MSc Information Studies: Game Studies

University of Amsterdam

Program Description

MSc Information Studies: Game Studies

University of Amsterdam

Game Studies focuses on the advanced analysis of applied games at an academic level, and aims to translate the needs of stakeholders and theory into innovative game concepts. It is an interdisciplinary field of study at the cutting edge of information studies, psychology, (new) media studies and intelligent computing systems.

Is Game Studies at the UvA the study for me?

Game Studies is the programme for you, if you:

  • want to gain insight into the development of applied games, and the impact games can have on people, organisations and society
  • want to understand how games are designed for different purposes
  • use your background for the application of games in various domains
  • are creative and want to look beyond standard solutions
  • have affinity with technology and design
  • would like to join a population of highly motivated fellow students, with a broad range of educational backgrounds
  • like to collaborate actively in interdisciplinary projects focused on envisioning serious gaming designs
  • are willing to contribute to game events like game nights, boot camps and game jams.

What does Game Studies at the UvA have to offer me?

Game Studies makes use of concepts and technologies derived from games for non-entertainment purposes, such as healthcare, behavioural therapy, learning in schools and research, and policy decision-making. It aims to translate the needs of end users into innovative combinations of interdisciplinary scientific insight and novel technology. The programme examines subjects like:

  • theory of play/ game
  • theory of game design
  • game development
  • technology for games
  • evaluation of games
  • psychology of gaming
  • mobile gaming
  • ethics.

The Amsterdam region is ideally suited to research these subjects. With over 160 companies and research institutions, it offers an environment of unrivaled innovation and forms one of the most important European centres in the area of ICT and gaming.

Programme outline

The first semester provides an overview of the Game Studies domain including essential concepts, theories and problems. The course Games in Society focusses on the field’s current research issues with respect to social impact of games as well as their impact on game design. Psychology of Effective Gaming gives insight in human- and cognitive aspects of gaming. And Technology for Games concentrates on how novel game technology may be employed for creating affective and individually-tailored game experiences. The course Interdisciplinary Research Methodology provides the opportunity to further explore the means of interdisciplinary work. And in Project Game Development you can apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired to develop a game for real problems in business or society.

In the second semester the focus is on specialisation and consist of several elective courses; Innovation and Design Thinking, Mobile Systems, Social Web, Information Visualisation. Also, it is possible to elect courses from related disciplines, such as Artificial Intelligence, Media Studies, and other related domains. This period during the studies is where you can learn more about the specific topics in which you are interested.

Master's thesis

The last part of the Game Studies programme is dedicated to an individual research project, culminating in a Master's thesis. This can be a specific evaluation of a game device, or a more general analysis of a gaming environment to foster the understanding of gaming in a social setting. The thesis project can be conducted at an research organisation (such as TNO), in collaboration with an industrial partner, or within an ongoing research programme at the UvA. Examples of Game Studies research questions include:

  • Which particular stroke patients benefit most from specific gaming approaches?
  • How is a gaming system for retraining complex arm function accepted by the investigated target group?
  • Does a serious gaming element X facilitate the change of personal development for the domain of Y?
  • How can time and resources for game development be minimised without compromising the quality of the game outcome?
  • How can you model serious gaming behaviour in the context of social group control?

Entry requirements

The track Game Studies is open to applicants with an academic bachelor's degree, an average final grade of 7 or higher and an affinity for games and technology.

Students from various disciplines are eligible, such as:

  • Information Studies
  • Game development
  • Computer science
  • Communication Studies
  • Business Studies
  • Psychology
  • Media studies
  • Health and life sciences
  • Cultural studies
  • Pedagogy
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Cost & Fees

The statutory tuition fee (except for the part-time rate) is determined annually by the Dutch government. Institutional tuition fee rates are set by the higher education institutions individually, and apply to students who do not meet the conditions for the statutory tuition fee rate.

The tuition fee rate is valid for a full academic year. The rate for enrolment as of 1 February can be determined by calculating 7/12ths of the given rate.

Statutory tuition fees 2016-2017

Specification Amount

  • full-time students € 1,984
  • part-time students € 1,706
  • dual programme students € 1,984
  • AUC students € 4,154
  • PPLE students € 3,968

Information for students from the Netherlands, the EEA, the EU, Switzerland and Suriname.

Students from the Netherlands, other countries within the European Economic Area (EEA), the EU, Switzerland and Suriname pay the statutory tuition fees if they satisfy the legal requirements. Institutional fee for students who do not qualify for the statutory fees

You are required to pay the institutional tuition fee if:

  • you are not a national of an EU or EEA Member State, Switzerland or Suriname;
  • after obtaining your Dutch Bachelor's degree you enrol in a second Bachelor's programme;
  • after obtaining your Dutch Master's degree you enrol in a second Master's programme;
  • you fail to satisfy all the conditions under one of the UvA's transitional arrangements. You can find the regulations in the 2015-2016 Enrolment Provisions or the 2016-2017 Enrolment Provisions (in Dutch).

Last updated April 19, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
12 months
Full time
12,000 EUR
Start date Sept. 2017
Netherlands Amsterdam
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 12 months
Price 12,000 EUR
institutional fee, per year.