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 design, human-computer interaction, 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 a portfolio review process and subsequently pursue a “major” sequence of six courses to guarantee depth within a specialization area relative to game development, and a “minor” of three courses specifically outside their major area of study. In addition, all students will complete a seminar track of five courses within the program that ties students specializing in various majors together, and explores the overlap and interconnection of their work as well as providing a framework of understanding for the professional industry as a whole.
Upon completion of their coursework, 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, the seminar track on industry issues, and the applied nature of the coursework all work together to provide a comprehensive treatment of the subject.