Earning a degree in game design opens up doors of opportunities for individuals interested in taking part in the process of creating games from start to finish. Depending on the choices one makes as to their educational pursuits, a degree can be finished in as little as two years or take up to four years or more to complete. Aspiring game designers can earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in game design, animation, or graphics design. Several art schools and traditional universities now offer dedicated game design programs to undergraduate students.
In an associate’s degree program, a student usually studies the basic principles of game design. Courses may include the fundamentals of game programming, an introduction to design tools, and the basic theory of game design. The program is usually two years in length and requires approximately 60 credit hours in order to complete. During the second and final year, more advanced studies that involve completing projects help for students to gain hands-on experience before they enter the workplace.
A bachelor’s degree offers a more extensive study of game design, as it usually requires the completion of 120 credit hours or more to finish. Elective courses taken during the third and fourth year of these programs provide students with the opportunity to begin specializing in various aspects of game design. Topics may include advanced game theory and design techniques, with a greater emphasis on application and project development. The result is that the student receives first-hand experience in the process of game design from beginning to end.1
Some universities now offer master’s degrees in game design for computer science students who have already obtained an undergraduate degree. These programs usually require eighteen months to two years in order to finish, and require the completion of 20 to 24 graduate credit hours in advanced game design study. Typically, the curriculum focuses more on the programming aspects of game design as opposed to the development of graphics. The coursework is generally more complex and offers a greater understanding of the technical process of building games.1
Regardless of which educational path one may take, becoming a game designer requires a drive and commitment on the part of the individual to learn every detail of the design process. This can take years to complete and having the benefit of structured study that these programs provide can be a great advantage over simply learning the material by oneself. Furthermore, many of these programs have established relationships with companies in the industry that help for students to more easily obtain employment upon graduation.
Learn how to earn your Game Design Degree! Get information about programs in your area and online using our game design school finder at the top of this page. ↑