Syllabus for Master's Degree Project in Game Design

Examensarbete för masterexamen i speldesign

  • 30 credits
  • Course code: 5SD306
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Game Design A2E
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2019-10-30
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 01, 2021
  • Entry requirements: 60 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, 120 Credits.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the Master degree project (30 cr), 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 a sound theoretical framework from which to investigate the issue in an interdisciplinary, systematic, and methodical manner taking also target audience, platform, material affordances and context of play into account.
  • Choose and use appropriate methods/design approaches to engage their scientific / creative issue.
  • Contribute to a deeper understanding of game design and advance games as an expressive medium.
  • Position themselves in the field and its broader socio-cultural context, as well as effectively communicate their motivations for and perspectives on game design to diverse audiences.
If the thesis revolves around a design project:
  • Create a playable game prototype that has a clearly stated goal/communicative and expressive purpose, and is meaningfully connected to its theoretical framework
  • Conduct an evaluation of the game through playtesting and player study.
  • Provide a soundly argued reflection on their creative work, linking it back to the theoretical framework, their design intent and data gathered from playtesting/player study.


The course completes the fourth semester of the Master's programme in Game Design. Students will produce a degree project under instructor 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.


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 (including their game prototype) at a final seminar and game showcase.

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.

Last modified: 2022-04-26