Game development is a growing field with lots of career opportunities for professionals. Experts in this field can work as game developers, game producers, game testers, and game artists. To enter this field, most employers require a bachelor’s degree. However, the best Master’s Degrees in Game Development can help you advance in your career.
Game development master’s degree programs can also increase your potential earnings. If you want to pursue this advanced degree, this article will help you make an informed decision by highlighting the best game development master’s degrees. It will highlight some of the top Master’s Degrees in Game Development along with potential career options after you graduate.
What Is Game Development?
Game development is a technical field that involves game design and production. It also involves the entire process of creating a game from ideation to deployment. This process may also include the stages that follow creation and development.
Where Can I Get a Master’s Degree in Game Development?
The colleges where you can get a Master’s Degree in Game Development include American University, DePaul University, and New York University, among others. In fact, there are many colleges around the country where you can get a game development master’s degree.
What Schools Offer the Best Game Development Master’s Degrees?
- University of Central Florida
- Savannah College of Art and Design
- Full Sail University
- Bradley University
- Academy of Art University
What Are the Admission Requirements for a Master’s Degree in Game Development?
The admission requirements for a Master’s Degree in Game Development include having a bachelor’s degree and a portfolio of previous work. However, the exact requirements will vary from school to school. Many Master’s in Game Development requirements include a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, transcripts from previous degrees, and a professional resume.
Other institutions may require an interview to check that you meet the education requirements for the academic program. In addition, students who do not have bachelor’s degrees in similar programs may be required to take extra classes.
Game Development Master’s Degree Admission Requirements
- Bachelor’s degree
- Portfolio of past work
- Recommendation letters
- Personal statement
How to Get a Master’s Degree in Game Development
You can get a game development master’s degree by attending an advanced academic program and adhering to all of the graduation requirements. Usually, you will need to study for one to two years to get a Master’s in Game Development. Further, you may also need to complete a thesis or capstone project towards the end of your program.
How Many Credits Do You Need for a Master’s Degree in Game Development?
You need at least 30 credits for a Master’s in Game Development. However, some programs require you to have more. In addition, programs that work on the quarter system may require upwards of 45 credits to complete a game development master’s degree program.
Game Development Degree Requirements
- Thesis or capstone project
- Minimum 2.5 GPA (varies by school)
- Completion of all core classes
- Completion of required elective credits
- Final presentation
Best Game Development Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Academy of Art University||Master of Arts in Game Development||Western Association of Schools and Colleges|
|American University||Master of Arts in Game Design||Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools|
|Bradley University||Master of Science in Game Design and Development||Higher Learning Commission|
|DePaul University||Master of Fine Arts in Game Design||Higher Learning Commission|
|Full Sail University||Master of Science in Game Design||Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges|
|Laguna College of Art and Design||Master of Fine Arts in Game Design||Western Association of Schools and Colleges|
|New York University||Master of Fine Arts in Game Design||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||Master of Science in Game Design and Development||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Master of Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development||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|
Best Schools for Game Development: Top Game Development Master’s Degree Programs
The best schools or game development master’s degrees are those that offer you industry-relevant knowledge and hands-on experience. In this section, we will break down the best schools for a Master’s Degree in Game Development.
If you want to advance your career and thrive in the video game industry, attending one of the top game development master’s programs is a great way to reach your goals. Learn more about the admissions requirements for the best game development master’s programs below.
What Is a Game Development Master’s Degree?
A game development master’s degree is an advanced degree that focuses on different aspects of game development. The coursework may cover production methodologies, practical application, team leadership, and project management. A Master’s Degree in Game Development allows you to gain a more in-depth understanding of the hard skills and theoretical concepts you need to thrive in the game industry.
Some game development master’s degree programs are available online. Others are held on campus. Institutions often provide high-tech software for game design courses. Most game development master’s degrees last for two years. However, some can be completed in as little as one year.
How Important Is a Master’s Degree in Game Development?
Though an advanced degree is not essential, a Master’s Degree in Game Development is important for career advancement. One of the reasons a game development master’s degree is important is that it allows you to become an expert in the field, and subsequently qualify for higher-paying roles.
By earning an advanced degree, you will both refine and expand your game development skills and become a more valuable employee. As such, if you want to be at the top of your profession, getting a Master’s Degree in Game Development is important.
What Types of Master’s Degree Can You Get in Game Development?
You can get the following types of Master’s Degrees in Game Development:
- Master of Science
- Master of Arts
- Master of Fine Arts
Each of the game development master’s degree types listed above will teach students both theoretical and technical skills pertaining to the game development industry. However, the different degree types may have varying focuses.
Is It Better to Get a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Game Development?
It is better to get a Master of Science Degree in Game Development if you want to work more on the technical side of the industry. A Master of Science in Game Development will focus more on coding and programming concepts than a Master of Arts degree will.
However, when deciding which is better, a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Game Development, you should primarily consider your own career goals. If you would like to focus professionally on visual game design or the creative aspect of the game development process, then it would be wise to opt for a Master of Arts in Game Development.
What Is the Difference Between a Game Development Master’s Degree and a Game Development Certificate?
The main differences between a game development master’s degree and a certificate in game design are that a master’s degree is a more intensive and in-depth program. In addition, when comparing a game development certificate vs a master’s degree, you should know that it is typical for a master’s degree to take longer to earn.
Earning a Master’s Degree in Game Development requires students to adhere to many more academic requirements than earning a certificate does. As such, master’s degrees are generally more respected by employers. However, earning a certificate in game development can be helpful if you already have a master’s degree in a similar field.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Master’s Degree in Game Development?
A game development master’s degree costs $19,792 per year on average. This is according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ average tuition for all graduate institutions. However, the average Master’s in Game Development cost can vary widely depending on the type of institution you attend.
The average tuition at a public university for graduate studies is just $12,410. On the other hand, the cost is a lot higher for graduate programs at private institutions where students pay an average of $26,597 per year.’
How Long Does It Take to Get a Game Development Master’s Degree?
It takes one to two years to get a Master’s Degree in Game Development. Each individual Master’s in Game Development program length will vary along with the number of credits required and course availability. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that allow students to earn a game development master’s degree in as little as 12 months.
How Hard Is It to Get a Master’s Degree in Game Development?
Relative to earning an undergraduate degree, getting a game development master’s degree is hard. As an advanced degree program, a Master’s Degree in Game Development will require intensive study and research. Graduate students will also need to adhere to strict academic requirements.
That being said, a game development master’s degree is not harder than the average master’s degree program. If you are interested in the field and able to fully commit to your studies, you will be able to earn a Master’s in Game Development.
Why Should You Get a Game Development Master’s Degree?
You should get a game development master’s degree because it is a great way to access higher-paying roles in the industry. Further, one of the benefits of getting a Master’s Degree in Game Development includes becoming an expert in your field. By obtaining an advanced degree, you will be able to work in more senior-level and management roles.
What Courses Do You Need to Take in a Master’s Degree Program in Game Development?
The required courses in a Master’s in Game Development program will cover both technical and theoretical topics surrounding game development. Some Master’s in Game Development courses will help students gain familiarity with the common software and tools used in the profession.
To learn more about what to expect, check out our detailed Master’s in Game Development course list below. These are some of the main courses or topics you will need to master in order to get a game development master’s degree.
Game Engine Design and Development
This course helps students build both theoretical and technical skills. It covers the connection between mathematical principles and various features of game design, such as collision systems, control systems, and more. Students will likely work in teams to develop a game engine using different software.
Students will learn level design by examining example games throughout history and also creating their own level designs. By evaluating game levels from various genres, students will be able to discern what makes level design successful. This course will provide hands-on experience in game development.
Virtual World Building
This course offers students a breadth of knowledge on everything from texture and materials to common methodologies for game design. Students will work within a game engine and use various methods to build an entire virtual world.
In this course, students will gain more technical programming skills. They will learn to use various algorithms that are common in the gaming industry. Students will work on programming motion and behavioral systems within a game setting. This type of course often has prerequisites.
User Experience Design
When creating a video game, it is important to keep the user experience in mind. With that, game development students will need to learn how to implement human-centered design. Students will learn how to gauge the user-friendliness of a product as well as different human-centered design strategies.
Continuing Education Paths for Game Development Master’s Degree Graduates
When it comes to continuing your education, the best path to take with a game development master’s degree is to get a PhD in Game Development. A PhD degree will allow you to dive deep into the field of game development. In fact, in order to earn a PhD, you will be required to conduct your own research within the field.
After earning a PhD in Game Development, you have the highest form of education for your profession. As such, you will be able to choose from any job in the industry, including teaching courses for a Master’s Degree in Game Development program.
Related Game Development Degrees
What to Look For in the Best Game Development Master’s Degree Programs
The best game development master’s degree programs offer students high-quality education within a flexible timeframe. There are many different programs available in game development. With ample choices, it can be challenging to know what to look for in a college for a Master’s Degree in Game Development.
To help you determine how to choose a game development master’s program, we have detailed some of the key factors to consider. Learn more about five crucial elements of a Master’s in Game Development program below.
Choosing a game development master’s degree program that is properly accredited should be paramount. Accreditation shows that a school or program was evaluated by a third party. With this, receiving accreditation shows that the school offers quality education and, in turn, it is more likely to be respected by potential employers.
It is no secret that higher education in the US can be extremely costly. However, some programs are more expensive than others. As an advanced degree, many master’s degree programs will come with significant tuition costs. However, you can still make sure that the amount you pay in tuition is justified by the value you will get from the program.
Accelerated Degree Options
After spending four years earning a bachelor’s degree, continuing to study for two more years may seem daunting. In fact, another two years of studying may seem even longer if you have already started working. Thankfully, many colleges allow students to earn a master’s degree in just one year.
If you do not want to spend another several years studying, you should look into accelerated degree options. By taking classes online or over the summer, many students are able to earn a Master’s Degree in Game Development in less than two years.
The Reputation of the Program
Along with general accreditation, the reputation of the program you attend is an important consideration. For example, if a program has an industry-wide reputation for producing students who are not properly prepared for professional careers, that program may not be worth your time and money.
Many students choose to pursue a master’s degree after they have already entered the workforce. For these students, flexible learning options are essential. If you already have a busy schedule, it is important to check if the game development master’s degree program you’d like to attend offers evening, weekend, or online classes.
What Is the Most Affordable Game Development Master’s Degree?
The most affordable Master’s Degrees in Game Development include the following:
- Master of Science in Game Design from Full Sail University
- Master of Science in Game Design and Development from Bradley University
- Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development from Savannah College of Art and Design
The most affordable game development master’s program in the list above is offered by Bradley University at just $990 per credit, with 30 total credits required. At Full Sail University, students will pay $867 per credit for a total of 41 credits to complete this program. Lastly, the Savannah College of Art and Design program requires 45 credits at a rate of $890 per credit.
Salary and Job Outlook for Game Development Master’s Degree Graduates
There are a wide range of game development master’s degree jobs available to graduates. Since game development is part of the tech industry, many Master’s Degree in Game Development jobs are well-paying. Learn more about these jobs and the typical Master’s in Game Development salary below.
How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Game Development Master’s Degree?
It is easy to get a job with a game development master’s degree. As the gaming industry continues to grow, there are ample opportunities available. Further, with a Master’s Degree in Game Development, you have advanced credentials that will set you apart from other applicants. After getting a master’s degree, you will be a sought-after job candidate.
What’s the Average Game Development Master’s Degree Salary?
The average salary for a Master’s in Game Development degree holder is $79,000 per year, according to PayScale. However, this figure largely depends on the exact role you have and the location where you work. With a few years of experience, many professionals in game development earn much more than the game development master’s degree average salary.
What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Game Development Master’s Degree?
The jobs you can get with a game development master’s degree include VFX artist, project manager, game animator, and more. The highest-paying game development jobs for master’s degree holders include working as a game engineer or game developer. However, there are numerous well-paying jobs available with a game development master’s degree.
Game Development Degree Jobs
- Lead quality assurance
- Software engineer
- Gaming programmer
- Simulations programmer
- Game writer
Potential Careers With a Game Development Degree
How Much Money Can You Make With a Master’s Degree in Game Development?
You can make between $50,000 and $130,000 with a Master’s in Game Development. The average amount of money that game development majors make out of college can fluctuate greatly due to a variety of factors. For example, the location of the job and the company that someone works for can influence the amount of money that they can make.
Highest-Paying Game Development Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Game Development Master’s Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Lead quality assurance analyst||$110,140|
Best Jobs for Game Development Master’s Degree Grads
In this section, we will look closer at the best jobs for a Master’s Degree in Game Development graduate. Since a master’s program offers well-rounded knowledge, the best jobs for a game development master’s degree holder include a range of different positions. Learn more about the best-paying game development jobs below.
Best Jobs According to Your Major
Game Development Bootcamp vs Game Development Master’s Degree: Which Is Better?
Both game development bootcamps and game development master’s degree programs can help you to advance your career in the field. The best option for you depends on your long-term career goals and resources. Here are some advantages of both options to help you compare a game development degree vs a bootcamp.
Benefits of a Game Development Master’s Degree
- Advanced skills training. A Master’s Degree in Game Development can help you learn advanced skills. This means that more organizations will be willing to pay for your skills.
- Diverse career options. This approach to education can give you a plethora of options to pursue in your career due to the interdisciplinary nature of many degree programs. You can choose to work as a game designer, software engineer, or VFX artist.
- Opportunities to grow your network. A master’s degree program is an excellent way to connect with other professionals in the field. These connections can come in handy in the future.
- Competitive salary. Professionals with a game development master’s degree often benefit from a competitive salary because they earn more than their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees.
- Increased confidence. A master’s degree will boost your confidence because you will have many useful skills that make you stand out in the game development industry.
Benefits of a Game Development Bootcamp
- Affordable. Game development bootcamps are more affordable than master’s degrees or bachelor’s degrees. You can also use loans, scholarships, and installment payments to pay for your tuition.
- Student support. Students in bootcamps receive support during and after their program. They also learn how to prepare for job interviews to ensure they result in job offers.
- Short-term. Bootcamps make it easier to enter the field within a short period. The programs last for a few weeks to months and you can get a job in game development within a few months after graduating.
- Networking. Networking is also possible in the best game design bootcamps because students work together and collaborate on cross-disciplinary projects. They can also interact with bootcamp alumni.
- In-demand skills training. Your educational experience in a bootcamp program will only focus on skills that employers are looking for and not general topics. Bootcamp students gain experience in game development and build professional game portfolios.
Is a Master’s Degree in Game Development Worth It?
Yes, a Master’s Degree in Game Development is worth it because it can give you the critical thinking skills you need to thrive professionally. The degree also gives you options when it comes to choosing a career path once you have a goal in mind. If you are interested in game production and management, a master’s degree is a great choice.
In addition, a game development master’s degree increases your earning potential. Employers are usually willing to pay candidates more if they have more skills and credentials. If you are looking to advance your career or access higher-paying roles, then a Master’s Degree in Game Development is not only worth it, but it is essential.
Additional Reading About Game Development
[query_class_embed] https://careerkarma.com/blog/game-developer-job-satisfaction/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/game-development-bootcamp/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/best-programming-languages-for-game-development/
Game Development Master’s Degree FAQ
No, you do not need a master’s degree to become a game developer. Most game companies accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree. However, a master’s degree can increase your chances of securing a rewarding job.
Game developers earn $101,644 on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, some industry professionals can earn even more depending on their location, experience, and employer.
A master’s in game development program can take up to two years to complete and most require 30 credits. However, some schools have accelerated programs where students can complete the program within 18 months or one year.
The main difference between a Master of Science and Master of Arts in Game Development is that the Master of Science option is for science- or mathematics-focused subjects while the Master of Arts degree is focused on humanities. However, both degrees are accepted by employers.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.