to offer the world’s first Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) secondary school leaving qualification in esports. Similarly, the number of higher education academic esports programs worldwide is beginning to slowly increase. In 2018, Becker College in the United States, Staffordshire University in the United Kingdom, and Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in Finland each became the first higher education institution in their respective countries to offer esports degrees (BEA, 2019). Today, while this list is not exhaustive, one or more higher education institutions within the following countries now offer undergraduate or graduate esports academic degree programs: Canada, China, England, Finland, France, India, Russia, South Korea, and the United States (Chan, 2019).
Current programs that integrate esports curriculum often cite the esports industry’s massive amounts of revenue and continued growth, facilitating new employment opportunities, while assisting in teaching similar concepts to traditional academic programs, but with unique characteristics, most often relating to sport business/management, media/communication, sport science, or game design (Chan, 2019). For instance, traditional sport management concepts can be applied through the lens of esports relating to such areas as marketing, sponsorship, branding, media deals, event/venue management, governance, consumer behavior, etc. Furthermore, pedagogy utilized may move beyond traditional lecture and provide experiential learning modalities (i.e., internships, field experiences).
The purpose of this paper is to provide: 1) an extensive overview of the current existing higher education esports academic degree programs offered globally; 2) a comparative content analysis of these programs, including type of degree, program objectives, esports course curriculum, and mode of delivery; and 3) a discussion of the potential value of an esports academic degree with future directions of esports academic curriculum in mind. This content analysis is framed through the theoretical lens of Diffusion Theory (Rogers, 2003), highlighting the academic institutions and specific career fields which appear to be early adopters, early majority, late majority, or laggards within this space.