Critical Game Design, M.S.

Program Overview

The M.S. in Critical Game Design will focus on the transformative capacity of games—whether in industry, the academy, or society-at-large—through the completion of an applied thesis project, most likely in the form of a critically informed game prototype. Armed with the practical skills needed to design and build games, students will learn how to apply critical insights directly to the production of new types of game designs.

The M.S. in Critical Game Design represents a new kind of practical and theoretical curriculum that leverages the interdisciplinary strengths of Rensselaer. Through the program, students will explore the growing literature in the field of game design in order to inform the design of games that respond  to the issues that arise out of these texts and curricular investigations.


Watch the MS in CGDS Info session here. 


To be accepted as a Co-Terminal student, applicants must be current Rensselaer students and submit a completed application by November 1st for May B.S. Graduates, and April 15th for December B.S. Graduates. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is Required for all Co-Term Applicants.


To apply for the stand-alone M.S. program, please use the "Apply" button below. 


Program Outcomes

The goal of the curriculum is to:

  • Enable students to transform the medium of games and the games industry through building games
  • Prepare students to take leadership roles in newly created Ph.D. programs in game design across the world
  • Provide a platform for GSAS faculty and Rensselaer to contribute to an emerging, cutting-edge field, represented by programs at peer and aspirant institutions


Our graduate students come from numerous academic backgrounds and bring with them unique perspectives on critical game design and it's application to the world. Read about our current student's research interests and involvement here!

After Graduation

Through fostering a myriad of practical skills and ways of thinking, graduates of the M.S. in Critical Game Design are entrepreneurial, savvy game developers who work to change the face of games research and the games industry either by directly entering the games industry, by joining independent game development spaces, or by continuing their education at the doctoral level.


The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Russell Sage Laboratory (SAGE) 5304, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-6575

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