United States Game Design Masters Degree Schools

Game design masters degree schools aim to prepare students to create engaging video game content. Through a combination of design basics and advanced engagement strategies, courses explore how to make appealing games for different audiences. Specifically, classes in subjects such as gaming analytics, player psychology, and computer programming could help you create a well-rounded and interesting game.

Game Design Masters Degree Schools

The Basics of Game Design Schools Masters Degree Schools

Going to a masters in game design school could be a great way to develop design skills and knowledge for both the beginner and the advanced student. Masters programs combine programming basics and innovative technologies to engage both. First, schools sharpen design knowledge with a curriculum that is one part computer technology, one part audience engagement, and one part personal creativity. Then, since the video game industry is consistently churning out new content, programs explore the latest advancements to help keep students at the forefront of the industry.

With this in mind, students could potentially graduate with 2 years of full time study. This translates to completing around 30 credit hours. Program lengths may vary, so follow up with your preferred schools for details.

Potential Curriculum

A lot goes into building video games, and an game design masters degree schools aim to cover each aspect. This could include everything from programming the game, creating life-like characters, making intuitive level designs, or making sure everything looks nice! In short, the on-campus masters in game design wants to make sure you are able to not only make a game, but have people want to play it! To cover those topics, curriculum could include the following.

  • Creating AI
  • Programming
  • Datamining
  • Game Analytics
  • Gaming Psychology

Of course, this is only a sample of classes you could take. Be sure to check with potential schools for more curriculum details.

Concentrations and Elective Courses

With many new fields popping up faster than you’re able to count them, it’s no wonder there are plenty of elective courses at game design masters degree schools. These courses may be a great way for students to focus their skillset and learn about exciting new features in the gaming world. Why not broaden your design horizons with some of the following specialty courses?

Mobile Gaming

Mobile gaming is a technology that took off with the recent smart phone trend. While Tetris used to be the norm, advanced technology now allows for more sophisticated gaming systems to transfer to the mobile sphere. These games present new challenges to the designer. Game designers have to deal with new audiences, different play styles, and the ever-popular micro-transaction system. To meet this challenge, courses focus on new audience engagement strategies, player retention, and business tactics.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is relatively new to the gaming scene. Many designers now must adjust and develop new knowledge. Unlike console gaming, VR courses teach methods to visually flesh out a 3-D world for the user. Subjects include character and scenery rendering, level design in a 3-D space, and audience perception. You don’t want anyone getting motion sickness, after all! To study these subjects, keep your eyes out for “virtual reality” and “immersive technology” courses.

Gamify

“Gamifying” is a technique used to turn other fields’ content into a game. The idea is that by turning media into games, users may be more likely to learn about a topic. This is popular in the education field. In gamifying classes, students could practice selecting and converting content into games. Not only is this good practice for general game design, but you could add a unique piece of work to your portfolio!

Specialty courses may vary by school (or change with new technology!). Speak with potential programs for more information.

Hands-On Game Design

During the on-campus masters in game design curriculum, students may be tasked with designing their own game. From inception, through the review process, to completion, video game masters schools could guide you through the development process.

As part of this, professors, who are often industry professionals, may help you learn more about the field’s standards. They could offer valuable feedback to polish your game as well. Of course, your fellow peers might also provide useful critique as test-users. They may be able to point out strengths and weaknesses in your game. Through this process, you might even find out that you enjoy working with some of your peers. Who knows? One could be your next design partner!

And, while it might not be part of the curriculum, playing everyone else’s games is fun too!

Applying to Masters in Video Game Design Schools

Masters of game design school applications assess both your academic standing and current computer technology capabilities. Students may be asked to submit a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, in addition to GRE scores. While some students may already hold a bachelors in video game design or a related field, this is not required by every school. Additionally, students may be required to submit examples of their previous work. This could include, but is not limited to, the following.

  • Previous Games
  • Web Development
  • Code (Java, HTML/CSS, C#, etc.)

While it may seem intimidating, this is just a way for schools to see where you are in your programming education. Some programs may be better suited to assist beginner students and vice versa. Admissions requirements may vary by school. Check with your intended program for a complete list of admission criteria.

Why Attend a Game Design Masters School?

Game design masters degree schools often mean stepping into the physical classroom with an assortment of your peers. While that may just sound like a typical graduate experience, it’s actually a very valuable part of a game design masters program. Instead of working in your own personal bubble, classmate collaboration might help you refine your game to its greatest potential. And if you’re a full time student, your day could be intensely focused on giving, receiving, and applying feedback to develop your game.

You might also want to consider an on-campus program for the following reasons.

  • On campus programs may be a great opportunity to use your professors to the fullest advantage. Not only could you receive help and feedback in class, but also out of it! Professors typically hold office hours to address questions students might have. Since your professors are probably gaming industry professionals, they could offer insightful advice to progress your game. And, they might also be a great contact to have after graduation if you enter the professional sphere.
  • Besides receiving critique, the physical classroom is also an opportunity to collaborate with your peers. Groups projects, both in and out of class, are a great way to develop a collective game using new and varying ideas. And, as you may know, designers hardly work alone. Typically, designers work with a team or a close partner. Now’s the chance to test out working with different people!
  • Universities may also have more access to innovative technologies for you to work with. For example, virtual reality hardware might be discussed in your classes. But, it may be expensive to have that technology in your own home! Schools could provide new industry developments for students to work with to remain at the forefront of the field.

Find Perfect Game Design Masters Degree Schools

Ready to attend a video game masters degree school? It could be as easy a playing a video game! To continue your search, browse the potential programs listed on this page. Clicking their link provides you with a brief description about the school and program. While you’re there, click the “request info” button. This could provide you with things like admissions deadlines, potential curriculum, and program length. Good luck finding a perfect video game masters school!  

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