Master's Programme in Game Design

Academic year 2022/2023

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Application

The two-year Master's Programme in Game Design is for students who want to develop a deeper understanding of games as expressive media and their social and cultural effects. With its specific emphasis on the impact games have on society and the core themes such as ethical game design, meaning-making, representation, inclusion and social justice, it prepares you to become a critical and informed voice in the field of games, either in a creative, consulting, communicative, research or educational capacity.

You will study at Uppsala University's Campus Gotland, located in Visby on the island of Gotland. The island is in the Baltic Sea between the mainland of Sweden and the Baltic States.

Why this programme?

In the Master's Programme in Game Design at Uppsala University, Campus Gotland, our emphasis is on teaching active game literacy in order to understand and responsibly use games' expressive and conceptual potential and their impact on society. Active game literacy means the ability to understand games deeply from a theoretical as well as a practical perspective. It includes being able to analyse existing games, design new play experiences, gain insight into and awareness for the contexts in which games are created and played, as well as understanding how they can affect their players through their rules, mechanics, themes, narrative and audio-visual design.

The Master's Programme in Game Design aims for a nuanced discussion through a wide range of multi-disciplinary theories and hands-on design exercises. This means we investigate questions such as:

  • What needs to be considered for a game to resonate with its players?
  • How can games allow for the exploration of deep ideas and profound experiences?
  • And what - on the flipside - are dark design patterns?
  • What are the possibilities, but also the responsibilities, of a game designer?
  • How can game design specialists inform the way games are seen in, and impact, society?
Student profile
Our students do not need to have previous game design, development or programming experience. Our students are exposed to a wide range of theories and creative methods to aid in the development of their own perspectives; to think holistically, broadly and deeply.

Students coming to us as - or going on to become - journalists, teachers, artists, community organizers, activists, experience and exhibit designers or other creative industries professionals, will be able to use their active game literacy to inform their work.

Our aim is to encourage students to harness the power of games and play to convey ideas, raise awareness, stimulate dialogue, foster creativity, problem solve, promote systems thinking, address ethical dilemmas and offer critical consultation

Degree

The programme leads to a Master of Arts (120 credits) with Game Design as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is also possible to obtain a Master of Arts (60 credits).

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Read the interview
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What programme are you currently enrolled in?
Emilie: We are currently enrolled in the Master's Programme in Game Design

What made you choose this programme and specialisation?
Emilie: Over the last couple of years my interest in both game research, game studies and game research has increased, so the choice to enroll for this programme was driven by my further growing interest of those topics.

Amr: As a game developer, I've always wanted to improve my game design skills and broaden my knowledge in the Game Design part in making Videogames.

What made you choose Uppsala University?
Emelie: The Institution of Game which is located at Campus Gotland is located in Visby where I already live, as well as the previous reputation of the bachelors programme gave me the confidence to pick Uppsala Univesity.

Amr: After some research, I've found that Uppsala University is one of the top universities that provide studies in Game Development and Design, so it was a natural choice.

What are the best things about your programme?
Emelie: This far, the Course Material and lectures have been fantastic.

Amr: It develops your thinking in different aspects in game design, and puts you on the right road.

Describe how an average day looks for you
Emelie: A pretty standard 9-5 schedule for me, I get up and prep for class, starting work at around 9 AM or 10 AM. Then I get ready for classes which start at 1 after lunch. Following class, I wrap up any reading I still got left for the next lesson and then I enjoy the Visby Free time activities like climbing and gaming cafés.

Amr: Usually the lectures start later at 1pm, so I either have enough time for sleep, or breakfast or workout, and then to the lecture/s, never boring, it usually ends at 3pm, later on, I usually get home to prepare dinner, then either read any assigned readings for the next lecture, or hang out with friends, or party if its a week-end, it won't get boring on the island if you know what to do.

How would you describe the atmosphere in class and on campus?
Emelie: The Atmosphere in class is great, we’ve gotten to build a very talkative and close build group during lectures which also stretches outside of class. The Campus area is great and there is almost always space to work while not being disturbed.

Amr: The atmosphere in class is usually interactive and goes both ways, lecturers keep opening up discussions, the campus is great to be in before or after classes.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?
Emelie: Move on to a PhD or keep doing game design/research consultancies in the mean time.

Amr: I would either try to find a job as a game design, or start my own start-up with fellow designers/developers.

What advice do you have for other students interested in applying for the same programme?
Emelie: There will be a lot of reading of academic texts, the better your English is the easier it is to take the material to heart.

Amr: Reading about game design research in general, and get ready to read scientific papers about game design.

Register your interest

Programme

The Master's programme in Game Design consists of two academic years of full-time studies. The first two semesters contain compulsory courses on the advanced level in game design research and you will take the courses together with students enrolled in the one-year Master's programme in Game Design.

In the first semester, you will take an introductory course that gives you a review of current research and development work in game design and game studies, emphasising active, critical game literacy in regards to the intersection of games and society. You will deepen your knowledge of conceptual game design approaches through practical, creative inquiries in the game design studio course that follows.

You then return to in-depth, critical reflections on the practices and contexts of game design in the course Games and Society, which is followed by another hands-on course at the beginning of the second semester: Critical Making. The discussion of games as pervasive media that can be found and played everywhere is then continued in the course Pervasive Games, where you explore the integration of the real world and its physical spaces into a game experience, blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction.

The second year provides an opportunity for specialised study and to deepen your individual interests through elective courses in the third semester. You can also choose to apply for an exchange programme, to study at one of our partner institutions. 

The thesis concludes your studies with the degree of Master in Arts and must be based on theoretical research, have a clear problem statement and be conducted in a methodologically sound, rigorous and ethical way. We encourage practice-based work and for this the Department of Game Design has equipment and resources for you to use.

Courses within the programme

​See the outline for courses within the programme.

Learning experience

The instruction in the programme combines seminars, lectures, hands-on game design workshops, project work (both in groups and individually), and design critiques through instructors and peers. New concepts and theories are introduced through poignant lectures and are, where appropriate, applied to practice.

You are expected to show initiative and work independently outside the classroom to hone your academic and design skills and develop your identity and voice as a scholar, creator and game design researcher. You will learn a range of game design-relevant theories and methods both in and outside the classroom. Furthermore, you will articulate your newfound knowledge in written and oral reports.

During the entire final semester, you conduct a degree project of 30 credits.

You will study at Uppsala University's Campus Gotland, located in Visby on the island of Gotland. The island is in the Baltic Sea between the mainland of Sweden and the Baltic States. Visby is the best-preserved Medieval town in Scandinavia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The language of instruction is exclusively English.

STUDY ABROAD
Exchange studies are best done during the third semester. You can either apply to the University's central partner universities or the partner universities that collaborates with the Department. Uppsala University has exchange agreements with more than 400 universities in the world.

Career

With our particular approach to the integration of theory and practice, we aim to strike a balance that opens up numerous career pathways to our students, from entering the games industry themselves, should they already come with a background in game development, to going the academic route. The skills and knowledge gained from the programme can be applied to all areas and professions that require effective, compelling communication, leadership and problem-solving skills.

This degree is best suited for those who use it as a complement to already existing skills or an established profession where a deepened, critical, active game literacy - including games' expressive potential and impact on society - is of particular relevance.

Graduating from the Master's Programme in Game Design, you can harness the benefits of games and play to communicate important ideas, engage in further studies on the master's or PhD level and/or shape the public conversation around this medium. This equips our alumni to act as consultants for the games' industry as well as to contribute to an informed use of and public conversation around this medium.

Career support
During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.

Admissions

Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents that you need to submit at universityadmissions.se, you also need to submit two programme-specific documents: 1. a statement of purpose; 2. a digital portfolio of 1-5 items. You can also submit these two programme-specific documents via email to the Department of Game Design: gamedesign@speldesign.uu.se.

Master's Programme in Game Design

120 credits

Autumn 2022, 100%, Campus

Location: Visby

Application deadline: 17 January 2022

Application code: UU-M5130 Application

Language of instruction: English

Requirements:
Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.

Language requirements
Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at universityadmissions.se.

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • an overall appraisal of previous university studies;
  • a statement of purpose (1 page); and
  • a digital portfolio of 1–5 items.
The statement of purpose should include artistic/academic goals and reasons for applying to the MA. Students are encouraged to be specific, vivid and focused, taking the programme description into account and connecting their own creative work and/or background to the nature of the programme as described in the programme description.

The digital portfolio may include examples in a variety of media as well as writing samples. Examples of portfolio items:
  • Series of digital prototypes or games demonstrating the applicant's breadth and depth of work in the field. lnclude download links, installation and gameplay instructions.
  • Board game or physical game. lnclude detailed documentation including video and photographs of gameplay as well as rules.
  • Game design document
  • Performance or event. lnclude documentation of project including video, photographs, and script.
  • Writing samples such as a scholarly article, essay, or creative writing
  • Creative practice in a professional field (animation, video, film, applications, graphic design, etc.).
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.

Fees:

If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 60,000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 240,000

Contact and further resources

Contact

Department of Game Design, Stephanie Noroozy

gamedesign@speldesign.uu.se

Study Counsellor

studievagledningcampusgotland@uadm.uu.se

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

masterprogrammes@uu.se

Department of Game Design

Strandgatan 1b, Visby

Cramérgatan 3, 621 67 VISBY

+46 18 471 84 41