The Bachelor Programme in Game Design and Project Management gives you the tools to work with the game medium on a professional level and to develop new experiences within the field. The programme specialises in leading and planning game projects. Former graduates have started their own studios and work at some of the world’s best known game companies. The programme is given at Campus Gotland, an environment characterised by the close proximity between professors and students.
Numerous profiles from the game industry and notable higher education institutions have given the programme high praise: “This game design programme is one of the best that I have seen, particularly the polymorphous approach to design. The code is only as good as the player experience, and this shows. Also, there is a political approach that inflects design that gives many of us hope for a mature and complex industry of the future.” – Prof. Derek A. Burrill, University of California
Why this programme?
The programme Game Design and Project Management provides skills in developing games for commercial production, as well as a deeper understanding of how games work and how they affect us.
The education mixes practical game development with theoretical courses within game design and a minor subject of your own choice. Throughout the programme we explore theories and methods in game design, game development and game analysis. Game developers need good communicative skills both to communicate with their team and to shape the experience that the game will provide. To reflect this, the programme provides training in expression through text, imagery and games, as well as verbal communication.
As a project manager, you acquire skills and knowledge to plan and lead game production projects from inception to release. This includes group dynamics, planning and game specific production methodology. The programme also trains practical production with other disciplines through project courses.
In 2014 the Department of Game Design was entered into the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, a gathering of mainly North American higher game development educators where both education, research and industry questions are on the agenda.
Study Abroad The Department of Game Design today has cooperation agreements with four institutions in Tokyo and Erasmus-agreements with the University of Riga as well as Université d’Angers for the purpose of student exchange. A cooperation agreement with the University of Silesia, Poland, will soon be established. In addition to this, Uppsala University has a wealth of cooperation agreements providing many options for studying abroad.
The programme leads to a Bachelor of Arts with Game Design as the main field of study.
Name: Erin Siikavaara From: Born on Ireland but have moved from place to place Programme: Game Design and Project Management
How did you choose your programme?
– I chose the programme because I believed I would be given the skill to run projects, and I have dabbled with the ideas of making games since High School. I was looking at the English programs on universityadmissions.se and I stumbled upon the course. I felt it would be a good fit so I decided to try it.
What is it like to be an international student?
– It can be a bit difficult at times. Sometimes my teacher's English skills are lacking, making them hard to understand. Socially it can be a bit difficult. I tried doing one of the Rindi sittnings (dinner at the Gotland´s student union) and it was all in Swedish... Most of the time, I feel I am in good company, the Swedish students are all fluent in English, which is pleasant, and all the other international students are the same way.
What is the best thing about studying at Uppsala University Campus Gotland?
– Most of the teachers are willing to sit down and discuss things with you after class, making this a good learning environment.
How did you experience your first few days in Sweden?
– That being in 2010… It was strange, and I was shipped to Norway for a week soon after. Having spent my life moving from place to place, I do not suffer from culture shock that often.
Describe what a normal day is like for you?
– In the mornings we have class or groupwork. I usually lunch with my classmates and group. Some days I go and spend time at Skuggspel (a game store), having made friends with the store owner. I then try to work on an assignment and eat dinner that I cook at the beginning of the week. On Friday nights I either work the Bar, because I joined a bar team, or hang out with my classmates at Rindi.
What is something unique about your programme?
– I enjoy the actual DOING part of the course. We do not use a lot of theory in our major. The hands on experience is awesome.
What is your reason for studying and your ultimate goal?
– My favorite game is The Last of Us – it took me on a "feels" trip. I first watched a "Let's Play" of the game, not the type of game I typically play but I fell in love with it, and I had to play. I want to create something that will give someone else the same emotional journey. My favorite story arc in the whole game was one easily missed, experienced by reading little notes picked up along the way. To work on something so large scale like that game, I would need an education. It was also time I moved on with my life.
Describe student life / What is your best experience so far?
– I thoroughly enjoy working the Student Union bar at Rindi. There is a group of people that I do not have classes with, whom I think of as a team. We support each other. I have seen what people will do to make another feel comfortable. In a perfect world, people like these would not be necessary, but I am glad they exist.
Three Quick Questions What is the best thing about Visby as a city?
– Visby is cute. I enjoy being able to walk and ride my bike anywhere.
What is your favourite student tradition at Uppsala University?
– I would say the Lamning was great.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
– Probably working for a larger gaming company like Blizzard or Sony.
The programme comprises three years of full-time studies where the major subject Game Design is studied in parallel with the minor Computer Science through both theoretical and practical project courses. Courses within Game Design, where all project based courses are housed, are read together with the other programmes within the area of Game Design. Game Design makes up 105 credits out of the total 180 credits, while the minor subject makes up 30 credits. The programme also has 30 credits where you get to choose what to study, which can also be used to deepen or broaden your studies in the major or minor.
The minor and major subjects are studied in parallel. Both subjects contain theoretical courses as well as practical, project based courses. The project courses test and train both game design and art production skills as students from all Game Design programmes collaborate to produce games. In this way, the programme provides a continuous opportunity to test and utilise your ability in realistic scenarios, since the project courses effectively model the challenges that must be faced when working in a diverse team of creative, artistic, organisational and technical individuals.
The projects, like the theoretical courses train academic writing and presenting, as training for the degree project that ends the third year.
The project management courses start from the basics and will lead to a small game development project, after which the education and the projects increase in complexity and size. The project management courses teach group dynamics, project planning, leadership, risk management and conflict management.
Courses within the programme
Semester 1 Game Design 1 - Introduction, 15 credits Minor Subject, 15 credits
Semester 2 Game Design 2 – Game Development, 7.5 credits Game Production 1 – Arcade Games, 15 credits Minor Subject, 7.5 credits
Semester 3 Game Design 3 – System Design, 15 credits Minor Subject, 15 credits
Semester 4 Game Design 4 – Serious Games Design, 7.5 credits Minor Subject or optional courses, 7.5 credits Game Production 2 – Vertical Slice, 15 credits
Semester 5 Optional courses*, 30 credits *within major, minor or other subject, alternatively studies abroad.
Semester 6 Game Design 5 – Theory and Method, 7.5 credits Game Design 6 – Experimental Game Design, 7.5 credits Degree Project, 15 credits
The programme is offered on the island of Gotland. Instruction is entirely in English.
The theoretical courses within game design are taught through lectures, workshops and smaller projects. The majority of the courses include group work. The programming courses are lecture based with continuous practical programming.
Every year includes one or two project courses, in which you will work with your specific role in groups to produce complete games, and teaching takes the shape of guidance and tutoring.
The programme theoretically and practically prepares you for a professional career within business, organisations, authorities or as a business owner.
One of the programme’s strengths is its well-developed contact with the game industry. This is why graduates of the programme make up an especially useful network. Through yearly recurring events, notable individuals from the international game industry, former students and academics are invited to judge student projects and share their experience. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to build your own contact network for the career ahead of you.
Former students have gone on to become both business owners running their own studios and employees at some of the most successful game studios in the world. Notable examples of companies where graduates have found work include Blizzard Entertainment, Massive Entertainment, Starbreeze Studios, Crytek, Fatshark, Frictional Games, Ubisoft, Avalanche, Lionhead, CCP, DICE and Might and Delight. A number of former students also work within the Swedish higher education sector, teaching and running game design programmes.
The game industry is the largest and fastest growing business in the entertainment industry. It is in continuous development which leads to a large demand for a broad spectrum of creative professionals with game development as the common denominator. Games are also increasingly being used within education, training and medicine, under the name Serious Games.
As a graduate of the programme, you will be able to continue your studies at Master’s level in or outside of Sweden.