Course Overview

As of 2022, the esports industry is worth approximately $1.1 billion and boasts viewership numbers of 474 million. From 2018 to 2019 jobs in esports increased by over 110%, with paid positions increasing by 87%. The United States had a 128% increase in esports openings during the same time period, leading the global industry in employment opportunities. Skills learned through esports align with some of the top desired skills for the future workforce outlined by the World Economic Forum.

Syracuse is building programs to develop the future of esports through academic programs, competitive opportunities, and best-in-class esports facilities. Students will get hands on experiences to develop skills to work in esports that also transfer across industries.

In this pre-college summer course, modeled after Syracuse University’s Introduction to Esports course, high school students will learn and experience what the esports ecosystem looks like around the world and be able to apply knowledge and skills from this course to areas outside of esports. A broad range of topics will be covered in this course to ensure a holistic understanding of esports is presented, including areas around esports business, production, event operations, and coaching. Classes will have an open environment and foster discussions between and amongst students as they work in collaboration to plan and execute an esports event.

Students will also work with a local esports organization to understand how esports operates as a business and to learn how different sports facilities operate. They will be working in the esports facilities on campus at Syracuse to create and build a broadcast for an esports event.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand how esports operates as a global business
  • Understand how production and content plays an important part of the esports ecosystem
  • Demonstrate healthy gaming habits for esports athletes
  • Plan and execute an esports event
  • Design an esports facility for a variety of uses

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 169

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate. 

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $2,195
  • Commuter: $1,726

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: 
Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesSynchronous Class Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus1-Week Session II: Monday, July 22 –
Friday, July 26, 2024
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Typical Day

Students will engage in lecture, discussions, and group work during the morning sessions, followed by experiences, guest speakers, and potential field trips during the afternoon.

Faculty Bios

Joey Gawrysiak

Joey Gawrysiak is the Executive Director of Esports and an Associate Professor at Syracuse University. Prior to joining Syracuse University, Gawrysiak was a professor and director of esports at Shenandoah University from 2011-2023, overseeing all aspects of esports on campus and teaching a variety of classes in esports and sport management. Prior to Shenandoah University, he served as a teaching assistant at the University of Georgia from 2010-2012 teaching sport management courses. Gawrysiak’s research focuses on the integration of esports into institutions of higher education and scholastic esports. In 2019, Gawrysiak co-founded Esports Development and Growth Enterprise (EDGE) with two partners to consult professional and academic entities on a variety of esports implementation strategies. He served as the chair of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) and as a member of the Board of Advisors for the North American Scholastic Esports Federation and the Mid-Atlantic Esports Conference, while also being named the NACE Program Director of the Year in 2021 and NACE Hero in 2022. He competed in Halo while in college and now focuses on first-person role playing games, especially The Elder Scrolls series, the Legend of Zelda games, and Age of Empires titles.

Nikita Bair

Nikita Bair is the Esports Program Manager at Syracuse University. Prior to joining Syracuse University, Bair was a full-time faculty and coordinator of esports at Shenandoah University from 2021-2023, leading the program’s global and experiential learning initiatives and teaching a variety of classes in esports and information systems. Before moving on to Shenandoah University, he founded the varsity esports program at Northeastern University in Spring of 2020. With a focus on preparing learners for post-graduation, Bair has provided ample experiential learning and professional development opportunities for students including running professional-level events with major game publishers such as Activision-Blizzard and Behaviour as well as traveling abroad to Amsterdam and London to meet with professional esports organizations. Bair is an active member in the collegiate esports industry, actively serving on multiple advisory boards and organizations. He currently is on the advisory board for the National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC) and the Collegiate Fighting Game Community (CFGC). He has also served on the seeding committee for Collegiate League of Legends (CLOL) and National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). He competed in Super Smash Bros. Melee and League of Legends in college and personally enjoys a wide range of video games including role-playing, fighting, and retro games, especially the Dark Souls series, Maplestory, RuneScape, and Donkey Kong Jr.