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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: Game Design Programs

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 4:00pm

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Game Design Programs

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 4:00pm

Join us online for the DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series! Wednesday, September 23 at 4:00 p.m. PDT, 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

Navigating Fall 2021 Admissions

Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 10:00am to 12:30pm

Navigating Fall 2021 Admissions

Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 10:00am to 12:30pm

Join us online for this webcast created for high school seniors and their families planning to apply for fall 2021 admissions. We will be covering the updates to the admissions process and how we’ve been adapting financial aid, housing, and student services during the pandemic. Register for the livestream today and be sure to ask us any questions you have for our staff and students.

RSVP Today

Live Webcast — Anatomy of a Game Team: Fall Edition

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:00pm

Live Webcast — Anatomy of a Game Team: Fall Edition

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:00pm

Meet with a game development team to unpack how DigiPen students create their own games from scratch. For a personal look at the art and science of making games at DigiPen, join us for this upcoming Online Info Session.

During the stream, you’ll be able to use our live chat platform to ask the students any questions you have about the process of video game development, so RSVP for a seat now and join us October 14 at 3:00 p.m. PST!

RSVP Today

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.


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

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.

Group photo with the 16 members of DigiPen student game team Nuclear Lunch

When members of student game team Nuclear Lunch decided to make a 3D action adventure for their junior-level project, it took a team effort to pull it off.

Iron Man flies through the sky with his fist at the ready.

Playstation VR’s immersive new superhero simulator comes courtesy of nine DigiPen graduates.

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