Master in Game Development

Academy of Art University

Program Description

Master in Game Development

Academy of Art University

game dev

The MFA Game Development program allows students to further their careers by synthesizing traditional art and design fundamentals with today’s groundbreaking technologies. Students level up their skill through hands-on prototyping of game mechanics and art creation, followed by creating a thesis project and an industry-quality portfolio.

MFA Game Development Unit Requirements

  • Major 27 units
  • Directed Study 18 units
  • Graduate Liberal Arts 12 units
  • Electives* 6 units

TOTAL 63 units

*Per director approval

MFA Game Development Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units

MFA Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

MFA Thesis Project

  • Present an original thesis concept worthy of the MFA degree
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of the thesis project
  • Create a thesis project that demonstrates a mastery of interactive game design and specialized knowledge of game art or game and level design.

Visual Communication

Critically evaluate the aesthetics, meaning and effect of imagery.


  • Demonstrate mastery of the tools and technology related to area of specialty
  • Demonstrate familiarity with contemporary game production technology and processes by completing game documents and a playable level

Presentation Skills

Present their ideas and solutions in a cogent and well-organized manner.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

  • Create project schedules and milestones and manage resources to meet project goals
  • Research and generate workable solutions under a deadline.
  • Demonstrate a sophisticated level of understanding of game art or design

Professional Readiness

  • Produce a professional demo reel or portfolio which meets industry standards.
  • Work cooperatively and effectively in a production environment.

Specialty Skills: Game Art

  • Model, texture and light 3-dimensional forms that are genre and format specific.
  • Implement industry and hardware budgets and prepare files for production.
  • Implement concepts in 2D or 3D within budget and to project specifications

Specialty Skills: Game & Level Design

  • Communicate abstract ideas using game design documents and 2D maps
  • Create playable games with both vector and 3D technology

Visit to learn more about total costs, median student loan debt, potential occupations and other information. Accredited Member WSCUC, NASAD, CIDA (BFA-IAD, MFA-IAD), NAAB (B.ARCH*, M.ARCH), CTC (California Teacher Credential). Acting degree program is currently not offering online courses. **B.ARCH is currently in candidacy status.

All international students will require a VISA to enter the US and an OPT application to extend their stay after graduation. Selecting a STEM approved program allows for the benefit of being able to apply for an extended 24-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) stay to work in the country after graduation.

The following Academy majors qualify for the 24-month STEM Extension: Advanced Architectural Design; Advertising; Advertising & Branded Media Technology; Animation & Visual Effects; Architecture; Architectural Design; Art Education; Communications & Media Technologies; Game Development; Game Programming; Graphic Design; Graphic Design & Digital Media; Industrial Design; Interior Architecture & Design; New Media & Web Design. For more information on approved STEM programs, how to apply, and more common questions about studying as an international student at the Academy of Art University, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page here.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 21, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus or Online
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
2 - 3 years
Full time
982 USD
Start date Sept. 2017
USA San Francisco, California
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 2 - 3 years
Price 982 USD
per unit - 3 units per class.