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 degree programs are among the best in the country, according to 2023 rankings from the Princeton Review and Animation Career Review.

Degree Requirements

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Situate their creative practice within historical, aesthetic, and social contexts; design and develop games that are significant in those contexts.
  • Leverage the affordances of games to intentionally evoke specific emotions and experiences, purposefully communicate ideas as well as have the desired social impact.
  • Critique games from a variety of perspectives including historical, aesthetic, and social.
  • Iteratively build projects up from simple prototypes to increasingly complex systems.

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.

  • Lien Tran

    Lien is an award-winning designer who has serious fun breaking down real-world complexity into interactive systems, including social justice. Her design portfolio includes online and game-based tools for organizations such as Open Society Foundations, World Bank, and United Nations and a variety of interactive and game-based tools with collaborators in health education, human rights law, and geography/GIS.

  • Mike DeAnda

    In his research, Mike studies the communication of queer lived experiences and modes of knowledge production through games. He uses game design as research praxis, and designs games that comment on structures of gender and sexuality, envisioning possible interventions to the social injustices uncovered through his research

DePaul Originals

three students around a table working

DePaul Originals is a game development studio located on our Loop campus. Its focus is the production of high quality game experiences that are delivered on commercial platforms. School of Design faculty Allen Turner serves as the lab’s creative director.

students in a computure lab checking out others work 

Games Showcase

Each year, we host a public celebration of student game development at DePaul, showcasing games made for Capstone and MFA thesis projects. Special guests, including industry professionals, attend.

students using AR 

Virtual and Augmented Design Lab

Our Virtual and Augmented Design 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.

Students working on a whiteboard  

Matters at Play

Matters at Play (M@P) is a transdisciplinary design lab focused on partnering in the creation of interactive advocacy solutions for positive social transformations - especially regarding social justice, health, and environmental issues. M@P both incubates and launches projects for real-world impact as part of a faculty-student collaborative as well as in the classroom context. Partners include advocacy, government, non-government, and/or academic organizations looking to use interactivity in both digital and analog contexts with the goal of informing and transforming society and its people.


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.

visitors engaging in a fun interaction at an exhibit  

Game Community

At DePaul, it’s not just about the program and classes, but about the connections. There is a strong game community and culture, allowing students to get involved with other students, faculty, and professionals. Students can join one of several game-related student organizations, take part in Train Jam on the way to GDC, tour local game studios, hang out in our gameplay lab, participate in Global Game Jam, or hit the Esports Center.


IndieCade Horizons

DePaul is an academic partner with IndieCade Horizons, allowing our students to attend playtesting and conference events for free, and have the opportunity to have their work showcased.

Application Deadlines

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

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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