Master's Programme in Game Design

60 credits

Do you want to develop a deeper understanding of games as expressive media? With its specific emphasis on the impact games have on society, and core academic themes such as ethical game design, meaningmaking, representation, inclusion and social justice, this one-year Master´s Programme in Game Design, prepares you to become a critical and informed voice in the field of games.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Visby, 100%, On-campus, English

You will study at Uppsala University's Campus Gotland, located in Visby on the island of Gotland, Sweden.

In this one-year Master's Programme in Game Design at Uppsala University, Campus Gotland, our emphasis is on teaching active game literacy for the students to understand and responsibly use the expressive and conceptual potential of games and their impact on society. Active game literacy means the ability to understand games in-depth from a theoretical as well as a practical perspective. It includes being able to analyse existing games, design new play experiences, gain insight into and awareness of the contexts in which games are created and played, as well as understand how they can affect their players through their rules, mechanics, themes, narrative and audio-visual design.

The Master's Programme in Game Design aims for a nuanced discussion through a wide range of multi-disciplinary theories and hands-on design exercises. This means the students will investigate questions such as:

  • What needs to be considered for a game to resonate with its players?
  • How can games allow for the exploration of deep ideas and profound experiences?
  • What are dark design patterns?
  • What are the possibilities, but also the responsibilities, of a game designer?
  • How can game design specialists inform the way games are seen in, and impact, society?

You can choose to continue to the second year of the Master's programme for more in-depth research and preparation for a potential PhD application.

Student profile

As student, you do not need any previous game design, game development or programming experience. You will be exposed to a wide range of theories and creative methods to aid in the development of your own perspectives; to think holistically, broadly and deeply. Students coming to us as - or going on to become - journalists, teachers, artists, community organisers, activists, experience and exhibit designers or other creative industries professionals, will be able to use their active game literacy to inform their work.

There is a wide varitey of nationalities participating in the programme. In recent years the group has been under 50 students.


The programme leads to the degree of Master of Arts (60 credits) with Game Design as the main field of study.

The Master's programme in Game Design (one year) consists of one academic year of full-time studies. Both semesters contain compulsory courses on an advanced level in game design and you will take the courses together with students enrolled in the two-year Master's programme in Game Design.

In the first semester, you will take an introductory course that gives you a review of current research and development work in game design and game studies, emphasising active, critical game literacy in regard to the intersection of games and society. You will deepen your knowledge of conceptual game design approaches through practical, creative inquiries in the Game Design Studio course that follows. In parallel with the studio course, you will continue the in-depth, critical reflections on practices and contexts of game design in the course Games and Society.

During the first half of the second semester, you will take two parallel courses. Critical Making is a theoretically informed, hands-on course, in which the discussion of games as pervasive media is central. The course Advanced Game Design Research Methods allows you to develop the questions that interest you the most, in a research or design project. From here, you can start working on your Master's thesis.

All previous courses can be used to identify a suitable topic for the degree project on that you are going to write your thesis. The thesis concludes your studies and must be based on theoretical research, have a clear problem statement and be conducted in a methodologically sound, rigorous and ethical way. We encourage practice-based work and for this, the Department of Game Design has some equipment and resources for you to use.

The instruction in the programme combines seminars, lectures, hands-on game design workshops, project work (both in groups and individually), and design critiques through instructors and peers. New concepts and theories are introduced through poignant lectures and are, where appropriate, applied to practice.

You are expected to show initiative and work independently to hone your academic and design skills and develop your identity and voice as a scholar, creator and game design researcher. You will learn a range of game design-relevant theories and methods. Furthermore, you will articulate your newfound knowledge in written and oral reports. During the second semester, you will conduct a degree project of 15 credits.

You will study at Uppsala University's Campus Gotland, located in Visby on the island of Gotland. The island is in the Baltic Sea between the mainland of Sweden and the Baltic States. Campus Gotland's educational environment is characterised by close professional relationships between professors and students.

The language of instruction is exclusively English and you will study and collaborate with students from all over the world.

With our particular approach to the integration of theory and practice, we aim to strike a balance that opens up numerous career pathways for our students. Students can enter the games industry themselves, should they already come with a background in game development, or go the academic route. The skills and knowledge gained from the programme can be applied to all areas and professions that require effective, compelling communication, leadership and problem-solving skills.

This degree is best suited for those who use it as a complement to already existing skills or in an established profession where a deepened, critical, active game literacy - including games' expressive potential and impact on society - is of particular relevance.

Graduating from the Master's Programme in Game Design (60 credits), you can harness the benefits of games and play to communicate important ideas, engage in further studies at the Master's or PhD level and/or shape the public conversation around this medium. This equips our alumni to act as consultants for the games industry as well as to contribute to the informed use of games as well as participate in the public conversation around this medium.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.