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 Computer and Information Science, 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. 

The degree offers three concentrations:

  • Game analytics: focusing on data analysis of gameplay and other game data to make the game successful
  • Game user research: focusing on gauging the user experience to enable designers to develop an enjoyable game experience
  • Game design and development: focusing on the design or technical side of game development

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

Required Core
GSND 5110Game Design and Analysis4
GSND 5111Seminar for GSND 51101
GSND 5122Business Models in the Game Industry1
GSND 5130Mixed Research Methods for Games4
or PPUA 5301 Introduction to Computational Statistics
Thesis
GSND 7990Thesis4

Specializations

In consultation with your faculty advisor, declare one specialization option by spring of your first year. 
Complete one of the following specializations:

Game Analytics

Complete three of the following:12
Collecting, Storing, and Retrieving Data
Introduction to Data Mining/Machine Learning
Data-Driven Player Modeling
Information Design and Visual Analytics

Game User Research 

Complete three of the following:12
Computer/Human Interaction
Psychology of Play
Player Experience
Biometrics for Design

Game Design and Development

Complete three of the following:12
Game Artificial Intelligence
Building Game Engines
Exploratory Concept Design
Spatial and Temporal Design

Electives

Note: In consultation with your faculty advisor, you may complete two other related courses offered by all options.

Complete two of the following:8
Game Artificial Intelligence
Computer/Human Interaction
Building Game Engines
Collecting, Storing, and Retrieving Data
Introduction to Data Mining/Machine Learning
Exploratory Concept Design
Spatial and Temporal Design
Psychology of Play
Player Experience
Biometrics for Design
Data-Driven Player Modeling
Information Design and Visual Analytics

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 51104Concentration elective4Co-op (Optional)0
GSND 51111Concentration elective4 
GSND 5130 or PPUA 53014  
 9 8 0
Year 2
FallHoursSpringHours 
GSND 51221General elective4 
Concentration elective4GSND 79904 
General elective 4  
 9 8 
Total Hours: 34

Sample Two Years, No Co-op Plan of Study

Year 1
FallHoursSpringHoursSummer Full SemesterHours
GSND 51104Concentration elective4Vacation0
GSND 51111Concentration elective4 
GSND 5130 or PPUA 53014  
 9 8 0
Year 2
FallHoursSpringHours 
GSND 51221General elective4 
Concentration elective4GSND 79904 
General elective 4  
 9 8 
Total Hours: 34