The B.S. in Game Design takes a social systems approach to game design, emphasizing the creative symbiosis that develops when game designers combine the age-old arts of storytelling and illustration with powerful new media platforms and state-of-the-art animation to translate their vision into compelling virtual realities.
While pursuing a B.S. in Game Design, you will complete an intensive, three-semester sequence in which you will develop and publish your own game! This sequence is modeled after working game studios and will prepare you for immediate entry into the game industry.
Instead of the concentration and specialization components of other Media School degrees, and in keeping with the pre-professional design of many B.S. degrees, you will complete 54 credit hours of courses focused on the skills and knowledge required of game designers. These courses will be taught by faculty who have both notable experience in the game industry and extensive academic backgrounds in game design and related fields.
If you have interests in game programming, graphic design, animation, or music composition and sound production for multi-media, you will be able to use your elective courses from the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design, and the Jacobs School of Music toward your degree.
The Media School offers minors and certificates for students majoring in other subjects. Among these minors and certificates are a minor in Game Design and a certificate in New Media and Interactive Storytelling. It also offers specializations in Game Art, Game Audio, and Game Production for Media School students pursuing the B.A. in Media.
You will begin your B.S. in Game Design with the Media School core, which investigates the concepts, skills and techniques you will learn in the rest of your Media School classes as they map onto the complex and rapidly evolving landscape of contemporary media.
- Introduction to Media: MSCH-C 101 Media
- a Managing Media course: MSCH-C 200 The Videogame Industry: Systems and Management
- a Thinking Media course: MSCH-C 210 Introduction to Games
- a Making Media course: MSCH-C 220 Game Technology
Due to course sequencing later in the degree, MSCH-C 210 Introduction to Games and MSCH-C 220 Game Technology must be taken in the Fall semester of your second year at the latest in order to maintain a 4-year graduation time-frame.
Tracks and concentrations
The B.S. in Game Design does not include Media School concentrations and specializations that the B.A. in Media and B.A. in Journalism require. Instead, you will take three courses from one elective area to form an area of expertise, and two additional Media School courses or approved Informatics courses.
The elective areas are:
- Art – with coursework from The Media School and the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design
- Game Design Theory – with coursework from The Media School, Department of Economics, Department of Mathematics, Department of Statistics, Department of Political Science, and the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering
- Games and Mind – with coursework from The Media School, Cognitive Science Program and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
- Management, Advertising and Public Relations – with coursework from The Media School
- Programming – with coursework from The Media School and the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering
- Sound – with coursework from The Media School and the Jacobs School of Music
Upper level coursework
You will begin your upper-level coursework with three classes in developmental skills:
- MSCH-G 300 Game Production I
- MSCH-G 310 Game Design I: Concepts
- MSCH-G 320 Game Art & Sound
Using work done in these courses, you’ll compile a portfolio for review to make sure you’re ready to advance to the more advanced courses that follow.
You then continue to more advanced courses required by the degree, which expand on your developmental skills:
- MSCH-G 400 Game Production II
- MSCH-G 410 Game Design II: Systems
Typically in your last two years, you will finish your degree with the game workshop sequence, which is modeled after game studios, and have a published game by the time you graduate:
- MSCH-G 450 Game Workshop I: Prototype
- MSCH-G 460 Game Workshop II: Demo
- MSCH-G 470 Game Workshop III: Publish
Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates
Your major represents about one half of your degree requirements. With the help of your undergraduate Media School academic advisors, you may be able to combine several areas of interest with additional majors, minors, or certificates.
Depending on your interests and even your chosen elective area, you might choose to add any of the following minors or certificates:
- Cognitive Science, Creative Writing, Economics, Economics & Political Science, Math, or Psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences
- Studio Art, Illustration, or Creative Technologies in Art and Design from the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design within the College of Arts and Sciences
- Liberal Arts and Management from the Liberal Arts and Management Program within the College of Arts and Sciences
- Human-Centered Computing or Informatics from the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering
- Music Scoring for Visual Media or Music Minor for Non-Music Majors from the Jacobs School of Music
- Business, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, or Marketing from the Kelley School of Business
There are plenty of other opportunities for additional majors, minors, and certificates.
- Enhance your major
Working with faculty
When pursuing a degree in Game Design, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in the field. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.
You can get involved in research as early as your freshman year. Many incoming freshmen apply to the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) program. ASURE students experience project-based learning enhanced by a community of supportive faculty and peers. Choose an ASURE path in the arts and humanities, social and historical studies, or natural and mathematical sciences. Consider joining one that will deepen your skills and knowledge in an area related to your major or a different one to become a more well-rounded thinker.
Practicums and other professional learning classes, internships for credit, classes with an international travel component, and proposals to design independent research courses are all options that can be built into your undergraduate experience. Explore the possibilities with the help of your academic advisors.
The faculty in Game Design include people who have worked in senior positions in the game industry, as well as globally known academic researchers. Students are encouraged to consult with Professor Mike Sellers, director of the Game Design B.S. degree program.
The Media School offers the Media Scholars honors program for both Game Design B.S. and Media B.A. students. Media Scholars receive enhanced opportunities during their undergraduate studies. Such opportunities include honors-level media courses and subsidies for international travel courses. Media Scholars also have special opportunities to engage with media professionals on campus and further afield to develop their professional skills and perspectives during their degree program.
The Academic Honors Program is also available for students in The Media School. This program allows select rising juniors to complete honors coursework and a senior thesis or project.
Undergraduate scholarships and awards
Indiana University students can find a variety of scholarships through the following offices or organizations:
- Indiana University Foundation
- IU Alumni Association
- Office of Scholarships
- Office of Overseas Study Scholarships
- The College of Arts and Sciences
Some scholarships include:
- Hutton International Experiences Program
- Sally Kissinger Wilt Merit Scholarship
- Service-Learning Student Travel Scholarship
The College of Arts and Sciences offers the following scholarships to Media School students who wish to study abroad:
The Media School also offers scholarships for which B.S. in Game Design students are eligible.
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs also offers scholarships.
Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their freshman year.
It is common for students pursuing careers in media to complete multiple internships before and/or shortly after graduating. The Media School website offers helpful resources for thinking ahead to this important form of preparation for your professional life:
- Read advice from IU students who have completed internships in media fields
- View lists of internships with specific organizations recently held by IU students in different areas of media
Internships at distant centers of the games industry may be possible, as well. Locations such as London, Tokyo, Paris, and Montreal would be likely choices. You might also be able to secure internships with game companies in the midwest.
Learn more about internships, including the possibility of receiving credit, through The Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you’ll find many resources for both domestic and international internships.
Foreign language study
As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 80 languages.
Language proficiency enhances your personal skillset in an increasingly international business environment. Improving your competency in a language you have already studied or learning a new language relevant to your goals will expand your personal and professional horizons.
B.S. in Game Design students must show proficiency at the third semester level of a foreign language. Learn more about the foreign language requirement for a College of Arts and Sciences degree.
Below is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington:
- Arabic Flagship Program
- Center for Language Technology
- Chinese Flagship Program
- Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships
- IU Language Workshop
- Language Tables
- Project GO
- Russian Flagship Program
Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in our increasingly interconnected world. Game Design students often pursue language study and other coursework through the following programs:
The College of Arts and Sciences also directly hosts a variety of study abroad programs, some even featuring IU faculty, that might be right for you. Learn more about study abroad opportunities and locations through conversation with Game Design faculty, your academic advisors, and through the Office of Overseas Study.
Game Design students are encouraged to join Gamedev@IU. You should also plan to attend a game developer conference as soon as possible.
The Center for Excellence for Women and Technology, or CEW&T, is also an option for Game Design students. CEW&T has established a special interest group on the IU Bloomington campus focused on women in gaming and game design.
Other relevant groups on campus include:
Student media opportunities in television, radio, print and online journalism allow you to create, produce, and manage media activities during your time at Indiana University.
Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.
There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement, allowing you to give back to the local community while developing useful job skills. The organizations below can help you connect with others from the university and beyond:
- IU Corps
- Student Involvement and Leadership Center
- TEDx Bloomington
- The Monroe County Public Library
Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.
Game Design students can also participate in service learning opportunities offered through The Media School.
Game Design students are encouraged to join the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). There is a chapter of this organization in Indianapolis. You can also read about new developments in the game industry at Gamasutra: The Art and Business of Making Games.
As a Game Design student, you may also be interested in the Association for Computing Machinery's (ACM's) following special interest groups:
- SIGCHI - Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction
- SIGGRAPH - Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques
- Build your skills
Through the major
The B.S. in Game Design provides you with a set of skills and qualities that are relevant and transferable to many areas of study and work. These include:
- Creative teamwork: function well in a team of mixed interests and skills, making a complex creative work
- Skills mastery: excellence in game design, art, sound, programming, or management
- Systems awareness: understand and deconstruct/reconstruct complex choice systems
- Game literacy: understand and be able to use hundreds of different game mechanics
- Creativity: develop your own voice and vision involving interactive systems and stories
- Communication: understand how to speak to and listen to people with different skills and interests, especially your players
- Entertainment business skills: the ability to pitch ideas, make demos, sell concepts, and develop a long-lasting reputation
Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree
Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following five foundational skills that will serve you well in every career path:
- Question critically
- Think logically
- Communicate clearly
- Act creatively
- Live ethically
These foundational skills will aid you in landing your first job and advancing professionally throughout your working life. Not only are these the skills that employers say they value most in the workplace, they provide the best preparation for lifelong success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and change.
Skills desired by employers
Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what key skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.
The following are some of the most commonly desired attributes across many employment sectors:
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work in a team
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Strong work ethic
- Analytical and quantitative skills
- Ability to take Initiative
- Being detail oriented
- Demonstrating adaptability
- Technical skills relevant to the field
- Interpersonal skills
- Computer skills
- Organizational ability
As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic advisor and career coach about how you can develop in those areas while you are at Indiana University.
- Launch your career
Plan your search
The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.
Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests. These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities and resources, and in-person events.
Maximize your career preparation with a career course. Game Design students should consider enrolling in ASCS-Q296 College to Career II: Navigate Your Arts and Sciences Experience. The section dedicated to Media provides the opportunity for you to explore the relationship between your field of study and life after graduation, while developing an academic and career development plan for post-collegiate success. If you are considering continuing your studies after graduation, you may wish to enroll instead in the section dedicated to graduate school preparation. Regardless of the section you select, you will leave the class with your resume, a cover letter or personal statement, and a LinkedIn profile ready to go!
The job market
Over 75% of U.S. households have at least one gamer, fueling over $43 billion in domestic revenue. The demand for interactive entertainment that immerses and engages the user has never been stronger. New VR, mobile, and other burgeoning technologies ensure a promising outlook for game designers who can successfully combine technical, artistic, and collaborative skills.
Students with the knowledge and skills gained through the B.S. in Game Design will be essential in the field for their storytelling abilities, illustration and graphic design sensibility, and animation skills. Game Design students also develop essential awareness of social systems theory, the gaming industry, and marketing.
Students with a B.S. in Game Design take their education in many directions. They are well prepared to work in game design and production, marketing, game industry management, film and television production, art direction, education, or as entrepreneurs.
Graduates with a B.S. in Game Design may become game designers, programmers, creative directors, visual artists, sound and production specialists, entrepreneurs, and educators, among a variety of other careers.
Initial and long-term destinations for graduates include positions in many job sectors: media, arts and entertainment, hospitality and tourism, technology and science, and education.
Want to see where your fellow majors go right after graduating from IU? Check out the Walter Center’s First Destinations survey!
Need more ideas? The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.
Post-graduate short-term experiences
After graduation, a short-term experience or internship can help you make connections, gain life skills, and assess your interest in future careers. Talk with one of your career coaches and use these and other resources to find opportunities that are a good fit with your educational experience and career goals:
- Blizzard Entertainment
- City Year
- Cultural Vistas
- Electronic Arts
- Global Experiences
- Indiana Game Developers
- Insomniac Games
- Riot Games
- Rockstar Games
- Sony Playstation
- Square Enix
Fellowships for post-graduate study
Fellowships are temporary opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund your education. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profits, and government organizations.
Good resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:
- Center for Gaming Research
- International Game Developers Association
- JOLT Fellowship
- Knight Foundation Programs
- ProFellow Funded Graduate Programs
Graduate and professional study
When applying to graduate or professional schools, you will need letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early in your academic career, to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.
The Game Design B.S. will prepare you for entry into graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, such as computer science, informatics, sociology, psychology, cognitive science, journalism, business, and fine arts, among others.
With careful planning, and in consultation with the Health Professions and Prelaw Center, you could also prepare to enter law school, medical school, or other professional programs.
Students who pursue graduate studies in Media have gone into careers with top academic and research institutions, game developers, private and public media corporations, and educational institutions.
Here are examples of graduate programs offered at IU:
- Arts Administration (M.A.)
- Business Administration (MBA)
- Cognitive Science (Ph.D.)
- Computer Science (M.S. and Ph.D.)
- Informatics (multiple M.S. and Ph.D.)
- Information Science (M.I.S and Ph.D.)
- Information Systems (M.S.)
- Media (M.S.)
- Media Arts and Sciences (M.A. and Ph.D.)
- Music (M.M. and Ph.D.)
- Psychology (Ph.D.)
- Sociology (Ph.D.)
- Studio Art (M.F.A.)
The IU College of Arts and Sciences has thousands of active alumni. Check out the College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.
Join the Walter Center Success Network to remain in touch, network directly with College of Arts and Sciences Alumni, and let others know where your path takes you.
Look into information on Media School alumni and the Media School alumni association. Join and use the IU Alumni Association to remain in touch, network directly, and let others know where your path takes you.
Is it for you?
This program embraces diversity and welcomes a variety of creative approaches to design and problem-solving. The B.S. in Game Design attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically have some of the following qualities:
- Desire to study, create, and play games
- Affinity for learning new technologies
- Aptitude for working in teams to achieve a creative goal
- Desire to understand how system theory can be used in a variety of fields
- Appreciation for a diversity of viewpoints
- Interest in the interdisciplinary nature of and synergy between various creative fields
Contact The Media School's academic advisors and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete information about the requirements for the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.
- Department website
- Advisor email address