Last updated: March 27, 2023 @ 04:00PM
Master of Arts in Game Studies
Carol U. Merriam (Faculty of Humanities)
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies
Elizabeth Vlossak (Faculty of Humanities)
David Hutchison (Education, Digital Humanities), Michael Winter (Computer Science), Jennifer Roberts-Smith (Dramatic Arts)
Jason Hawreliak (Digital Humanities), Alex Christie (Digital Humanities)
Aaron Mauro (Digital Humanities), Sarah Stang (Digital Humanities), Mira Bajovic (Education)
Master of Arts in Game Studies
The MA in Game Studies is an interdisciplinary and interfaculty program designed to provide students with a well-rounded, high-quality venue for studying and designing games in all their forms. Throughout the program, students will engage with both scholarly and professional literature which explores the key debates and design paradigms within the discipline. A special focus of the program is “Games for Education, Health, and Persuasion,” which explores how principles of game studies and design can be used in non-gaming fields like education, public policy and healthcare, which allows students to pursue a wide range of options upon graduation. The underlying principle of the program is that theory informs practice, and vice versa. Students will therefore have the opportunity to both study and make games using a variety of industry standard tools. The program is designed to support students interested in pursuing doctoral studies as well as students interested in careers outside of academia.
Successful completion of a four-year Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent in a relevant discipline, or demonstration of experience studying and/or designing games, with an average of not less than 80% in the final 10 credits of undergraduate study. Students entering the program are expected to have foundational knowledge in game studies and/or design.
Part-time study is available.
While the program offers both a thesis and a major research project option, students are strongly encouraged to pursue the major research project option, as the additional coursework required by this choice provides more opportunity for students to gain a broad understanding of the discipline. The thesis option is by application—no later than the end of the first term in the program—and recommendation of the Program Committee.
Major Research Project option
Students pursuing the major research project option are required to take six half-credit courses: the two core courses (GAME 5P01 and GAME 5P02) and four elective courses. Students may select up to two half-credit course electives from another program with approval from the supervisor and graduate program director. In addition to the courses, students must complete a major research project (GAME 5F91) which can take the form of a 40-60 page paper, or an applied work, such as a game prototype, which must be accompanied by a written component of 20-30 pages. Students who wish to submit an applied component can only do so with permission from the supervisor and graduate program director. Full-time students will typically finish the program in 6 terms; part-time students will typically finish the program in 12 terms.
Students approved for the thesis option will take four half-courses: the two core courses (GAME 5P01 and GAME 5P02) and two elective courses. Students may select one half-credit elective course from another program with approval from the supervisor and graduate program director. In addition to the courses, each student must complete and defend at a public oral examination a thesis (GAME 5F90) of 80-100 pages. Full-time students will typically finish the program in 6 terms; part-time students will typically finish the program in 12 terms.
Graduate Diploma in Game Studies
The Graduate Diploma in Game Studies offers a pathway to a graduate level credential in Game Studies without producing a Thesis or Major Research Project. Typically, this pathway is offered on a full-time basis.
The Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications and recommend admission for a limited number of candidates.
Successful completion of a four-year Bachelor's degree, or equivalent in a relevant discipline, or demonstration of experience studying and/or designing games, with an average of not less than 80% in the final 10 credits of undergraduate study. Students entering the program are expected to have foundational knowledge in game studies and/or design.
Students pursuing the Graduate Diploma pathway are required to take six half-credit courses: the two core courses (GAME 5P01 and GAME 5P02) and four elective courses. Students may select one half-credit course elective from another program with approval from the graduate program director.
Note that not all courses are offered in every session. Refer to the applicable timetable for details.
Students must ensure that prerequisites are met. Students may be deregistered, at the request of the instructor, from any course for which prerequisites and/or restrictions have not been met.
Extended research paper on a subject developed in consultation with the Graduate Program Director and faculty supervisor. The thesis should be narrowly defined, meticulously researched and provide an original contribution to a field related to game studies and/or design. It will be examined by an external reader and will require a public defense.
Major Research Project
Research project on a subject determined in consultation with the Graduate Program Director and faculty supervisor. The project should give evidence of mastery of subject matter, creativity, and application of competencies developed through coursework. Projects may include an applied component.
Methodological Paradigms in Game Studies
Key debates and methodological frameworks in the fields of game studies and design. Techniques for the critical analysis of games and best practices in game design. Consideration of disciplinary specializations in games including design, production, narrative, art, sound and coding.
Games for Education, Health, and Persuasion
History and best practices of gamification, serious and persuasive games. The study and design of games in non-game contexts, such as industry, education, health and public policy.
Working in game engines for interactive media. Includes scripting, asset implementation, camera, lighting, and manipulating objects in virtual environments.
Includes best practices in concept art, modelling, rigging, texturing and animation. Asset creation and manipulation in virtual environments.
Gamification and Game-Based Learning
In-depth examination of principles of game-based learning applied to educational and training contexts. Case studies, debates, and critiques. Best practices in the design of games for the educational marketplace.
Semiotics of Videogames
Examination of the various ways meaning is constructed through videogames. Conceptual and analytical frameworks for understanding meaning in games, such as multimodality, rhetoric, and conceptual metaphor theory.
Advanced Concepts in Interactive Storytelling
In-depth examination of historical and contemporary practices in interactive storytelling. Differentiating interactive from non-interactive narrative techniques. Analysis and production of interactive stories in digital, analog, and mixed-reality environments.
Constructing Identity in Games and Gaming Culture
Exploration of how identity is constructed in videogames with a focus on class, race, gender, disabilityability, and sexuality. Examination of toxicity in gaming culture.
History in Interactive Media
Themes in the history of games and games as history. Depictions of historical people, places, and events through games, simulations, augmented and virtual reality.
Part-time internship in a business related to interactive media or the gaming industry.Note: application required. Enrolment will be limited to the number of placements available. Students will be required to attend orientation meetings and develop professional learning objectives. Additional components typically include a site visit, a work term report and an employer performance evaluation.
Special Topics in Game Studies
Special topics and/or themes in Game Studies.
Program of study through research and readings designed in consultation with a faculty member; covering topics not offered in a designated course.
Restriction: Permission of the Graduate Program Director