Syllabus for Master's Degree Project in Game Design

Examensarbete för magisterexamen i speldesign

  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 5SD307
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Game Design A1E

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2019-10-30
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2020-11-04
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2021
  • Entry requirements: 30 credits in game design at Master's level
  • Responsible department: Department of Game Design

Decisions and guidelines

The course is part of the Master's Programme in Game Design.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the master's degree project (15cr), students will be able to:

  • Identify and clearly articulate a scientific and/or creative issue in the field of game design with a focus on advancing an understanding of games as expressive, artistic media and/or their various application areas.
  • Develop their own theoretical framework from which to investigate the issue in an interdisciplinary, systematic, and methodical manner.
  • Choose and use appropriate methods for the investigation of their scientific/creative issue.
  • Provide a soundly argued reflection on any creative work, linking it back to the theoretical framework and their design intent.
If the thesis revolves around a design project:
  • Contribute to a deeper understanding of the game design and advance games as an expressive medium.
  • Position themselves in the field and its broader socio-cultural context, as well as effectively communication their motivations for and perspectives on game design to diverse audiences.


The course is an optional choice in the second semester of the Master's programme in Game Design and consists of a thesis to be conducted under supervision. The project can take two main forms:

  1. a thesis project that combines theory and practice. Students develop a theoretical framework that is applied to the design and implementation of an analogue or digital game project, which is accompanied by a reflective text that discusses the design process and its outcomes.
  2. A research project that utilizes an understanding of games and game design to approach an existing issue in contemporary culture or society. Students need to demonstrate an ability to plan a research project, use previous research and theoretical frameworks, (where appropriate) collect data according to an existing methodology or use other appropriate methods to address their research question, and perform a critical analysis.
In either form (1 or 2 above), students are expected to draw on existing research from the game design discourse and the field of game studies, but are strongly encouraged to go beyond this domain and bring in theories, methods and inspiration from whatever academic field or area of practice that makes sense for their particular thesis topic. Careful attention will need to be paid to scope, and the design project developed should be seen as a proof of concept rather than finished work.


The degree project is conducted in the form of supervised (applied) research and development. The instructor meets regularly with students as well as holds individual meetings. In case of a project-based thesis, students are further expected to design and conduct their own playtests throughout the iterative design process as well as an evaluative player study at the end.


The course is graded on the basis of "Pass with Distinction", "Pass", or "Fail". The basis for assessment is the students' performance during seminars, the quality of their individual work, and their participation in and discourse with other students' work. Students present their thesis at a final seminar.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Uppsala University does not accept cheating or plagiarism. Suspected incidents of cheating or plagiarism are reported to the Vice-Chancellor, which may issue a formal warning to the student or suspend the student from studies for a certain period.

Reading list

The reading list is missing. For further information, please contact the responsible department.