Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Game Design and Development MS

Program Overview

In the game design and development masters, students explore the entertainment technology landscape as well as other related areas. The program simultaneously covers the breadth of the game design and development landscape through study in topics such as computer graphics, game engines, interactive narrative, and game world design. The program is characterized by a clear focus on development, but also educates developers in the design process. The degree is intended specifically for students who aspire to hold careers within the professional games industry or a related field such as simulation, edutainment or visualization.

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

Degrees Awarded

  • Master of Science in Game Design & Development
  • Minors in Game Design & Development, Game Design, FOSS


  • Approximately 55 students enrolled in this program.

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • Co-op is optional for this program
  • Minimum co-op requirement: 1 block, 15 weeks/semester
  • Co-op availability: fall through summer

Salary Information

Co-op:        $22.54                                 $10.40 - $40.00
MS:             $74,000 (median)

Student Skills & Capabilities

Students from a variety of technical backgrounds enter this program to delve more deeply into game design and development. Students take core courses in game design, processes, and prototyping while expanding their specialty knowledge in topics ranging from engine development to narrative. The culmination of the degree is a team-based capstone project with team sizes ranging from around 5 to 15 students.

Equipment & Facilities

The Studio Labs allow for a 64 and a 96-seat configuration which is ideal for the numerous Hack-a-Thons and Game Jams, team meetings, and design work. The research spaces include areas for console development (Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox), a variety of VR, AR, and mobile technologies, and space for ongoing undergraduate research projects. IGM has multiple Oculus Rift and Vive Development kits for student use along with development kits for the PS4, PS-Vita, and PS3.

Training / Qualifications

The ability to work well as part of a team is expected of game developers. A big part is being able to articulate ideas clearly to team members so communication skills are important. Workers must be adaptable to making changes and work well under pressure. A college degree in game design, game development, or computer science is helpful. Game designers need some background in programming and knowledge of scripting languages. Level designers frequently use 3D modeling programs. Programmers must be experts in the programming languages and operating systems used in game development. Educational requirements for video game artists vary, but most artists have attended art school and understand modern art making tools, such as modeling and editing software. Many of these positions require a portfolio, which showcases a person’s experience and talent.

Job Titles

Game Physics Tutorial Programmer, Game Designer, Gameplay Programmer, Software Engineer Intern, Geogames Designer and Developer, Graphics Software Engineer

Full time:
GPU Developer, Combat Designer, Multimedia Developer, Applications Developer, Full Stack Developer, Game Designer, Graphics Engineer, Programmer/Analyst, Project Manager, Software Engineer, Technical Artist, Gameplay Programmer, Tools Engineer, Unity/C# Programmer, Web Game Developer, CEO

Significant Points

  • The program was ranked #7 Game Design Graduate School for the 2019 Princeton Review rankings.
  • From 2009 to 2012, the interactive entertainment software industry grew at an annual rate of nearly 10 percent. Over the same period, the entire U.S. economy only grew by 2.4 percent. The video game industry added nearly $6.2 billion to the U.S. Gross Dom

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

Electronic Arts, RIT, Wargaming, Advanced Micro Devices, Vicarious Visions, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Full Time:
Tencent, Intel Labs, Apple, Sony Santa Monica, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, Vicarious Visions, Rockstar Games, Oxide Games

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career and we will make every effort to help you succeed. Feel free to contact Amanda Thau, the career services coordinator who works with the Game Design & Development program. You can access information about services through our web site at

Amanda Thau, Career Services Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 585.475.5456
Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603