M.S. Degree in Critical Game Design


Program Overview

The M.S. in Critical Game Design will focus on the application of the transformative capacity of the practical skills necessary to produce games within the industry, the academy, and society at large through the completion of an applied thesis project, most likely in the form of a critically informed game prototype. Students will learn how to apply insights from critical work directly to the production of new types of game designs. 

The M.S. in Critical Game Design represents a new kind of practical and theoretical curriculum; a kind of curriculum that leverages the interdisciplinary strengths of Rensselaer. Students and faculty in these classes will explore theoretical and critical texts surrounding games, their production and reception, as well as design and build games that respond to the issues that arise out of these texts and curricular investigations.


Program Outcomes

The goal of this hybrid theory-creative curriculum is to:

  • Enable students to transform the medium of games and the games industry through building games
  • Prepare students to take leadership roles in newly-created Ph.D. programs in Game Design across the world
  • Provide a platform for GSAS faculty and the Rensselaer brand to contribute to an emerging, cutting-edge field, represented by programs at peer and aspirant institutions 

After Graduation

Through fostering a myriad of practical skills and ways of thinking, graduates of the M.S. in Critical Game Design are entrepreneurial, savvy game developers who work to change the face of games research and the games industry either by directly entering the games industry, independent game development spaces, or by continuing their education at the doctoral level.


Academic Consideration for Acceptance

To be accepted as a co-terminal student, applicants must be current Rensselaer students and submit a completed application by January 30 of their junior year.

Incoming Profile of External Applications:

  • B.S. in related majors (e.g., game design/development, digital media), or
  • Students with backgrounds in other areas seeking ways to combine those backgrounds with games, or making a career change, or
  • Professionals, seeking further training