California Game Design Graduate Programs | Game Development Graduate Programs

Game design graduate programs could help you learn advanced game design concepts to create the games you’ve dreamed of. Catch up on the latest trends in technology or prepare to enter the professional world of game design to help create the next big hit. Whether you’re a casual gamer looking to jumpstart a career in the industry, or a professional wanting to hone your skills, there could be a perfect game development graduate program out there for you.

Game Design Graduate Programs

Types of Game Design Graduate Programs

Game development graduate programs could be the push you need to take your game design skills to the next level. However, the number of program options out there may seem overwhelming. Typically, game design graduate programs come in one of two forms: the masters degree or graduate certificate. Each has its own potential benefits and requirements, but share the goal of preparing you to help make great games! The one that is perfect for you depends on a variety of factors. These may include your educational and professional background, as well as your goals. Below is an overview of each to help you decide.

Masters in Video Game Design

Game design masters programs could be a great chance to begin you game design journey. Especially if you don’t have your bachelor’s in the same field. Even if you do have a degree in game design already, masters in game development programs might be a perfect way to refine your knowledge and potentially enhance your career. Since the gaming giants are consistently putting out new software and game engines, masters programs could help you stay up-to-date and at the forefront of your industry.

Potential Game Design Masters Curriculum

Game design masters programs aim to provide comprehensive courses on game design essentials as well as audience engagement principles.  Essentially, you could learn how to make a game and have people want to play it! Programs could cover foundational subjects, as well as advanced topics in audience interaction. This way, you not only know how to build a game, but also how to engage your consumers. Courses may include creating AI, programming, datamining, game analytics, and gaming psychology. And, virtual reality programming courses may become widely available as the technology develops.

In addition, students may have several opportunities to design their own games during their masters program. The potential benefits of this could be two-fold. First, students could have the chance to completely realize games from start to finish. That includes conceptualization, programming, testing and revisions. Second, this finished game could a solid addition to a professional portfolio. After graduation, you might easily demonstrate your game design capabilities by showing this game off to possible employers. And, as an unmentioned perk, you could always share your game with friends!

These are only a small sample of classes you could take during your masters in video game design. Check with possible programs for a complete list of their course offerings. Taking curriculum and game design requirements into consideration, students could potentially earn a masters degree in 2 years. Program length may vary by institution.

Masters in Game Design Admissions

Admissions for masters in video game design programs are equal parts academic and portfolio assessment. For the first part, students are typically required to submit a 3.0 undergraduate GPA in addition to GRE exam scores. For the portfolio portion, students may be requested to submit examples of previous work. This could include finished games, outlines, or examples of their coding experience. Be sure to check with your intended program for the exact requirements, as well as additional multimedia criteria.

Game Design Graduate Certificate

Certificate programs in game design focus more on the programming aspects of game design as opposed to audience engagement. Essentially, they emphasize the bare bones of what it takes to make a game. You may take courses in game design algorithms, data structures, and general gaming design. These topics are at the foundation of game design and necessary for development. And, they might prove vital towards designing your own game!

Furthermore, certificate programs may have students design a game for their final project, giving you a glimpse at what the overall production entails. In summary, a graduate certificate program could be a great way to learn the fundamentals and then immediately apply them!

Since this program tends to build off previous programming experience, coursework in these programs might be more concise than other graduate degrees. This means that you could be working exclusively with gaming concepts instead of trudging through basic coding. While graduation timelines may vary by school, students could potentially earn a game design graduate certificate in 1 year. This could be perfect if you want to quickly jumpstart a career in the gaming industry! Not to mention, you might already have a completed game to put in your professional portfolio.

Game Design Graduate Certificate Admissions

Graduate certificates in game design tend to pull extensively from previous programming experience. Typically, this means you have already earned an undergraduate degree in programming or computer sciences. While this is not required, it may be generally recommended because admissions may require students to submit samples of previous work. This could include things such as websites, 3-D renders, or similarly related pieces. Additionally, students may be required to submit a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Admissions requirements may vary by institution.

Game Design Graduate Program Formats

One of the great things about game design is that you might be able to study it anywhere! Whether in the classroom or online, as long as you have access to a computer you’re ready to go. Of course, one of these formats might be a better fit for your lifestyle and educational goals. Keep reading for more information about both the online and on campus formats to determine which might be perfect for you.

The On Campus Format

On campus game design graduate programs might be perfect for students attending classes fulltime or who prefer in person interactions.  In these programs, you could apply your new skills and knowledge and receive valuable, immediate feedback from professors and peers alike. A second set of eyes on your project may highlight an aspect you haven’t seen before. Besides being a great way to develop your work, this style might help you network with others. In the professional world, it may be great to know someone at a company who has first-hand experience with your work. Additionally, since your professor might be an industry professional, they may also be able to offer valid criticism to improve your game or simplify your process. Of course, being a professional, they might be a great contact to have too!

The Online Format

Game design grad programs also pair well with online education. Overall, online game design grad programs are not that different from the campus experience, except you’re working from your home office. Online grad degrees in game design still have students interacting with their classmates and coding games, but on their own schedule. This could be beneficial for current professionals. Whenever you have a free moment from your current job, you could attend class. This may be especially great for those looking to jumpstart a new career. You could maintain your current job while learning the skills and knowledge that may be necessary to pursue the next one!

What Kind of Education Do You Need to Be a Game Designer?

Typically, video game designers require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions.[i] While this is true, many students return to graduate school to expand their design capabilities with newly developed technologies, engines, or gaming systems. Depending on your program, you could engage with new topics in computer human interaction and game analytics.

Graduate programs may also be a great way to develop the fundamentals to enter the game design field. Game designers need to know how to do a list of tasks in order to create in their medium. For example, those going into the industry need to be computer literate, must be able to perform quality assurance, and of course have a healthy dose of creativity!i Game design graduate program could help you develop these and other skills, while expanding your industry specific knowledge.

Pursue Video Game Design Graduate Programs!

Pause your game for one second and take the time to apply to a game design grad school. To continue your search, browse the list of potential programs on this page. Or, to refine your list, select your preferred program and format from the menus on this page. Good luck finding a perfect game design graduate program! Ready player 1?


[i]onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1199.11#Education

Find Schools