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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree in Game Design and Development

Majors Overview February 18, 2015

Students with a passion for gaming or digital entertainment can turn it into a career with Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree programs in Game Design and Development. Programs feature the technical and creative subjects needed for interactive media jobs along with a core curriculum in liberal arts.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree Programs in Game Design and Development

Students enrolled in a B.F.A. in Game Design and Development program are educated in the artistic, conceptual, and technological aspects of the gaming industry. Students enrolled in this degree program, which is sometimes referred to as a degree in computer game design, interactive design, and game development or game art and design, are provided with hands-on opportunities, experience with computer technology, and an arts background.

The program teaches them about the collaborative process involved in the creation of multimedia videos or computer games. Students learn about 2-D design, game genres, visual technology, and game music. Students may take elective courses in engineering or business in some programs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to submitting a portfolio, which is required by some schools.


Participation in internships within the company and the creation of a final project to demonstrate their work is expected of incoming students to some game design and development degree programs. Thus, when students complete the program, they would already have a portfolio to showcase their skills and knowledge to potential employers. Coursework may include these topic areas:

•Scripting for games
•Color theory
•Materials and lighting
•Principles of game design
•Game development basics
•3-D modeling
•3-D animation and design
•History of game design

Job and Wage Outlook

Graduates from a B.F.A. program in Game Design and Development can seek entry-level careers at entertainment software companies or large or small game studios. These graduates may commonly seek job positions such as the following:

•Interface designers
•Game designers
•Graphic artists
•Game testers

A job growth rate of 6% has been predicted for multimedia artists and animators over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). A growth rate of 8% has been projected for computer programmers during the same period. The video game industry drives most growth in the business. In May 2012, multimedia artists and animators took home an average annual wage of $61,370, while programmers earned $74,280 on average annually.

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of the bachelor’s program may pursue continuing education by earning a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Interactive Media or Game Design. A thesis is required in these programs that include classes in visual interface, media applications, and visual expression. Some master’s degree programs offer internship opportunities.

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