Game Design and Development MS

Graduate Admissions Counselor

Philip Bradley

Department Contact

Jessica Bayliss, Ph.D.

Admission Deadlines & Requirements

Program Available Online? No
Application Deadline Rolling
Admit Term Fall
Entrance Exam GRE required for individuals with degrees from international universities
Other Portfolio and/or GRE
English Language Exams:
TOEFL (Internet) 88
PTE Academic 61


Priority deadline - COMPLETE applications that are received by this date are given priority consideration for admission and financial aid (if applicable). Applications received after the priority deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.

Rolling - There is no specific deadline for applications; applications will be accepted and reviewed throughout the year until the program reaches capacity.

Program overview

The MS degree in game design and development explores the entertainment technology landscape, along with other related areas of software development. The program has its technical roots in the computing and information science disciplines, while simultaneously covering the breadth of the game development field through course work in topics such as computer graphics, game engines, interactive narrative, and game design. The degree is specifically for students who aspire to careers within the professional gaming industry or a related field such as simulation, edutainment, or visualization.

This is a two-year, on-campus, cohort-based program in which students are admitted through a portfolio review process. During the second year, students form development teams that construct a working game engine and software title as the program capstone experience. This requirement includes both individual and group expectations. The capstone culminates in a defense before program faculty, as well as a public exhibition. Combined, these requirements provide a unique and comprehensive educational experience for individuals who aspire to a career in the game development industry.

Plan of study

The program's curriculum consists of required courses, a choice of five advanced electives, and a capstone experience.

Capstone experience

During the second year, students complete a team-based capstone experience where students present and defend their work. This presentation includes a faculty review, which constitutes the capstone defense, a public presentation, and a demonstration.


Game design and development, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
IGME-601 Game Development Processes 3
IGME-602 Game Design 3
IGME-603 Gameplay and Prototyping 3
IGME-695 Colloquium in Game Design and Development 1
IGME-795 Game Industry Themes and Perspectives 1
  Advanced Electives 9
Second Year
IGME-788 Capstone Design 3
  Advanced Electives 6
IGME-695 Colloquium in Game Design and Development 1
IGME-789 Capstone Development 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 33

Advanced electives

IGME-670 Digital Audio Production
IGME-671 Interactive Game Audio
IGME-680 IGM Production Studio
IGME-681 Innovation and Invention
IGME-720 Social and Pervasive Game Design
IGME-730 Game Design and Development for Casual and Mobile Platforms
IGME-740 Game Graphics Programming
IGME-750 Game Engine Design and Development
IGME-753 Console Development
IGME-760 Artificial Intelligence for Gameplay
IGME-790 Graduate Seminar in IGM
IGME-796 Advanced Topics in Game Design*
IGME-797 Advanced Topics in Game Development*
IGME-799 Independent Study

* Advanced topics are offered in subjects as diverse as game networking and player motivation.

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS in game design and development, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college in a relevant field such as information technology, computer science, software engineering, or computer graphics. Students with undergraduate degrees in related disciplines such as computer animation or human-computer interaction may be considered.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.25 (or equivalent) or a first-class international degree with distinction.
  • Submission of a portfolio and/or scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required. If you choose to submit a portfolio it should include evidence of individual and group projects (clearly marked as such) relevant to the area you wish to study within the degree program.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 88 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.
  • International applicants are required to submit scores from the GRE.
  • Due to the cohort nature of the program, students are admitted for fall semester. Admission to the program is highly competitive. While GRE scores are not required for domestic applicants, students may submit scores to strengthen their application. Those applicants with a GPA below 3.25 are required to submit GRE scores.


Additional information


Students are expected to have at least one year of significant programming experience in a current object-oriented language—preferably C++ or Java—and a solid working knowledge of website development and interactive multimedia concepts. If students do not have these prerequisites, additional course work may be recommended to bridge any educational gaps.

Maximum time limit

University policy requires that graduate programs be completed within seven years of the student's initial registration for courses in the program. Bridge courses are excluded.

Career Outcomes

The RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education website provides information pertaining to student skills and capabilities, salary data, career information, job outcomes, and contact information for the Career Services Coordinator by program.

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