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The MA in Computer Game Design prepares graduate students, who may have studied game design at the undergraduate level, or who have degrees in a related technology, humanities, or arts discipline. The program's intention is to prepare students for employment and further study in the computer game design and development fields, with a curriculum that reflects the gaming industry's demand for an academically rigorous, technical program coupled with an understanding of the artistic and creative elements of the evolving field of study.


Admission is competitive. An offer of admission is valid only for the semester for which the student applies. Application for graduate admission is made to the Office of Graduate Admissions. The application deadline for fall admission is March 1; the application deadline for the spring semester is November 1. Mason encourages early applications from prospective students who wish to be considered for academic scholarships, grants or teaching assistantships.


Admission is contingent on satisfactory completion of in-progress coursework, and graduation with a Bachelor degree, with a 3.00 GPA or higher, from an accredited undergraduate institute of higher education.

Application Requirements

The following items are required with applications for admission in the MA in Computer Game Design:

  • Evidence of computer programming knowledge. A minimum of 3 credits (undergraduate or graduate) of Pearl or Python and 3 credits of Java or C# is required (subject to change as fields develop);
  • Completed online application for graduate study;
  • Application fee;
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended;
  • Three letters of recommendation: letters from instructors, professional supervisors, who can evaluate the applicant's academic potential;
  • International students must meet University criteria for the TOEFL (current University standard: 230 for computer-based, 88 for internet based tests), or other English proficiency examination;
  • Goals statement: 1000 words, double spaced, 12 font;
  • Writing sample: essay, review, project written within the last 3 years for academic course, college publication or competition, or for professional or community activity;
  • Portfolio: must display 20 examples of the applicants' most accomplished work. The applicant's portfolio is a major selection criterion for graduate admission. Applicants' portfolio items are considered part of the application for admission and, thus, cannot be returned. The portfolio and all other application materials will be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions. See website for submission instructions. 


See College of Visual and Performing Arts for college academic policies.

Banner Code: AR-MA-GAME

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 36

Core Requirements

GAME 600Research Methodologies in Game Design3
Four credits of4
Game Design Graduate Seminar
Six credits of6
Game Production
GAME 617Teaching Practicum3
GAME 626Game Business, Entrepreneurship and Practice3
GAME 710Graduate Internship3
Total Credits22


Select 9 credits from the following:9
Topics in Folk Narrative
Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English
Advanced Game Art
Advanced Game Animation
Issues in Interactive Entertainment
Game Studio Management
Advanced Music and Sound for Games
Interactive Game Systems Design
Sociology of Culture
Applied Behavior Analysis: Principles, Procedures, and Philosophy
Total Credits9

Comprehensive Experience

GAME 796Directed Reading1
GAME 797Proposal Writing1
GAME 798Project and Applied Research3-4
or GAME 799 Thesis
Total Credits5-6