New York-based Syracuse University has announced the launch of an esports degree, named Esports Communications and Management, that will commence in autumn 2024.
The course will be offered jointly by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.
Its three main areas of focus will be: Esports Business and Management, covering things like sport promotion and sport venue management; Esports Communications, which will include coursework in virtual reality storytelling, esports and advertising, and public relations principles; and Esports Media and Design, which will cover 3D animation, game experience design and virtual production.
The university has not yet found an executive director of esports to lead the course, according to a release.
Esports degree courses have been criticised by stakeholders. Most of that criticism has been directed towards generic degrees, which may not provide students with skills they can immediately apply to the industry. Esports is a broad space, critics say, with hundreds of job functions. As such, many doubt the usefulness of generic qualifications.
However, this course will specialise in esports communications and management. Despite this, it remains to be seen how much more valuable this focus on esports will be, compared to a course focused solely on communications and management. Fortune Business Insights valued the esports industry at $1.21bn (~£1bn) in 2021, compared to $214.2bn (~£177.49bn) for gaming more generally, according to PwC; in other words, esports is still a relatively small industry.
“This new academic offering is particularly exciting because it leverages the University’s key areas of strength, distinction and excellence to embrace an emerging, fast-growing field and provide our students with the tools to enter that field,” commented Gretchen Ritter, Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Syracuse University. “Investment in our sport-related academic disciplines will be one of the keys to our success moving forward.”
The Newhouse School, which will jointly deliver the degree, partnered with Twitch in 2018 to launch an Esports and Media course. The cost of tuition for one year at Syracuse University is $58,440, according to its website.