Future Student Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of frequently asked questions as an additional resource.  If you have additional questions not answered here, please contact our Administrative Assistant Jill Bray to arrange a conversation with an IGM representative.

How do I learn more about the fields of interactive games and media?

See www.gamasutra.com (join the mailing list), www.gamedev.net, www.nmc.org (start with the Horizon Report) and www.digmedia.org.

How much math and programming do your degrees contain?

Students take several programming courses and three math courses that cover discrete math, graphical simulation, and computing. In general, students seeking additional technical depth would take further courses as part of their free electives. To explore the kinds of math you will learn, see gamemath.com. Students who want to focus specifically on writing, narrative, art, business, etc. should consider another degree program and a Minor in Game Design (which requires minimal programming). Note that entry-level jobs in design, writing, music, and production are fiercely competitive.

Can I focus on game design?

GDD students take two courses in game design after their first year and may take several electives specifically related to design (e.g., level design, causal games, table-top games, etc.) These elective courses are also available to NMID students that take the pre-requisites.

Do I take art courses?

In both GDD and NMID, students take two art and animation courses to learn how to work with students in art programs. NMID students have specific courses shared with New Media Design, which is the sibling program. Some IGM students seeking additional art courses to become technical/procedural artists take art courses from the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences via their electives.

If I don’t get into Game Design and Development, what should I do?

Consider NMID, which is a broader field of interaction and software development. Receiving a degree in NMID offers exceptional job prospects. Some students may wish to take another RIT major along with one of IGM’s minors.

Can I double major?

We strongly recommend that you do not consider double majors unless you can meet the following conditions: you have taken at least one year of classes, you have high grades, and you are bored/have a significant amount of free time. Usually, students should pursue a minor, filling as many elective spots with related courses in this other field. In time, students may discover even stronger interests and pursue a graduate degree. So, instead of spending 5+ years getting two undergraduate degrees and overloading yourself, consider spending the same amount of time and get a graduate degree, which will likely earn you higher pay and better professional development.

What are the career paths for NMID?

Investigate jobs for companies posted on https://www.rit.edu/emcs/oce/employer/creative-industry-day. These 60+ companies seek software developers that work in collaboration with designers, artists, user interface/user experience, and business & marketing. They build apps, websites, and others kinds of interactive software. In fact, many of these job titles are called interactive developer, digital media developer, app/mobile developer, web developer, UI/UX, and a wide-variety of corresponding titles for design and art.

What happens if I don’t get a job in the game industry?

Working on games can be an amazing way to motivate you to learn a vast set of technical, creative, communication, and collaboration skills—all coveted by a variety of industries.  By considering the wide variety of games that spans society, IGM students have landed many outstanding jobs working on games. But given the fierce competition, some students will look to the general software industry, which has a multitude of creative and exciting opportunities—these students have gotten jobs with great pay, hours, and stability. In fact, many “non-game” companies seek GDD students because of their technical skillset and understanding of the user experience.

What should I do to prepare for one of your degrees while in high school?

Although we do not require students to know programming before coming to college, we strongly recommend that they try it out—gain some exposure. Since you will be programming nearly every semester, the sooner you can discover that you would enjoy doing it (or not), the better. Try one or more online tutorials, e.g., csharp.net-tutorials.com, processing.org/tutorials, openframeworks.cc/tutorials. Consider also continuing with JavaScript/HTML5, Unity, and/or mobile development to get a taste of both NMID and GDD.

How do I submit a portfolio? Actually, what’s a portfolio? What goes into it?

One way to demonstrate interest in IGM is to start learning something about interactive media and/or game development. For example, take a tutorial, create a small project, and post it on a personal website (e.g., screenshots, videos, source code). If you have some prior work, definitely include it in your portfolio. Include the link in your application, which might need to be inside your essay(s).

I’m a transfer student—I’ve heard it’s hard to transfer in. What should I do?

Take as many math (calculus, linear algebra, discrete) courses as possible, along with physics. Demonstrate that you can handle technical courses during the same term and that you have excellent writing skills. Ensure that you meet with an IGM representative before graduating from your current college—the earlier, the better. We cannot guarantee that RIT will admit you, but our guidance might help, especially if you discover early that you do (or don’t) like technical courses. For more information, see www.rit.edu/gccis/igm/transfer-students.

How many co-ops would I need to do?

IGM students take two blocks of co-ops after their sophomore year. Although students usually take them during the summers, co-ops can also happen during the academic school year (Fall-Spring). Students on co-op do not pay tuition. In general, the first co-op tends to focus on general software development, given that students have just finished their first two years of courses. In time, students become more competitive, and they gain access to exciting opportunities. Design jobs tend to be more competitive, though some IGM students get them.

Are there international/study-abroad opportunities?

Yes! We are continuing to develop academic partnerships each year. Currently, we have plans for our sibling campus in Croatia and growing partnerships in Sweden and Germany. Many students have worked and/or studied in Japan, and the opportunities continue to develop. For general information and an overview for all programs at RIT, please see at www.rit.edu/academicaffairs/global.

Can I shadow (follow) someone at RIT / Can you help us find someone to shadow (follow) in the game industry?

At this time, IGM does not provide shadowing (following) of someone at RIT to learn about our school or the gaming industry, due to the disruption in our courses and student's studying.  

To learn about IGM, the game industry, and possible career path(s):

  • Do your research at our webpage, this FAQ, or http://www.gamecareerguide.com
  • Attend our open houses, weekly presentations or attend events.  
  • IGM occasionally hosts outreach events, and RIT hosts ImagineRIT and Kids on Campus.  
  • There are regional events like RPI's "GameFest" and "PaxEast" that have game industry representatives.