Master of Fine Arts Game Design

The MFA in Game Design is for creative visionaries intent on producing socially, culturally, and emotionally substantial work. The degree prepares students to advance the frontier of games by exploring emerging theories and applying them to practice. The games students create throughout their degree will be challenged by peers and faculty in critiques. Graduates of the program will be equipped to define and realize their authentic, thriving professional lives. An MFA is also a terminal degree that opens opportunities to teach at the university level and enter an academic tenure-track career.

DePaul’s game design programs are nationally recognized. The Princeton Review ranked our graduate program #17 on its list of the Top 25 Graduate Schools to Study Game Design in 2018, and Animation Career Review ranked DePaul #7 nationally in their Top 50 Game Design Schools of 2018.

Student Showcases

girl using AR set

MFA Game Design students showcase their games that advance the medium including VR, tabletop, and digital games at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. Additionally, there are two annual events—a public showcase and a private showcase for industry professionals—where students exhibit games they’ve developed as thesis projects.

Game Design Student Reel

DePaul CDM Game Student Reel 
  • Brian Schrank

    Brian is the author of Avant-garde Videogames: Playing with Technoculture, and the director of the Virtual and Augmented Design Lab. Most recently, he co-curated the “Hey! Play! Games in Modern Culture” exhibit at the Chicago Design Museum.

  • Doris Rusch

    Doris is a game designer, researcher, and play aficionado who directs the Deep Games Lab. Her work and research focuses primarily on games that reflect the human experience and can be used for mental health activism.

  • Peter McDonald

    Peter’s research focuses on the ways that players make sense of and interpret games. He has worked on several large-scale games with funding from the MacArthur Foundation and NSF, and his work has appeared in Games & Culture, The American Journal of Play, and Analog Game Studies.

  • Allen Turner

    Allen is the former Lead Designer and Game Director at Wideload Games/Disney Interactive Studios. He is a faculty mentor for the Interdisciplinary Design program, a partnership with the Chicago Housing Authority.

students using AR 

Virtual and Augmented Design Lab

Our newest game lab VAD hosts classes and projects to research and develop experimental games on emerging platforms. Current lab works includes AR development with Apple pushing the affordances of the ARKit on iPhone, and a VR game project exploring deformable virtual surfaces via hand and foot trackers.

Tea and Consequenes logo  

Tea & Consequences

Game Designer in Residence Anna Anthropy hosts this semi-monthly board game tea social, open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

busy downtown Chicago near DePaul CDM campus  

Indie City Games

This monthly symposium is held at DePaul. Local game professionals from industry give talks, share games in development, and critique each other’s work.

visitors engaging in a fun interaction at an exhibit 

Student and Faculty Exhibitions

Game Design students and faculty participate in a wide range of exhibitions, including “Hey! Play! Games in Modern Culture” at the Chicago Design Museum, which ran from October 2017-March 2018.

 

Japan Study Abroad

This biennial trip takes students to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nagoya on tours of Japanese game and animation studios, galleries, and cultural sites.

 

Deep Games Lab

Housed in CDM, the Deep Games Laboratory focuses on the design, research, and assessment of games that explore the human experience. Students and faculty in the lab create games that reflect social struggles.

Application Deadlines

Enrollment QuarterDomestic Student DeadlineInternational Student Deadline
Fall (Priority Deadline)December 15December 15
Fall (Final Deadline)March 1March 1

Admission Process

The graduate application process involves completing an online application, sending in your transcripts and submitting any supplemental material (e.g., letters of recommendation, certifications, etc.). To learn more about your program specific requirements, visit our Graduate Admission page.

Admission Requirements

Contact Graduate Admission

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