If you want to develop your voice as the creator of expressive games and want to be able to harness the power of this interactive medium for social, cultural or artistic impact, then this programme is for you! Games have the potential to capture, illuminate and enrich the human experience in a unique way. Through hands-on game design projects you can explore how to facilitate experiences that are meaningful, thought-provoking and transformative.
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 city in Scandinavia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Campus Gotland's educational environment is characterised by the close professional relationships between professors and students.
Why this programme?
Games have become one of the most important and influential cultural media of the 21st century. It has found its using areas within and beyond the entertainment sector. Studies related to gaming has become an important part of various research fields and is used to address social and personal issues. Today, you see games everywhere in our daily life, in forms of digital, non-digital or hybrid. It is on living room screens, in cell phones, or in alternate realities, urban spaces, hospitals, schools, therapists' offices and homes for the elderly.
Game Design is a young and growing discipline. In the two-year Master's Programme in Game Design at Uppsala University Campus Gotland, you will combine theory and practice to push the boundaries of what games and players can accomplish. You will learn how to make games that are unique and can make a difference in the world. The focus is not only on designing experiences that are fun or engaging, but also the experiences that cause players to see the world and themselves with fresh eyes - that provoke reflection, insight and action beyond the gameplay itself.
Good books and movies plant seeds in us - seeds that help us grow as people. Games can do that too. This is not about making "serious games" - this is about making awesome games, deep games - games that have something to say and say it well. It is about games that invite players into evocative and emotionally-rich possibility spaces that can lead to self-inquiry, insight, reflection and change.
As such, our students - who do not need to have previous game development or programming experience - are exposed to a wide range of theories and ideas to aid in the development of their own views. As a student in the programme, you will learn to think holistically, broadly and deeply, because creating inspiring experiences for others starts with developing your own perspectives.
The skills and knowledge gained in this programme can be applied to all areas of game design. Beyond that, they open career paths in academia and industry and can greatly contribute to all areas and professions that require effective, compelling communication, leadership and problem-solving skills.
If you already have an undergraduate degree in Game Design, the Master's programme offers opportunities to develop your creative, reflective practice and push the boundaries of games as an expressive medium. Design research can establish connections to other departments at Uppsala University and beyond. This will enrich game design practice with theoretical approaches from other fields of study, e.g. psychology, sociology, linguistics, health and philosophy.
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).
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.
The programme comprises two years of full-time study. In the first, second and fourth semester, there are compulsory courses in game design. After one year of study, it is also possible to obtain a one-year degree (60 credits) by conducting a 15-credit thesis project in the second semester.
The first semester consists of an introductory course giving you a review of current research and development work in game design. This course includes theory and method as well as scientific writing, which prepares you for the degree project that you will write in the last semester. In addition, there will also be courses in game analysis, presenting different methods of analysing games and their mechanics, structures and composition.
The second semester contains a course in game testing with an in-depth review of various ways of testing games. Another course is about games and society, which deals with how games reflect their contemporary context. There is also a course Pervasive Games. It is games that are played in the physical world or in the game world in such a way that public space becomes part of the game. The semester concludes with a course about game prototypes for research purposes, where you will combine with the theoretical and practical knowledge you have acquired during the programme.
In the third semester, you will choose courses within or outside the Department. Another option is to participate in an international student exchange within the framework of the University's or the Department's exchange agreements. During this semester, the Department offers courses in experimental game design and in various forms of storytelling.
The entire fourth semester is devoted to writing your degree thesis ( 30 credits). This thesis project is dedicated to an in-depth exploration of a topic relevant to game design. It must be based on solid, theoretical research, have a clear problem statement and be conducted in a methodologically sound, rigorous and ethical way. It must also include an application of theory to practice, where you are expected to create a game and critically reflect on the intent, process and design outcomes.
The instruction in the programme emphasises 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 design skills and develop your identity and voice as a 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.
The programme is taught at Campus Gotland in Visby and entirely in English.
Graduating from the programme you will be equipped to shape the future of the medium and push the boundaries of its expressive potential in a variety of domains. You may choose to join or start a game studio to pursue the commercial application of your work. You could continue on an academic path, pursuing a PhD degree in a related field, such as human computer interaction.
Depending on your interest, you may also put your newly acquired skills and perspectives to work in the fields of healthcare, education, government, and community activism, where games are being used more and more for purposes beyond entertainment. You could also be engaged in the art community, working at experimental design firms, or curating and developing museum and exhibition programmes.
Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fee. 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. Submit these two programme-specific documents via email to the Department of Game Design: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requirements: Academic requirements A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.
Language requirements All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies. The minimum test scores are:
IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
a total appraisal of quantity and quality 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.
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.