Game Science and Design, MS

The Master of Science (MS) in Game Science and Design is a program that seeks to give students a comprehensive understanding of how successful game products are created in a player-centric environment. Focusing on the science of game development, students have an opportunity to learn the design and technological skills needed to build a game and develop a deep understanding of playability and analytics that make products successful in an increasingly competitive marketplace. 

The game industry has expanded to include social and mobile gaming; games in health, education, and training; and innovations in play psychology, middleware, graphics tools, game mechanics, game evaluation methods, and advanced artificial intelligence and narrative techniques.  It has become an increasingly competitive space.

The selectiveness of the industry and the diversity of the skills required mean that students seeking entry need both broad and deep skills. As an emergent industry using diverse technology and collaborative practices, the game industry needs professionals with interdisciplinary skill sets who can meld knowledge about development with knowledge about evaluation methods and players’ behavior and psychology.

Jointly offered by Northeastern’s Colleges of Arts, Media and Design and Khoury College of Computer Sciences, the Master in Science in Game Science and Design is a one-of-a-kind interdisciplinary program that seeks to prepare students to meet this need by weaving together science and design. This is a two-year, 34-credit-hour program. 

All admitted students will be assigned to an advisor who will help them select a pathway with a coherent set of electives depending on their career goals. The advisor will also monitor their progress through the master’s degree.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.

Core Requirements

GSND 5110
and GSND 5111
Game Design and Analysis
and Seminar for GSND 5110
GSND 5122Business Models in the Game Industry1
Research and Statistics
GSND 5130Mixed Research Methods for Games4
GSND 6330Player Experience4
GSND 7990Thesis4


Game Design or Development
Complete one from the following:4
Game Artificial Intelligence
Building Game Engines
Exploratory Concept Design
Spatial and Temporal Design
Research or Analytics
Complete one from the following:4
Computer/Human Interaction
Psychology of Play
Biometrics for Design
Data-Driven Player Modeling
Complete any two from the following not previously taken. Courses not listed below may be completed in consultation with your faculty adviser.8
Visual Communication for Information Design
Visualization Technologies 1: Fundamentals
Design Systems
Prototyping for Experience Design
Information Design Theory and Critical Thinking
Design for Behavior and Experience
Mobile Application Development
Web Development
Collecting, Storing, and Retrieving Data
Introduction to Data Mining/Machine Learning
Information Design and Visual Analytics
Telling Your Story with Data

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

34 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required

Sample Two Years, One Co-op (Optional) Plan of Study

Year 1
FallHoursSpringHoursSummer Full SemesterHours
GSND 51104Elective4Co-op (Optional) 0
GSND 51111Elective4 
GSND 51304  
 9 8 0
Year 2
GSND 51221Elective4 
GSND 63304GSND 79904 
 9 8 
Total Hours: 34


Co-op or Thesis Co-op is optional in consultation with faculty advisor.