Jun 16, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

SMU Guildhall: General Information

History and Mission

The Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter at SMU was founded in 2000 to provide leadership in the development and use of interactive network technologies. The eCenter promotes the creation and dissemination of knowledge about these technologies and their effects on global society through research, education and innovation. The vision for the eCenter stemmed from the recognition that interactive networks have changed the way people work, live, learn and play, and that it was academe’s responsibility to assist business and government in anticipating the internetworked society of the future and in helping to shape it. The Hart eCenter reports directly to the president and provost of the University based on the conviction that great opportunities for discovery take place at the intersection of disciplines. Since today’s issues cut across multiple disciplines, the eCenter leverages the freedom and flexibility to engage thought leadership across the traditional divisions along which academic and business institutions have usually organized themselves.

The Hart eCenter offers programs leading to an Interactive Technology master’s degree and a professional certificate in digital game development through the Guildhall at Southern Methodist University. Both the master’s degree and the graduate professional certificate offer specializations in art creation, level design and software development. In addition, the master’s degree offers a specialization in production.

The mission of SMU Guildhall is to educate and train professionals and future leaders for the field of digital game development. SMU Guildhall was founded in 2002 with the belief that the arts and sciences underpinning video games represent the 21st century’s form of human thought, discovery and expression. The program was designed and developed in collaboration with industry icons and leading professionals. The resulting graduate curriculum is based on progressive andragogical philosophies that combine theory and practice in a just-in-time learning environment. Guided by a faculty made up primarily of industry veterans, students specialize in one of four areas fundamental to digital game development – art creation, level design, production and software development – and learn how to work in progressively larger teams on games of increasing complexity. Over a two-year period, students take courses, complete individual projects, work on team projects and leave the program with rich portfolios that showcase their talents in their chosen area of expertise. To earn a master’s degree, students must also complete a thesis and defend it before a faculty committee.

The SMU Guildhall opened its doors July 7, 2003, when 32 students comprising cohort 1 started their studies. Since that time, the program has graduated more than 650 students, and alumni have worked at more than 250 studios around the world.

Facilities and Technology

The Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter, located at the SMU-in-Plano campus, has created a dedicated space for SMU Guildhall. With approximately 48,000 square feet divided between two floors, SMU Guildhall includes 12 classrooms, four project studios, labs, 10 group project rooms, and separate faculty and staff offices. The project studios have been designed to simulate an industry studio environment where teams work together to complete projects. Every student at SMU Guildhall receives a laptop optimized for game development, supplemented by dedicated computers and servers throughout the building and connected via a gigabit network.

SMU Guildhall houses the Usability Lab, which opened in the summer of 2010. This lab provides students and faculty valuable hands-on access to professional video game usability equipment.

Graduate Programs

SMU Guildhall offers the following graduate programs:

Major Area Degree or Diploma
Interactive Technology M.I.T.
Digital Game Development Certificate