Game Studies and Design
Graduate Minor

The graduate GAME STUDIES & DESIGN MINOR is a set of courses that fosters graduate level critical, theoretical, and methodological approaches to game studies. This degree has been designed for students who have been admitted to the Graduate College in any campus program, whose research or professional interests with the study and design of games, gaming, game design and the digital, VR/XR and AI technologies involved with the crafting of interactive systems and interfaces relevant to the game, film, education, and media industries, as well as a range of other emerging professions.

Through this minor, students will join an interdisciplinary community of faculty and graduate students who are thinking critically about and conducting research on the history, cultural meaning, social impact, ethics, educational uses, theoretical basis, and increasingly significant role of games, gaming, and interactive media in a diverse society, or who are pursuing interests in advanced methodological, computational, aesthetic, and design aspects of games broadly defined.

Why Game Studies & Design?

This versatile minor is intended to offer interdisciplinary support for game-related research being done within students’ primary disciplines. Students whose work is unrelated to games will also benefit from this minor, since it offers them training in and experience with cutting edge technologies and design processes as well as a critical lens through which to understand these new technologies

The game industry market value was estimated at $134.9 billion in 2018, a 10.9% increase over 2017. The estimated size of the 2019 game market is $152 billion, demonstrating a clear and upward trend. New technologies are also creating new markets; cloud-based gaming, for example is projected to grow in vlaue to $4 billion by 2023

Our Game Studies & Design program, however, does not only serve students with ambitions towards research and development related to the thriving video game industries. Our program will also provide a community for students interested in research and development related to game-like environments of social media, pervasive and invasive uses of chatbots, or related to VR and AI applications in medical, educational, or business fields, for example.

What can
a student do
with a minor
in Game
Studies & Design?

requirements for the Minor

Students are required to take the colloquium course GSD 500, one of two seminar courses, GSD 501 or GSD 502 and at least 8 credit hours of approved elective courses.

The minimum total hours required to earn the minor is 13 credit hours

Required Colloquium– 0/1 credit hour (students are encouraged to attend every semester but must register at least once for 0 credits and at least once for 1 credit, which includes a presentation)
  • GSD 500: Colloquium in Game Studies & DesignThis once weekly orientation to graduate study in games studies and game design at the University of Illinois will be offered in fall semesters and will feature presentations of research and professional activities by faculty, advanced graduate students, and staff who will share their game-related research and design projects and provide students with a broad introduction to critical, theoretical and methodological approaches to the field. Some sessions will meet in labs and makerspaces around campus, familiarizing students with facilities and support services available to them for their own research and design projects. Students are required to take this course once for credit. Graduate students enrolled in the Graduate Minor will be expected to return to the seminar as a guest speaker near the end of their program, to share their work.

Required Seminar– 1 unit (4 credit hours), students choose one
  • GSD 501: Seminar in Game Studies– This team-taught seminar provides students an in-depth exploration of significant areas of social, psychological, historical, and critical game studies, focusing on theoretical approaches, methodological issues and aspects of contemporary game studies research. This course is intended to create an intellectual community for game studies minors whose main interest is research on or through games, rather than on the design and development of games. Guest speakers from participating academic units will help to moderate interdisciplinary a series of discussions on a range of theoretical methodological issues pertinent to contemporary academic game studies research. Graduate students who take this course as part of their minor degree will be expected to return to the seminar as a guest speaker near the end of their program, to share their research.
  • GSD 502: Seminar in Game Design-  This team-taught seminar provides students an in-depth exploration of game design methodologies across a range of modalities (board games, interactive narrative games, role-playing games, video games, escape rooms). This course is meant to create an intellectual community for game studies minors whose main interest is in the design and development of games, either by themselves, or with applications in their own disciplinary areas. Guest speakers from participating units across campus will present their work as it pertains to game design and development. Graduate level readings will address contemporary game design challenges. Students who take this course as part of their minor degree will be expected to return to the seminar as a guest speaker near the end of their program, to share their game design accomplishments or ongoing work.
* If both courses are taken the second serves as an elective in the minor Required Electives– 2 unit (8 credit hours)
  • An approved elective game studies course at the 500 level
  • An approved elective game studies course at the 400/500 level
A minimum of 13 total credit hours required to earn the minor

There are 10 suggested pathways to help focus the minor in an area of interest: Design, Programming, Education & Research, Film & Media, Music, Sound & Dance, Narrative, Play Studies, Theater, and Visual Arts. These pathways are suggestions; students may choose any combination of classes on the approved list.

How To Declare the minor

The Game Studies & Design minor program is open to graduate students from all colleges and disciplines. It complements the backgrounds of those majoring in any field, whether your college is liberal arts and sciences, engineering, fine arts, applied health sciences, information science, or any other!

  • Complete the Minor Declaration form online
  • Once Game Studies & Design approves, the form will be routed to your college for their approval. Your college will add the minor to your degree audit
  • Email game-studies@illinois.edu with any questions

meet with an
advisor

If you already are a Game Studies & Design minor and have some questions or are interested in declaring a Game Studies & Design minor, please sign up for an advising appointment.