MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WVDN) — With a focus on educating students for industries of the future, West Virginia University is now offering an esports bachelor’s degree, preparing students for careers in the rapidly growing esports industry while building on the University’s already successful competitive esports program.
Justin Grimes, a first-year student from Gaithersburg, Maryland, is among the first students to begin pursuing the Esports Business and Entertainment major.
“We all see esports gaining popularity,” Grimes said. “At WVU, I feel like I can definitely connect with people who work and learn in the same environment to gain knowledge about the esports event, marketing and business sides.”
Offered through the University’s College of Intercollegiate Programs beginning this fall, the multidisciplinary program includes two possible tracks — Esports Business Development and Esports Marketing.
One of the first such majors in the country available at an R1 research institution, it is a collaborative effort involving the WVU College of Applied Human Sciences, WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics and the WVU Reed College of Media.
“The rapid growth of the esports industry in the last few years has created demand for business professionals with experience in the industry,” said Chris Scroggins, director of the WVU esports academic program and service assistant professor.
“The interdisciplinary and innovative nature of the major, paired with the esports-specific coursework, experimental learning opportunities, and input from top industry professionals has resulted in something special for our students.”
Included in the major are courses in esports business, governance, marketing, communications and event management, providing four years of practical, skills-based and experiential learning, engaging students inside and outside of classrooms, and opening doors for them to industry experience.
“Esports is a multibillion-dollar global industry with many job opportunities for graduates,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed said. “WVU is ready to prepare the next generation of leaders for these exciting careers, particularly in the areas of business, marketing, media communications and promotions. Students with a passion for esports will find a way to put that passion to work for them at WVU.”
WVU is home to one of the top nationally competitive esports programs with varsity teams regularly competing in Madden, Rocket League, Valorant and Call of Duty. The roster includes the first collegiate all-female varsity Rocket League team.
Scroggins said such competitive esports access provides additional opportunities for student instruction and collaboration.
“With the competitive esports teams, our esports curriculum and other esports initiatives, we’re helping our students learn through esports and prepare for their next steps in life,” he said. “It’s a comprehensive experience — competition, curriculum and community — that sets WVU apart among collegiate esports programs.”
Plus, Grimes said, it’s fun.
“I saw esports videos and thought, ‘I want to be part of that,’ and now I’m working toward that goal,” he said.
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