SMU Guildhall, through the Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter, offers a Master of Interactive Technology degree in Digital Game Development with specializations in art creation, level design, production and software development. Additionally, a professional certificate in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art creation, level design and software development, is offered.
The curriculum is divided into three distinct components emphasizing course-work, team game production and directed focus study/thesis work. The coursework includes game studies, game design, team game production, specialization-specific courses, and special topics. A minimum of three team game production projects provide students with the experience of working in cross-disciplinary teams of varying sizes to produce playable 2-D and 3-D game demos. The directed focus study courses initiate students in the discipline of independent work in their respective area of specialization, producing content for their individual portfolios. The curriculum for the production specialization allows students to learn the fundamentals, experience production with their cohort teammates, and apply theory and experience to help produce the games of later cohorts. During the master’s thesis coursework, students in the master’s program, under the direction of their thesis adviser, select a thesis topic, research the chosen area, prepare the thesis document and prepare for the successful defense and exhibition of the chosen topic.
Team Game Production
Team game production is integral to the curriculum. Interdisciplinary teams are formed to produce games based on the specific skills taught in the specializations of art creation, level design, production and software development. Teamwork is a fundamental part of the educational experience as it allows students to work in a creative atmosphere where they make design decisions and realize them in a meaningful way. Each team is organized with students as leads, and each team experiences a product cycle from concept green light to product launch. The outcome of the project is a game that students present in their portfolio.
Directed Focus Study/Master’s Thesis
Directed focus study and thesis courses require students to investigate areas of personal interest and demonstrate the knowledge and mastery of their craft by creating individual portfolio pieces in their specialization area. In the production specialization, the directed focus study courses provide students with the practical experience of producing a game.
The master’s degree program includes a thesis project requirement in addition to the directed focus study element and attributes to it a significant portion of the total program credit hours to recognize the major effort associated with the completion of the thesis project. Each student in the master’s program must successfully complete a final defense and exhibition administered by the student’s thesis adviser.
Given the cross-disciplinary nature of the program, and the project and team-based curricular approach, students are admitted in cohorts that pursue the program in a lockstep fashion. One cohort is admitted each academic year, in the fall term. The degree requirements for the master’s degree and the professional certificate are detailed below.
Degree and Certificate Requirements
Cohort C33: Begin Fall 2023; Graduate Spring 2025
CoursesDigital Game Design
HGME courses at the 5000 level are for the B.S. in computer science/Guildhall M.I.T. and the B.F.A./Guildhall M.I.T. programs, and HGME courses at the 6000 level are for the M.I.T. and the professional Certificate in Digital Game Development programs.
Hart Digital Game Development
Hart Interactive Network Technologies