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Design is all around us. It shapes our experience with everything we use, interact with, or play. What makes those interactions fun, useful, or engaging? How can we design systems to allow users to get the most fun, the most enjoyment, the greatest payoff? How do we provide the best value for the user’s investment of time and energy?

The Bachelor of Arts in Game Design helps you create compelling interactive systems — from sophisticated user interfaces to polished games and applications. In addition to extensive design coursework, you’ll delve deep into psychology, communications, and user experience with an eye for crafting powerful experiences.


Who Should Pursue This Degree?

Do you find yourself not only enjoying games but thinking deeply about them as you play? Are you the kind of person who feels compelled to ask, ‘How would I make this even better?’ The BA in Game Design program is for creative-minded students who are deeply curious to understand the behavior and psychology behind games and eager to learn the skills and methods for designing fun and engaging interactive systems. Throughout the program, students spend a significant amount of time prototyping, testing, and rapidly developing many different game ideas, all while studying a diverse range of topics. If you like the idea of constantly putting yourself in the player’s shoes and skillfully blending the mechanical, spatial, and narrative aspects of the game experience, then the BA in Game Design program may be a good fit for you.

As a student in this program, you will:

  • Design Original Games and Applications

    Work as a designer on interdisciplinary teams to create polished game experiences with original systems and mechanics.

  • Learn How to Rapidly Prototype Your Ideas

    Master the cycle of design, user testing, and iteration to ensure your work products are intuitive and effective.

  • Study Human Behavior from a Variety of Lenses

    Learn about psychology, storytelling, and other subjects as they relate to interactive media and user experiences.


Academic Roadmap

Similar to a video game skill tree, the BA in Game Design lets you specialize in the areas that best match your unique strengths and interests. Design curriculum is centered on the following six specialization tracks:

  • Systems design
  • Level design
  • User Experience (UX) design
  • Narrative design
  • Technical design
  • User research

In the first two years, you’ll take introductory courses in all six aspects of design. By the start of your junior year, having learned about each track, you’ll select two specialization tracks in which to pursue your advanced design studies. Throughout the program, you’ll also take coursework in cognitive psychology, scripting languages, economics, and communications, as well as a sampling of courses involving math, art, music, and basic computer science as they relate to the work of professional designers. On top of this, you’ll collaborate with your peers — and across disciplines — on a series of semester- and year-long game projects.

View a sample course sequence

Admissions Requirements

The BA in Game Design program is ideal for students with a strong foundation in writing, communications, and psychology. In addition to all the standard admissions requirements for undergraduate students, your application to the BA in Game Design program must also include a design portfolio that demonstrates your prior creative work and the processes used to make it.

View all requirements

Topics Covered

Students in the BA in Game Design program will focus on the following subjects:

  • Game design and development, including game mechanics and history, design documentation, scripting and programming, 2D and 3D level design, character design, playtesting, interface design, product management, and team game project implementation.
  • The humanities and arts, including writing, psychology, film, audio, architecture, drawing, and 2D and 3D art, with the option to study advanced topics in these areas.
  • Foundational math and science courses, including the fundamentals of scripting languages, mathematics, and physics.

Event Schedule

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Welcome to DigiPen with President Claude Comair

Saturday, July 10, 2021 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Welcome to DigiPen with President Claude Comair

Saturday, July 10, 2021 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

This two-hour Deep Dive session offers a broad overview of DigiPen itself and is especially helpful for students and families who haven’t attended one of our online or in-person events before.

This session will include:

  • A welcome talk with Claude Comair, founder and president of DigiPen
  • A brief overview of the degree programs
  • An overview of financial aid, types of accepted aid, available scholarships, and more 
  • An overview of student services, housing, Disability Support Services, and student life
  • A Q&A with staff from Admissions, Financial Aid, and Student Affairs
  • A panel of current DigiPen students discussing student life

RSVP Today

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Game Design Programs

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Game Design Programs

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Join us online for the DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series! Wednesday, July 14 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST, we’ll have faculty members and students live on stream to share their insights and take your questions about our game design degree programs.

RSVP Today

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Project-Based Learning

Friday, July 16, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Project-Based Learning

Friday, July 16, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Join us online for the DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series! Friday, July 16 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST, we’ll discuss our project-based learning approach to have students learn to collaborate in cross-disciplinary teams involving several different majors, which accurately simulates the professional production process found in the real world. We’ll have faculty expand on this educational philosophy and explain why it’s been so successful in preparing our graduates for their future careers.

To wrap up our Deep Dive Series, DigiPen Founder and President Claude Comair will offer a closing talk and take your questions live.

RSVP Today

DigiPen Student Stories

Student Projects

Multidisciplinary team projects make up a core component of the BA in Game Design curriculum. As a student in the program, you will work with your classmates on a series of original game and interactive media projects that will allow you to gain firsthand experience in contributing your design expertise while working as part of a larger creative team. These projects serve as a primary avenue for exploring your interests in game mechanics and systems, compelling narratives, and seamless user experiences. These are just a few examples of game projects that BA in Game Design students have worked on.

Meet the Faculty

BA in Game Design faculty come to DigiPen from many corners of the game industry as award-winning board game designers, MMO pioneers, and veteran developers from major studios and startups alike. These are just a few of the faculty who teach core courses in the program.

DigiPen Faculty Jeremy Holcomb

Jeremy Holcomb

Program Director (BA in Game Design)

Jeremy Holcomb is a game designer with extensive experience in the design, development, and marketing of tabletop board and card games. He has over 20 board game design credits. His game The Duke, which he co-designed for publisher Catalyst Game Labs in 2013, earned a 2014 Mensa Select award.

DigiPen Faculty Ellen Guon Beeman

Ellen Guon Beeman

Senior Lecturer

Ellen Guon Beeman is a videogame designer and producer, with extensive experience in developing mobile, web, massively multiplayer, and console games. She has worked on over fifty games, initially with games in the award-winning Wing Commander series, and her roster of titles includes games based on major properties such as Marvel and Disney movies, and most recently, an array of indie mobile games. She has a wide array of skills including Agile game development, business development and entrepreneurship, marketing and PR, community, social media, and monetization and metrics strategies.

DigiPen Faculty Richard Thames Rowan

Richard Thames Rowan

Department Co-Chair

Richard Rowan has been passionate about games his entire life, beginning his exploration of game design at the age of four. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Gaming Systems & Applications at Western Washington University, he immediately launched his 20-year career in the game industry, where he worked in quality assurance, design, and production.


Career Outlook

As a graduate of the BA in Game Design program, you will have the skills and collaborative experience to pursue any number of professional design roles within game development and beyond. Program alumni have gone on to work as entrepreneurs, entry-level game designers, and more.

Potential Careers

Game Designer

Game design is a broad term that can encompass many unique job types. In general, a game designer works to create and refine the interrelated systems that make up a game playing experience, from the mechanics of combat in a fighting game to the complex menu navigation in an online RPG. They often work closely with engineers and people from other disciplines to implement and fine-tune their design concepts.

Level Designer

A level designer is typically responsible for designing the individual missions or stages of a game, including the spatial arrangement of maps and locations. In addition to relying on their well-honed intuitive senses, level designers must also rigorously test and iterate on their designs by incorporating user feedback.

UX Designer

The work of the user experience (UX) designer can be seen across many industries, from games to business to museums and more. A UX designer seeks to make a product or experience more satisfactory and accessible for the end user, whether the end result is an intuitive mobile phone app or a more streamlined in-store checkout system. To get there, the designer will rely on a large set of tools and responsibilities, including user research, paper prototyping, wireframing, and usability testing.

Entry-Level Job Titles

  • Game Designer

  • User Interface Designer

  • User Experience Designer

  • Game Scripter

  • Technical Designer

  • System Designer

  • Level Designer

  • Content Designer

  • Encounter Designer

  • Quest Designer

Senior-Level Job Titles

  • Lead Designer

  • Creative Director

  • Director

Other/Related Job Titles

  • Producer

  • Program Manager

  • Writer

  • Technical Writer

  • Editor

  • Artist

  • Technical Artist

Collage of images from game screenshots, including a dragon, porcelein doll, blocks, and aliens.

Be sure to check out the dozens of student game trailers, and see what DigiPen students were up to throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

Bullets shatter soda bottles, snacks, and a neon sign as a Defender character from Due Process dodges gunfire.

Innovative design by this alumni-founded studio is making their tactical FPS a Steam success.

Excalibots screenshot: Robot knight swings sword at cluster of enemy goblins in a field of flowers

The DigiPen students of team MooseBear take a look back at the making of their 3D hack-and-slash adventure starring a sword-collecting robot knight.

Take the Next Step

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