MS – Game Design & Development Overview

The Masters of Science in Game Design and Development defines a program of study that allows students to explore the entertainment technology landscape as well as other related areas. The program focuses its technical roots in the Computing and Information Sciences disciplines, while simultaneously covering the breadth of the development landscape through involvement 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 meets the industry need to graduate developers that will be involved in the design process from the beginning, just as they are in the professional field. The degree is intended specifically for students that aspire to hold careers within the professional games industry or a related field such as simulation, edutainment or visualization, and focuses on producing graduates that understand the technical roots of their medium, the possibilities that creative application of software development affords, and the way in which their industry operates.

The program is a 2-year, cohort-based program in which students are admitted through taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and/or a portfolio review.  The School of IGM recognizes that talented students come from many different backgrounds and not all students may have the background necessaryy to develop a competitive portfolio. The three mandatory courses during the first year are a processes courses, a game design course, and a prototyping course. The processes course examines the work model and team expectations in the modern games industry. The game design course covers the principles and history of the field as well as the overarching design fundamentals that go into the creation of game experiences. Finally, prototyping addresses the industry need for rapid iteration over ideas. Along with these courses, students are able to choose their own progression to customize their study in collaboration with the graduate program director. Students choose 5 courses that work together to realize their goals.

During the second year, students are organized into development teams that construct a working game engine and software title as a capstone experience, with both individual and group requirements. The capstone experience culminates in a private defense before program faculty as well as a public exhibition. The capstone project, the focus on team-based collaborative development, and the applied nature of the coursework all work together to provide a comprehensive treatment of the subject.