SMU Guildhall seeks to admit students with a strong academic background, talent, potential and the passion to become professionals and future leaders in the digital game development industry. Guildhall admission requirements include general admission requirements along with a portfolio submission specific to the applicant’s chosen specialization (art creation, level design, production or software development). The general admission standards for the master’s degree meet the admission standards for enrollment in a graduate program at SMU.
Consideration for admission to the master’s degree program includes the following:
- The official transcript for a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning, with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.000 (on a 4.000 scale).
- A portfolio consisting of examples that showcase the applicant’s aptitude and preparation in his/her intended field or satisfactory completion of an assignment specific to the applicant’s chosen area of specialization. Only students who do not have a sufficient portfolio of work must complete the assignment. Additional instructions on the portfolio assignment are available from SMU Guildhall.
- Art creation – The portfolio should contain examples that showcase the applicant’s strong 2-D art skills, and 3-D art skills are a plus, as well. Portfolio drawings should show creativity and knowledge of perspective, anatomy and use of line/shading. Examples may be created with traditional media or digitally.
- Level design – The portfolio should consist of examples that showcase the applicant’s talents; e.g., screenshots, videos and annotated maps/playable levels for 2-D or 3-D games, including detailed descriptions of the applicant’s work on the project, D&D or RPG campaigns, deconstructions of existing games and mechanics.
- Production – The portfolio should consist of examples that showcase the applicant’s aptitude, problem-solving skills, communication skills and leadership ability. As a part of the portfolio assignment, applicants must also submit a solution for a producer case study problem assignment found under the admission section on the SMU Guildhall website. During the admission process, the applicant to the production specialization must choose one of the other three specializations as a secondary area of specialization, and the applicant’s portfolio must include a portfolio for the secondary area (art creation, level design or software development).
- Software development – The portfolio should consist of coding examples that showcase the applicant’s talents. Code samples in any structure will be acceptable; however, games coded in C++ are strongly preferred.
- A video essay describing the applicant’s motivation, interests, life experiences and biggest challenge overcome as a creative person as they relate to an interest in pursuing a professional career in digital game development. One should explain why one of the portfolio pieces is a good/interesting/skillful piece of the applicant’s work. An applicant to the production specialization should also address the motivation behind his/her interest in pursuing a career as a game producer, a description of their understanding of the role of a producer, and the ways the applicant would impact the industry as a producer.
- Two references. (We only need contact information; we do not need recommendation letters.)
- A phone interview may be required for applicants to the production specialization.
- Test score from an internationally recognized English language test, such as the TOEFL or IELTS English proficiency tests, if the applicant is from a country where the predominant language of instruction is not English. A score of at least 550 (80 on the computer test) is required on the TOEFL for admission consideration. A score of 6.5 or higher is required on the IELTS for admission consideration.
Admission requirements for the graduate professional certificate program mirror the requirements for the master’s program in the art creation, level design or software development specializations, except for the requirement for a minimum GPA and/or a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning. The graduate professional certificate program is not offered in the production specialization.
Admission with Advanced Standing Program
Students who have already earned a Certificate in Digital Game Development from the Guildhall may apply for admission with advanced standing into the master’s degree program if they meet all the academic requirements for admission to the degree program. Requirements for consideration with advanced standing are
- A four-year baccalaureate or equivalent degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
- A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.000 out of 4.000 (B average) in undergraduate work.
- A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.000 out of 4.000 in graduate work at the Guildhall.
- A portfolio consisting of examples that showcase the applicant’s aptitude and preparation in his/her intended field, as well as satisfactory completion of an assignment specific to the applicant’s chosen area of specialization.
- An essay describing the applicant’s motivation in obtaining an M.I.T. degree, areas of interest and the ways the he or she will contribute to the M.I.T. program.
- A resume.
- At least two letters of recommendation from Guildhall professors.
Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirement in their undergraduate work may be considered on the basis of other factors, including GRE graduate school entry exam scores, strong employment history, publications and other academic experience. In particular, transcripts indicating successful completion of graduate-level courses in other areas of study may be taken into consideration if the applicant’s undergraduate GPA is below 3.000.
Students with a Guildhall certificate are considered to have satisfied residency requirements and may therefore complete their master’s degree work away from the campus. However, students should expect to be physically present on campus whenever it is deemed important by the student’s advisory committee, including during the initial meeting to approve the student’s proposal and the final defense. Thesis requirements must be completed within three years of the date that certificate requirements are completed.
The specialized cohort nature of the Guildhall program precludes admission with advanced standing from other graduate programs. Students admitted with advanced standing into the master’s degree program take the following courses:
HGME 6170 , HGME 6171 , HGME 6172 - Master’s Thesis I, II, III: Post Certificate.
For students requiring a U.S. visa, it is mandatory that the following forms be completed and returned with the application to SMU Guildhall:
- Financial Certification for Study at SMU (form must be completed, notarized and converted into U.S. dollars).
- F-1 Compliance Form.
- Health care information.
Documents returned by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) should be in PDF format. The address is SMU Guildhall, Hart eCenter, Attn: Admissions, 5232 Tennyson Parkway, Building 2, Plano TX 75024. Additional information is found on the SMU International Center website (www.smu.edu/international).