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MA in Game Design

Take your game design portfolio to a new level.

Showcase your creative thought leadership and innovation with a game that you design and produce as your thesis project.  

Apply Now to the MA in Game Design program

The MA in Game Design at WVU is a 30-credit program for emerging game designers seeking to further their credentials for career advancement. A new cohort is launched each semester. All courses are online except for an optional Game Design Residency (ART 502), an on-campus game design conference. During this four-day session each student has an opportunity to hear from leading game designers, meet their WVU faculty, network with potential employers and share their game design project with peers.

The curriculum addresses game design, game theory and game production along with a series of specialized micro-courses—the ART 507 Focus Module—that allow a candidate to deepen their skills in a particular area. In addition to the residency, a significant capstone project is completed in which each candidate leads a team of their peers to develop and produce a functional and playable game prototype. 

Courses are scheduled in eight-week terms and can be completed in a 12-month period with a full time commitment and year-round attendance. A typical course schedule for a student on the 2-year completion track would be one three-credit course plus a one-credit Focus Module per eight-week term. (See Suggested Course Sequence). This track is designed for graduate candidates already working in the industry. 

The Capstone Game Design Project

The capstone project anchors the entire degree, with 50% of the course credits dedicated to its completion which takes place over three to four terms. A capstone project is proposed by each candidate, approved by the WVU faculty and developed with the support of other graduate students. Each graduate candidate is a leader of their own capstone project and participates on the capstone production team of a peer in a supportive role. The first step is ART 603 Concept & Research which is used by the candidate to conceive a game and research its viability in the games industry. Next, in ART 604 Project Plan, the candidate develops a production plan to develop the game prototype and selects their work team. In ART 606 Project Launch, the development process kicks off and is then completed in ART 607 Project Production. 

Program Learning Outcomes:

  1. analyze the structure of a game to address theory, narrative, character, environment and sound elements;
  2. produce functional game prototypes based on theoretical insight, factual observation, iterative processes and a game design document;
  3. exercise executive leadership, project management and team management strategies for organizing and managing a production pipeline in a remote team-based environment; and
  4. apply competence in usability testing for game quality control.

Course Descriptions 

ART 502 Game Design

ART 503 Game Theory

ART 505 Game Production

ART 603 Concept and Research 

ART 604 Project Plan

ART 606 Project Launch

ART 607 Project Production

ART 506 Residency (Optional)

ART 507 Focus Module (Must take at least three times.)