The best online game design master’s degrees are hosted by reputable universities to help game designers advance their skills. If you have a bachelor’s degree and you believe it is time for an upgrade, this article is for you. It contains everything you need to know about online Master’s Degrees in Game Design.
We will provide you with a clear picture of the general requirements for getting a Master’s Degree in Game Design. You’ll learn about game design master’s degree jobs and what to expect from the gaming industry after you’ve graduated.
Where Can I Get a Game Design Master’s Degree Online?
You can get a game design master’s degree online from Full Sail University, Lindenwood University, New York University, University of Advancing Technology, and New York Film Academy. Some other great online schools you should consider are University of Central Florida, Regent University, Drexel University, and Arizona State University.
What Schools Offer the Best Game Design Master’s Degrees?
- Full Sail University
- Lindenwood University
- New York University
- University of Advancing Technology
- New York Film Academy
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Game Design Master’s Degree?
The admission requirement for an online game design master’s degree is a Bachelor’s Degree in Game Design, Fine Art, Visual Design, or a related field that applies to the video game industry. Prospective students also need to meet the GPA requirements of the school, which could vary between 3.0 and 4.0.
Some schools require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores that are above the national average. You will also need to submit a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and a resume to prove you have some professional work experience.
Online Game Design Master’s Degree Admission Requirements
- Bachelor’s degree
- Minimum GPA requirement
- GRE scores
- Personal statement
How to Get a Game Design Master’s Degree Online
You get a game design master’s degree online after fulfilling the graduation requirement of the school. You may need to get a cumulative GPA of 3.0 from core courses and secure 30 or more credit hours throughout the program. On average, a master’s will take roughly two years to complete.
There are thesis and non-thesis master’s degree programs. If you are in a thesis program, you must submit your thesis and get graded by your supervisor. For non-thesis programs, a capstone project will be required to fulfill the graduation requirements.
Game Design Degree Requirements
- Maintain a minum GPA score
- Completion of 30 Credits
- Capstone project or thesis project
- Core courses
Best Online Game Design Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Arizona State University
|Master of Visual Communication Design
|Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
|Master of Science in Digital Media
|Middle States Commission on Higher Education
|Full Sail University
|Master of Science in Game Design
|Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
|Master of Fine Arts in Visual Communications Design
|Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
|Master of Arts in Game Design
|Higher Learning Commission
|New York University
|Master of Fine Art – Game Design
|Middle States Commission on Higher Education
|New York Film Academy
|Master of Fine Arts in Game Design
|WASC Senior College and University Commission
|Master of Arts in Screenwriting
|Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
|University of Central Florida
|Master of Science in Interactive Entertainment
|Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
|University of Advancing Technology
|Master of Science in Game Production and Management
|Higher Learning Commission
Best Schools for Game Design: Top Online Game Design Master’s Degree Programs
The best schools for game design and development are schools that offer computer programming and software engineering degrees. These schools give you a well-rounded knowledge of creating applications and you can use this knowledge to advance your career in game design. The list below contains more details about the schools listed in the table above.
What Is an Online Game Design Master’s Degree?
An online game design master’s degree is a graduate degree that is offered and awarded by an accredited higher institution of learning. All classes for online degrees in game design take place virtually. Students do not need to visit the school campus throughout their time in the program.
Online game design degrees have gained a reputation over the years because they are flexible and offer a level of comfort. For most schools, all you need is a bachelor’s degree that reflects a strong STEM background to enroll in the best online game design master’s degrees.
Online vs In-Person Game Design Degrees
An online game design degree is the same as an in-person degree when it comes to curriculum and industry standards. However, while in-person degrees take place face-to-face on-campus, online degrees take place through live video streams and pre-recorded content.
Students will still be able to interact with their instructors and peers during the live sessions and through chat rooms. Assignments are submitted through email and dedicated forums during an online degree. In an in-person degree, learning takes place in the classroom, and assignments are handed in on campus. Below we’ve broken down the benefits of both forms of learning.
Top 5 Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Game Design
- Flexibility. This is one of the most obvious benefits of getting a game design master’s degree online. These degrees are more flexible than on-campus degrees. Some schools set multiple start dates, allowing students to choose a schedule that suits their needs.
- Affordability. The tuition for online schools is traditionally lower than the tuition for in-person schools. Beyond tuition, other factors that make online schools more affordable are transportation, travel, accommodation, room and board, and a range of attached fees. These costs are eliminated or reduced in online schools.
- Customization. Some online schools offer different specialization options in game design while others allow you to customize your curriculum based on the courses they offer. This means you can make up your credits with only courses that interest you and nothing more.
- Convenience. With the flexibility of online learning comes convenience. If you are living with physical or mental disabilities or simply prefer to study in isolation, an online gaming degree will offer you a chance. You can learn from home or anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet-enabled device.
- Better virtual communication. Since communication takes place online, your all-around virtual communication skills will improve significantly during your online studies. Keep in mind that excellent virtual communication is currently a sought-after skill in today’s digital world.
Top 5 Benefits of an In-Person Master’s Degree in Game Design
- Immersive experience. Getting your Master’s Degree in Game Design in person provides you with an immersive experience that goes beyond a virtual environment. You will enjoy the benefits of face-to-face interactions as you learn, complete assignments, and work on group projects.
- Networking and socialization. A school is one of the agents of socialization, in-person learning allows you to experience networking in ways that may be difficult to accomplish if you opt for online studies.
- Healthy competition. For some people, healthy competition is a strong motivation for learning. If you are such a person, learning within a group of people you see almost every day will give you a competitive edge.
- Extracurricular activities. Apart from learning, there is a wide range of extracurricular activities that you can participate in when you apply for an in-person school as opposed to an online school. You will master a range of soft skills that will help you in your career because of these activities.
- Access to university resources. When you learn at a university, you will get access to a wide range of resources that would be difficult or expensive for you to access on your own. Apart from material resources, you can also learn from your peers and department members during your time in school.
What Types of Online Master’s Degrees Can You Get in Game Design?
The types of online master’s degrees you can get in game design are a master of science, a master of applied science, and a master of arts. These degrees all have similar structures but the syllabi differ slightly to fit their focuses. The one you apply for will depend on your existing bachelor’s degree and career goals.
Is It Better to Get a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Game Design?
A master of science is better than a Master of Arts in Game Design because most game design jobs are in the tech industry. Clients and companies that hire game designers are often tech-centric and may want their game designers to work as part of a larger project development team.
While the career prospects for someone with a master of science might seem more promising than a master of arts, the one you choose will depend on your career goals. Either way, you will still be able to design, develop, and maintain video games.
How Much Does a Game Design Master’s Degree Cost?
A game design master’s degree costs about $19,314 yearly, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Between 2018 and 2019, public schools cost $12,171, while private schools cost $25,929 annually.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Game Design Master’s Degree Online?
It takes about two years to get a game design master’s degree online. However, the timeline may vary between one and a half and three years full-time, depending on the school and syllabus. For part-time and self-paced classes, the timeline may be significantly longer depending on the credit hours.
Are Online Game Design Degrees Respected?
Yes, online game design degrees are respected in the United States and beyond because they are just as valuable as on-campus game design degrees. The National Center for Education Statistics noted that 19,637,499 students attended online schools in the United States in 2019. Prospective employers generally do not discriminate against online versus in-person degrees.
Is Game Design Hard to Learn Online?
Yes, game design is hard to learn online because you need to understand core aspects of computer science and software engineering before you can design or develop games. These fields are difficult, especially for people who aren’t technically skilled. Beyond the technical skills required for game design, you also need to be creative to make interactive games.
Game Design Bootcamp vs Online Game Design Master’s Degree: Which Is Better?
A game design bootcamp offers face-paced learning for anyone who wants to explore game design but doesn’t have the time to attend a full-scale bachelor’s program before opting for a master’s program. It comes with unique benefits, some of which will be listed below.
Top 5 Benefits of an Online Game Design Master’s Degree
- Credibility. A Master’s Degree in Game Design is an advanced degree and advanced degrees come with a high level of credibility. The difficulty level of these degrees and the global recognition attached will increase your credibility among your peers.
- Higher pay. Master’s degree holders typically earn more than bachelor’s degree holders. Since a bootcamp education is below the level of a bachelor’s degree, it is safe to say that an online Master’s Degree in Game Design will help you earn more money.
- Career advancement. Career advancement is also easier with an online Master’s Degree in Game Design. Companies may demand a master’s degree for their management or leadership roles, making advancement faster on your career path.
- Educational advancement. Educational advancement is another issue you should consider. With a master’s degree, you can quickly advance to a PhD if you are interested in the academic and research side of game design.
- Specialization options. Most master’s programs in game design come with specialization options. If you choose one of these options, you can stand out in your field while also getting a well-rounded education.
Top 5 Benefits of a Game Design Bootcamp
- Accelerated learning. The best game development bootcamps make you job-ready in three to six months irrespective of your previous education. You do not need a bachelor’s degree, professional experience, or background in tech. All you need is a willingness to learn.
- On-demand curriculum: Bootcamps are always keeping up with the latest trends in game design and development. Some of them partner with companies to create curricula that prepare students to thrive in their field. This also improves employability.
- Career support and job placement. Bootcamps are result-driven and they exist to help you start or advance your career. This is why they provide personalized career services to help you secure a job in tech. Some bootcamps have partners who employ students right after graduation.
- Cost-saving. Bootcamps cost significantly less than a master’s degree. Apart from the initial cost of the master’s degree program, you will need a bachelor’s degree as well. For bootcamps, you will only need to pay between $5,000 and $20,000.
- Flexible payment. If you can’t afford the upfront payment for bootcamp education, you can apply for any one of the multiple payment options available. Some bootcamps go as far as offering deferred tuition, which allows you to learn first and pay after you get a job.
Why You Should Get a Game Design Master’s Degree Online
You should get a game design master’s degree online because it is flexible, affordable, and fast-paced. You can learn in any part of the world. You do not need to travel, commute daily or quit your day job to get a good education. Online degrees only require virtual attendance which can be done anywhere.
When you receive a degree from an accredited online university, you will be held to a high standard like all graduate students. An online master’s degree is a viable alternative to regular on-campus degrees that may require more time commitment.
What Courses Do You Take in an Online Master’s Degree Program in Game Design?
The primary courses for an online game design master’s degree are programming with C#, game engines, storytelling, user experience, design, and animation. While each school may have its course list and curriculum, you should look out for courses that address these core aspects of game development.
Advanced C# for Game Development
Programming is an integral part of game design and development. C# is one of the most popular programming languages used by experienced game developers. If the school of your choice doesn’t teach C#, find out if you can learn Python for game development or any other popular programming languages.
Core Principles of Game Engines
Game engines are frameworks for developing games. The right Master’s Degree in Game Design must teach you how to create your game engine or use existing game engines for commercial-scale game development. Note that most certificate and bachelor’s degree programs in game design also cover the principles of game engines.
Game development is different from other types of software development because it requires storytelling. If you are designing a game, you need to learn how to develop stories that provide structure and details about every single aspect of the game. This is why storytelling is a critical subject in game design.
User Experience and Design
You can’t talk about game design without talking about user interface and design. The user experience and design will work together to ensure that the game you create is playable and engaging. User experience covers the functionality, while user design covers the appearance of the game.
The Role of Advanced Animation in Game Development
Animation is another crucial aspect of game design. It allows you to create shape, change illusion, motion, and designs that make the game interesting and allow the story to flow. This course is foundational in the graphics aspect of video game development.
Continuing Education Paths for Online Game Design Master’s Degree Graduates
The continuing education path for an online game design master’s degree is a PhD in Game Design. The PhD will most likely be a research focus, so it is a great option for anyone who wants to explore more research after their master’s degree has been secured. There are also certification programs you can take to sharpen your skills in several aspects of game design.
Related Online Game Design Degrees
What to Look For in the Best Game Design Master’s Degree Programs
Some factors you should look out for when getting a game design master’s degree are accreditation, cost, mode of teaching, and course work. There is a wide range of options that you must consider when you are choosing an online Master’s Degree in Game Design.
There are hundreds of schools online but not all of them are accredited. If your master’s degree is obtained from a school that isn’t accredited, you cannot use it to advance to a higher degree. Getting a job will also be more challenging if you don’t have an accredited degree.
Finding out the cost of attendance for the school you want to attend is an important step. It’s important to know about the tuition, related fees, and payment plans. When choosing a school and program, it’s best to find one that fits your financial situation. Looking into financial aid options is also a good idea.
Mode of Teaching
Just because a degree is online doesn’t mean all the classes will take place online. Some online schools offer hybrid attendance options as well. If you do not have the time for hybrid classes, make sure you find out if the school is partially or fully online.
Compare the program outcomes from different universities and go for the school rankings with the most promising outcomes to increase your chances of getting a good job afterward. Schools with higher retention and graduation rates offer well-rounded programs and resources to learners to ensure they’re able to finish their degrees.
To get the most out of your master’s degree you need to make sure that you choose the best online game design master’s degree program. Make sure the classes offered are interesting, engaging, and fit the field of study that interests you the most.
What Is the Most Affordable Online Game Design Master’s Degree?
The most affordable online game design master’s degree program is the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Communications Design offered by Liberty University. The school costs $17,145 yearly and the program costs about $565 per credit.
Can I Get a Game Design Master’s Degree Online for Free?
No, you cannot get a game design master’s degree online for free. However, you may qualify for a scholarship, federal grant, or student loan that eases the burden of payment. If you still cannot afford to get a degree, there are other ways to learn game design for free. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Udacity offer free college-level game design courses.
Salary and Job Outlook for Online Game Design Master’s Degree Graduates
Once you’ve graduated, the next step will be finding the best game design master’s degree jobs. As your skills and knowledge progress throughout your program, you will be prepared to work in various fields in game design. Below we have listed some career paths, job descriptions, and annual salaries to help you make a good choice for your future.
How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Game Design Master’s Degree?
It is not hard to get a job with a game design master’s degree. A Master’s Degree in Game Design puts you at a higher tier than most people with lower levels of education in a related field. You will be viewed as a professional by employers and be qualified for many positions as you start your career.
What’s the Average Online Game Design Master’s Degree Salary?
The average salary for game designers is $67,764 annually, according to PayScale. This amount varies based on location, organization, and level of experience. It also increases with your level of education and experience.
What Jobs Can You Get With an Online Game Design Master’s Degree?
The jobs you can get with an online game design master’s degree are application developer, concept artist, game designer, software engineer, and multimedia programmer. Additionally, you can get many jobs that require coding and creativity with a Master’s Degree in Game Design.
Game Design Degree Jobs
- Application developer
- Concept artist
- Software engineer
- Game designer
- Multimedia program
Potential Careers With an Online Game Design Degree
How Much Money Can You Make With an Online Game Design Master’s Degree?
You can make between $78,790 and $130,000 on average with an online game design master’s degree. The amount you earn will vary significantly based on where you work, your overall experience, and your location. It could be much higher or slightly lower depending on these factors.
Highest-Paying Online Game Design Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Game Design Master’s Degree Jobs
|Visual Effects Artists
|Quality Assurance Testers
Best Jobs for Online Game Design Master’s Degree Grads
The best jobs for online game design master’s degree graduates are game design, quality assurance tester, game developer, software engineer, special effects artists, and animators. These are also some of the highest-paying jobs for gamers working in the industry.
Best Jobs According to Your Major
Is an Online Game Design Master’s Degree Worth It?
Yes, an online game design master’s degree is worth it for anyone who wants to explore the game design and development field. There are many job opportunities you can explore with your Master’s Degree in Game Design. If you do not want to work directly under a company, you can start your career as an independent contractor because you’ll know game mechanics.
The online Master’s Degree in Game Design gives you the flexibility you need to secure your education without compromising other aspects of daily life. It is an affordable option to jumpstart a career in the interactive design and game development world.
Additional Reading About Game Design
[query_class_embed] https://careerkarma.com/blog/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-videogame-designer/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/how-to-get-a-job-in-game-design/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/online-game-design-courses/
Online Game Design Master’s Degree FAQ
To become a game designer, you need to get an education in game design. You can start with an associate degree or bachelor’s degree and work your way up. If you are not ready for a degree yet, you can start with a stand-alone online class on game design to get the knowledge you need to start making games.
The five elements of game design are mechanics, rules, space, goals, and components. A game designer must know how to use these five elements effectively in the design and development of games.
No, you do not need to know programming to be a game designer. However, programming is recommended for game designers since it makes them more aware of the implementations they are making. Understanding programming to a certain degree will also make it easier for you to work with the team.
No, coding a game is not hard if you already understand how software engineering works. There are game engines and integrated development environments that make it easier for an experienced programmer to quickly dive into game development.
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