Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

    May 28, 2023  
American University Catalog 2022-2023 
American University Catalog 2022-2023

Game Design (MA)

Administered jointly by the School of Communication  and the Department of Computer Science , College of Arts and Sciences , the Game Design (MA) is a unique, multi-disciplinary 36-credit hour program focused on game design and game engagement mechanics intended to influence non-game contexts and challenges. The program develops the intellectual capacity of students as designers, developers, consumers, and games administrators. Beyond traditional game design and development, students learn to tailor play design for distinct education purposes.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours. Applications will be submitted to the School of Communication  and reviewed jointly by SOC and CAS, with both schools agreeing on student admission. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required. International students whose first language is not English are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to demonstrate proficiency in written as well as spoken English. Previous gaming experience is not required, but all students must meet baseline competencies in specified technical areas as determined by the program director. Students who do not meet such competencies will be required to take a non-credit summer course with a separate fee. The program director will determine if the student has met the baseline competencies after the summer course and will make a determination about whether the student will be allowed to matriculate. All applicants must submit a 1,000-word essay on the applicant’s commitment to pursuing study in the program, and two letters of reference evaluating academic performance, professional experience, and suitability for graduate study in game design. If available, a portfolio or previous work may be submitted.

A limited number of graduate fellowships and assistantships are awarded on the basis of merit as well as school and program needs.

Qualified undergraduate students may apply to a Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree  and utilize up to six credit hours of 500-level or select 600-level cross-listed coursework to satisfy the requirements of both degrees.

Degree Requirements

  • 36 credit hours of approved graduate work​
    • Requests for the transfer of a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours will be considered in exceptional cases
  • Capstone Experience: COMM-702 Master’s Portfolio Capstone (1-6)  (6 credit hours required) with grade of B or better
  • Minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA maintained during all graduate work toward degree

Course Requirements