The one-year Master's Programme in Game Design is for you who want to develop a deeper understanding of games as expressive media. The focus is on artistic expression and the social and cultural effects of games. Compared to the two-year Master's Programme in Game Design, this programme is more of a guided exploration of the theory and practice of game design research, building the foundation for continued studies or a transition into the industry.
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 this one-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. You can also choose to continue to the second year of the Master's programme for in-depth research and exposure.
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 (60 credits) with Game Design as the main field of study.
The programme comprises of one academic year of full-time study. Both semesters contain compulsory courses on advanced level in game design and you will take the courses together with students enrolled in the two-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. This course also covers theory, method and scientific writing, which prepares you for the degree project that you will write in the second semester. In addition, you will also take a course in game analysis which present different methods of analysing games and their mechanics, structures and composition.
The second semester begins with a course Games and Society, which deals with how games reflect the 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. You will conclude your studies with a degree thesis project that is dedicated to an exploration of a topic relevant to game design. The thesis must be based on solid, theoretical research, have a clear problem statement and be conducted in a methodologically sound, rigorous and ethical way.
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.
During the second semester, you conduct a degree project of 15 credits.
The programme is taught at Campus Gotland in Visby and 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 or any other closely related subject area.
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.