Master's Programme in Game Design

Academic year 2022/2023

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Application

The one-year Master's Programme in Game Design is for students who want to develop a deeper understanding of games as expressive media. With its specific emphasis on the impact games have on society and its core themes such as ethical game design, meaning-making, representation, inclusion and social justice, the programme prepares you to be a critical and informed voice in the field of games, be it 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 this one-year 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 the expressive and conceptual potential of games and their impact on society. Active game literacy means the ability to understand games in-depth from a theoretical as well as a practical perspective. It includes being able to analyze existing games, design new play experiences, gain insight in and awareness for the contexts in which games are created and played, as well as understand 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?
You can choose to continue to the second year of the Master's programme for more in-depth research and preparation for a potential PhD application.

Student profile
Our students do not need to have previous experience in game design, development or programming. 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 (60 credits) with Game Design as the main field of study.

Programme

The Master's programme in Game Design (one year) consists of one academic year of full-time studies. 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 and game studies, emphasising active, critical game literacy in regards to the intersection of games and society. You will deepen 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 practices and contexts of game design in the course Games and Society at the end of semester one, which is followed by another theoretically informed, hands-on course at the beginning of the second semester: Critical Making. The discussion of games as pervasive media 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.

All these courses can be used to identify a suitable topic for your degree project that you are going to write your thesis on. The thesis concludes your studies 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 some 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 second semester, you conduct a degree project of 15 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. Campus Gotland's educational environment is characterised by the close professional relationships between professors and students.

The language of instruction is English.

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.
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Career support
During your time as a student, UU Careers offers you 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. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. 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

60 credits

Autumn 2022, 100%, Campus

Location: Visby

Application deadline: 17 January 2022

Application code: UU-M5131 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 120,000

Contact and further resources

Contact

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

masterprogrammes@uu.se

Study Counsellors

studievagledningcampusgotland@uadm.uu.se

Department of Game Design, Stephanie Noroozy

gamedesign@speldesign.uu.se

Department of Game Design

Strandgatan 1b, Visby

Cramérgatan 3, 621 67 VISBY

+46 18 471 84 41