Game Studies and Design
Undergraduate Minor

The undergraduate GAME STUDIES & DESIGN MINOR is a set of courses that fosters critical skills in academic game studies, and technical skills in game design. The minor will serve undergraduates who are interested in the study and design of games, gaming, game design and the digital, extended and virtual reality (XR/VR), and artificial intelligence (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 learn to think critically about the history, cultural meaning, social impact, ethics, and the increasingly significant role of games, gaming, and interactive media in a diverse society; they will develop the logical, algorithmic, narrative, and design capacities needed to make games, interactive narratives, and simulations; and they will become prepared for graduate work, if desired, on a path to pursuing a career in the game industry or in academic game studies research.

Why Game Studies & Design?

A Minor in Game Studies & Design can diversify your educational portfolio and complement your major. This minor signals not only that you have acquired design skills (relevant to games, but also other interactive media) but also that you are aware of the impact of games across sectors of society, and that you understand how games and game technologies can be applied more broadly, and in ethical and socially constructive ways.

Game Studies & Design will teach you to become a better creator and user of games and game technologies, and to think critically about their role in society.

Who should Minor in Game Studies & Design?

ANY STUDENT  who wants to learn more about game design, innovative applications of games and game technologies, the impact of games on society, or simply enjoys games!

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

The game industry market value for 2021 was expected to exceed $175 billion, and $200 billion by the end of 2023. New technologies are also creating new markets; cloud-based gaming, for example, which was valued at just $152 million in 2019, had an estimated 23.7 million paying users in 2021 and is projected to grow in value to $6 billion by 2024.

Our Game Studies & Design program, however, does not only serve students with ambitions towards the thriving video game industries (which offer careers for designers, programmers, graphic artists, sound technicians, composers, writers, developers of virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence technologies, among other emerging fields). Our program will also provide training to students headed towards many other professions as well; our students are likely to be asked to navigate the game-like environments of social media, to program chatbots for their employers’ websites, or to work with VR and AI applications in their medical, educational, or business fields, for example.

requirements for the Minor

Students are required to take three core courses: GSD 101, a minimum of one of the following historical/social perspectives courses: GSD 102, IS 199(section SHG), or JOUR 101, and at least one of the following introductory game design courses: GSD 103 or CI210.

In addition, students must complete 3 approved upper-level Games Studies electives totaling at least 9 credit hours.

The three required core courses provide a general and solid foundation in game studies. All three are introductory in nature and meet the university’s General Education requirements.

  • GSD 101-Introduction to Game StudiesThis broad survey course will provide students across campus an introduction to interdisciplinary game studies, covering both historical/social perspectives and game design. It will explore humanities, social science understandings of play, and the social contexts from which our games and gaming practices arise, as well as the development and consequences of gaming cultures.
  • A minimum of one 100-200 level historical/social perspectives course. Choose from the following:
      • GSD 102– Introduction to the Video Game Industry
      • IS 199– Undergraduate Open Seminar-section SHG: Social History of Games & Gaming
      • JOUR 101– Interactive Media & You
  • A minimum of one 100-200 level introductory game design course. Choose from the following:
        • GSD 103-The Basics of Game Design
        • CI 210Introduction to Digital Learning Environments

 

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 undergraduates from all colleges and majors. 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! It is recommended, but not required, that you apply before the end of your sophomore year so that you will receive proper advice, and notifications about new courses.  

  • 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

How To Declare the minor

The Game Studies & Design minor program is open to undergraduates from all colleges and majors. It complements the backgrounds of those majoring in any field, weather your college is liberal arts and sciences, engineering, fine arts, applied health sciences, information science or any other! It is recommended, but not required, that you apply before the end of your sophomore year so that you will receive proper advice, and notifications about new courses. To be officially enrolled, you must:

  • Sign up to meet with a Game Studies & Design Advisor
  • 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.

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.