Best Degrees For Students With A Passion For Virtual Reality

Published on: June 04, 2024

Although virtual reality has not seen much mainstream adoption, despite efforts by Apple and Meta, there's no doubt that the technology has much potential and will only continue to improve. Many still view virtual reality as something primarily aimed at gaming and entertainment, but augmented reality and virtual reality technology are also making inroads in education, engineering, real estate,  and healthcare. The technology is increasingly used in training, testing, and prototyping, while advances in artificial intelligence mean a more dynamic, responsive, and adaptive virtual reality experience could soon be possible. If you are passionate about virtual reality and want to follow a career path that involves using or refining this technology, then the following degrees would be a good choice. 

Computer Science

Computer science degrees can be completed online and provide students with core information technology skills as well as topics relevant to virtual reality, such as algorithms, data structures, human-computer communication, and more. The strong foundation in programming languages makes this degree helpful in developing applications that are run by virtual reality hardware. Students who complete a computer science degree can work in industries that produce virtual reality software, games, and other interactive experiences.  

Software Engineering

Software engineering is another degree that can be done online and is extremely useful in the VR industry. Students are taught the software fundamentals of programming, math, and systems management, which enables them to program, code, and develop software needed for virtual reality applications. The expertise of software engineers is required in VR to handle vital functions, such as responsive interactions, smooth movement, navigation, and intuitive user interfaces. These make virtual reality applications more immersive, interactive, engaging, and realistic. 

Game Design

Gaming is still one of the most popular uses of virtual reality technology, making a game design degree very useful. This degree teaches students the fundamentals and details of game design while covering the entire game development cycle, including documentation, prototyping, implementation, iteration, and testing. Some universities also offer degree programs focusing on virtual reality and game development. These programs include courses such as Foundations of VR and Game Design, Foundations of VR and Game Design, and Digital Tools for VR and Game Development. 

Computer Graphics Technology

A computer graphics technology degree combines creativity with technical aspects and is ideal for the virtual reality industry. This degree covers everything from animation to scientific visualization, allowing students to combine their artistic expression with technical mastery. Animation, 3D models, and visual effects are vital components for making virtual reality more immersive, and with a computer graphics technology degree, students can typically select a concentration that interests them most. 

Human-Computer Interaction

Human-Computer Interaction is a degree typically available at the master's level. It is aimed at students who want to create usable and appealing interfaces. In addition to learning modern design methodology, students can also choose from electives such as Advanced Usability Testing and Inclusive Design. Virtual Reality can be daunting to new users, so designing intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces is essential for the technology to become mainstream. 

Electrical Engineering

While software plays a vital role in virtual reality technology, the hardware is equally important, which makes electrical engineering a useful degree option. Students with an electrical engineering degree have the knowledge and skills to design electrical power systems, electronics, signal processing algorithms, semiconductor devices, and more. This degree starts with fundamental courses on advanced science and the engineering design process, followed by specialty courses covering microprocessors, solid-state electronics, circuits, hardware, and electromagnetic fields. Since there is a continuous drive to make virtual reality hardware more powerful and compact, this degree is a great choice for students who want to help advance the industry. 

Industrial Design

For virtual reality to become more mainstream, the technology should not only be powerful but also accessible and easy to use. An industrial design degree can help prepare students for careers that involve designing and developing products used in the virtual reality market. Industrial designers are taught to create practical, safe, aesthetically appropriate, and ecologically sound objects. This is important for the virtual reality market as headsets, controllers, and other accessories must look good, feel comfortable, and be functional. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is making significant inroads in many industries, including virtual reality. A degree in artificial intelligence typically also includes machine learning components, which are useful in virtual reality applications. AI can make VR experiences more accessible and user-friendly. AI algorithms are used for natural language processing that can make AI accessible to people with disabilities. Things like player experience modeling and content generation can also help users enjoy VR in a way that matches their preferences. 


According to PwC, up to 23 million jobs can be impacted by virtual reality and augmented reality by 2030 (,will%20boost%20innovation%20and%20productivity.). Sectors that will see the most significant boost in innovation and productivity is healthcare, development and training, retail as well as product and service development. Students who complete one or more of the degrees mentioned above can prepare themselves to be ready to be a part of this exciting future. These degrees are also versatile enough to provide students with lucrative career opportunities even without focusing on virtual reality. After completing a relevant degree, students can further enhance their qualifications for a career in VR with available industry certifications. As the virtual reality industry continues to grow and mature, there will no doubt also be other related career paths that will need people with the right qualifications.

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