Thomas College Presents New Esports Degree Coming Next Year

This article was contributed by Matthew Carrico, Editorial Intern.

Collegiate esports continues to evolve and expand in a variety of ways. From the establishment of official esports teams to the construction of a college’s own esports facility, the influence of the field has touched many corners of collegiate involvement. As we speak, the educational aspects of professional gaming are now being explored and several colleges across the country have already gone ahead to establish their own majors and degrees focused on the subject.

With that being said, Thomas College in Waterville, Maine recently announced that they will be establishing their own academic major that focuses on esports. The new major will be called esports and gaming administration and is set to launch the Fall 2022 semester. 

Thomas College has made a name for itself in the world of esports over the past couple of years. It all started with the establishment of their own esports team back in 2019, and this year they even announced the construction of their own state-of-the-art athletics facility that also doubles as a training facility for competitive gaming competitions. This new facility is still currently in development and is predicted to open by August 2022. 

Turning back to the new major, the reason for its establishment can best be described by Thomas College’s Provost Thomas Edwards. In an article, he explains how the industry has boomed, and establishing a new degree for students with a heavy business focus seemed like a wise decision. He is not wrong as the esports industry is still growing at a steady rate with little signs of slowing down or stopping. By 2022, it is estimated that the esports industry may be worth $3 billion dollars which is triple what it was in 2019.

Thomas College has already gone ahead to establish a webpage focused on the new degree including classes, credits, and professors who will be teaching the new courses. The program includes a total of 121 credit hours, an option for 3-year study, a career-focused curriculum, internship opportunities, and skills in leadership. Some of the classes already listed include Introduction to Esports Management, Esports Conventions, Event, & Tradeshow Planning, Distribution of Gamers: The Role of the Publisher, and Introduction to Games. The courses seem to provide a fine mix of the business and consumer side when it comes to the gaming and by extension the esports industry. The website even states that this field will help you stand out in one of the fastest-growing areas in sports management.

As with any college degree program, the entire purpose of the major is geared towards developing skills that can be applied in a professional setting. This is the clear intent with the new program being applied by Thomas College and even stated so by the president of college Laurie Lachance. Esports, just like any other field, is a professional industry filled with a variety of areas that make use of the skills and knowledge taught. This is important to keep in mind when applying for any kind of field.

By the looks of it, Thomas College’s new major will have a lot to offer to the student who chooses to pursue it. However, it is important to keep in mind that Thomas College is not the first college to establish its own degree program dedicated to esports and gaming. Certain colleges across the country already have dedicated degrees towards esports with some having special focuses. Some examples would be Becker College’s BS in esports management, St. Peters University with esports business specialization, Keuka College offers a minor in esports, the University of California Irvine has a new esports management specialized studies certificate, and the University of Texas in Arlington offers a five-course esports management certificate. What is unique about Thomas College’s program is its focus on “administration.” More specifically, it aims to focus on a larger part of the games industry which is where esports takes root. When it comes to the other colleges previously mentioned and in general, a majority of their programs only focus on the management side of esports and do not seem to acknowledge other important aspects which put Thomas’ program potentially above.

Thomas College has taken great strides to make a name for itself in collegiate esports from their team to their upcoming facility and now a new program. When it comes to the mindset behind the program, it can clearly be seen that there was a lot of care and critical thinking due to the nature of the competitive gaming industry as it currently stands. Other colleges may just establish a program out of consent for the students but with little passion into why they should invest more in it. When it comes to establishing your own esports degree program, it is important to keep an open mind about the vastness and potential of the medium as it is still in its infancy and growing at an exponential rate. For Thomas College, their efforts in the world of esports do not seem to be slowing down either and are investing more time and resources into making esports a standard on college campuses.

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