Critical Game Design, Ph.D.

Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Critical Game Design is designed to train scholar-practitioners deeply versed in game production, game studies theory, and scholarly writing and research. This degree program is a hybrid theory and practice program that immerses students in the game studies literature, game design principles, and topical concentrations on the social and structural issues surrounding digital games and interactive media commensurate with the student’s research area. 


As critical game design is at once highly technical, highly creative, and requires a deep understanding of the human condition, we seek a highly diverse population of graduate students from varied yet complementary backgrounds.

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

The Ph.D. in Critical Game Design is designed to graduate entrepreneurial, critical-theory savvy game developers who work to change the face of games research and the games industry. Graduates will be well-positioned to teach and conduct research at the university level, as well as to apply their skills within the games industry and independent spaces as consultants, directors, and producers.


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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