Degree Spotlight: Game Design Master’s Degree at Full Sail University
The Game Design master of science degree at Full Sail University.
Advancing in the gaming industry can be tough, especially for those looking to pursue mid-level design, user experience, research, or leadership roles. In an industry built on competition, how do you make yourself stand out? Full Sail's Game Design master's degree provides campus and online students with practical experience that can prepare them for a fast-paced industry.
"Our program is built for two kinds of people," says program director Rob Catto. "The first is someone right out of a game design or development undergraduate program looking to specialize in game design, game production, or user experience research. The second is someone who has been working in the industry and wants to do something different. In both cases, we look at a person's strengths to determine their path in the industry."
New students take a course in game design before moving on to foundational courses in the areas of design, production, and user experience. In those early months, they'll learn game design perspectives and techniques, as well as user experience methodologies and leadership strategies. They'll also work closely with faculty to determine an area of specialization and begin their capstone track in month five, balancing traditional coursework with graduate-level job training.
"This degree is about growth," adds Rob. "We're training students to evaluate their strengths and build on those skills to set and achieve goals within the industry."
Campus Capstone Projects
Campus students build their capstone project around one of six tracks: indie games, serious games, extended reality production, bachelor’s production partnership, user experience, or a graduate thesis.
On-campus students who decide to take the user experience route will work with actual game studios and indie designers to conduct research and provide feedback for improved gameplay. Students in the bachelor’s production partnership track will act as producers, leading teams of undergrads through the game or software development process. In the extended reality production track, Game Design master’s students work with bachelor’s students to help them produce virtual, augmented, and mixed-reality simulation projects. Students in the indie and serious games tracks build games from the ground up, working as producers, designers, programmers, artists, and more based on their existing skill set. For the thesis track, students conduct research on an industry topic of their choosing, which they can use to create a paper to submit for publication.
Online Capstone Projects
Online students can work on capstone projects in indie games, serious games, human factors research, or a thesis project. Master’s students who are already working in the game industry can apply for a professional capstone track.
Students in the indie or serious games tracks work with the same game studios and indie designers that are available to campus students, tackling roles like production, design, programming, writing, and testing. The thesis track for online students is identical to the campus thesis track: Students will choose a research topic and write a paper for publication. In the human factors research capstone, students focus on the professional analysis and study of designing software, physical equipment, peripheral devices, and organizational processes that fit human needs. Online Game Design master’s students may also apply for the professional track, where their current job will count towards their capstone requirement.
Roles in the Game Industry
The completed materials from a student’s capstone track form a portfolio that new grads can show to potential employers. The portfolio, as well as the Game Design master’s degree’s foundational and advanced courses, prepare students for a variety of potential roles in the industry.
“[For industry jobs,] there's always the design component in a game studio,” Rob says. “There's human factors research and user experience at a game company, as well as producer roles at a game company or even at a tech company.”
- Computer Science
- Business Intelligence
- Accolades & Awards
- Hall of Fame
- Media Design
- Sports Marketing & Media
- Industry Research
- Computer Animation
- Film & Television
- Image Gallery
- Innovation & Entrepreneurship
- Information Technology
- Sports Management
- Warped Tour
- Graphic Design
- Job Search
- Career Networking Events
- Before You Start