Best Online Master’s in Game Design

If you’re a talented art or design student that yearns to combine traditional art and design skills with the latest cutting-edge technologies, you should think about earning an online master’s degree in game design. 

Best Online Master’s in Game Design

Maybe you’re looking for a way to challenge your more traditional art talents, or you have a flair for digital design that you want to pursue, or maybe you just want to delve into the world of gaming with your existing design tools. If so, the institutions listed below can help you customize your art career and steer it into the modern, technological world of game development. Keep reading to investigate your options for an online master’s degree in game design.

What is an Online Master’s Degree in Game Design?

The creation and development of modern gaming focus on integrating the components of art and science with the culture of game development. In addition to providing entertainment, gaming has social, economic, and cultural implications for the global market.  

A master’s degree in game development can further hone your creative skills while also stimulating your entrepreneurial skills as both a designer and developer. A top master’s program can advance your gaming career to the next level by developing your skills in business strategies, planning, branding, and marketing for the modern gaming industry.

How Much Can You Earn With an Online Master’s Degree in Game Design?

Potential earnings with a master’s degree in game creation, development, marketing, or producing will vary due to the variety of occupational possibilities. For example, graduates can focus their career on modern game design and publishing, game research and development for a larger corporation, or choose a niche industry with existing products to evaluate and enhance. 

That said, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information research scientists that invent and design digital technology made a median salary of $122,840 in 2019. Computer programmers and developers earned an average of $86,550 annually and software developers made about $107,510 annually. 

What Is Required For an Online Master’s Degree in Game Design?

To obtain an online master’s degree in game design or game development, applicants need a bachelor’s degree in a liberal arts field or a computer science field. Most programs look for an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.0 or higher for application and a minimum of 36 credits to complete the master’s program. You can expect to complete a final project for the master’s program as well.

What Are the Best Online Master’s Degrees in Game Design?

OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program-specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program-specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.

  1. Academy of Art University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $23,568(in state) / $23,568(out of state)
    • Total of 36 credits for an MA and 63 credits for an MFA
    • Final thesis project or portfolio required  
    • 3.0 GPA to graduate

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76.80%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online32

    Program Level

    Median Debt$107,297
    Programs in Department12
    Popularity at School71.74%
    100%
    OSR Score

    You can earn a top-notch master’s degree in game development through the Academy of Art University online. The university offers a Master of Arts in Game Development that requires 36 credits, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Game Development that takes six semesters and requires 63 credits. Both master’s programs require an end of study project for graduation.

  2. Laguna College of Art and Design

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $34,500(in state) / $34,500(out of state)
    • Rolling admissions date 
    • The program starts each fall
    • Resume and two letters of recommendation needed to apply 

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction71.20%
    Admission Rate33%
    Programs offered online1

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School81.36%
    91%
    OSR Score

    Laguna College of Art and Design offers an online MFA degree that integrates the practice of game design with the theory of gaming. The two-year program is composed of 60 credits and trains students to create their own game prototypes. Gaming planning, branding, and marketing strategies are key concepts featured in the degree coursework.

  3. Full Sail University

    Full Sail University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $14,025(in state) / $14,025(out of state)
    • Thesis portfolio and presentation required to graduate 
    • 12-month program 
    • Total of 40 credits required 

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction78.40%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online24

    Program Level

    Median Debt$41,000
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School41.62%
    85%
    OSR Score

    If you’re looking for a master’s in gaming, Full Sail University specifically prepares students for specialized roles in the gaming industry. Hands-on coursework focuses students on user-experience research, production, and design by incorporating the skills needed to contribute to multidisciplinary development teams. At the most recent The Game Awards (2019), 223 Full Sail grads were credited on 27 nominated projects.

  4. Savannah College of Art and Design

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $36,765(in state) / $36,765(out of state)
    • 45 credit hours for the MA and 90 credit hours for the MFA
    • Portfolio of work required for graduation 
    • Virtual information sessions for applicants 

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74.60%
    Admission Rate93%
    Programs offered online5

    Program Level

    Median Debt$61,220
    Programs in Department7
    Popularity at School55.35%
    78%
    OSR Score

    For an MA or an MFA in Interactive Design and Game Development, Savannah College of Art and Design offers fully online programs. Students will choose a concentration area for their course study and are invited to attend annual in-person launch events to network and get international visibility for their work. 

  5. University of Missouri-Columbia

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,640(in state) / $23,659(out of state)
    • Total of 30 credits for completion 
    • Full-time students can finish in two years
    • Bachelor’s degree needed with a 3.0 GPA from the last 60 hours of coursework

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72.20%
    Admission Rate78%
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School5.11%
    70%
    OSR Score

    The University of Missouri – Columbia offers an MS in Learning Technologies and Design. Students are required to apply with two letters of recommendation as well as a statement of purpose. Instruction includes design courses, research methods in IT, and front-end analysis of systems. An internship in information science and learning technologies is required for program completion.