Game Design (MFA)

Department Website

Program Description

The NYU Game Center MFA is a 2-year Master of Fine Arts degree in Game Design. Located within NYU’s famous Tisch School of the Arts, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other forms of art, media, and culture. Our students study the design and development of games in a context of advanced critical literacy, becoming game designers and developers, artists and curators, critics and scholars.

Our curriculum includes classes in the following areas:

  • Game Design – the fundamentals of how games work and how to create meaningful interactive experiences on and off the computer.
  • Game Production – oriented towards the creation of digital games, such as our Code Lab series of game programming courses.
  • Game Studies – critical theory and scholarship around the idea of games as a form of designed human culture.
  • Game History – including our foundational Games 101 class, which traces the history of games from ancient boardgames to today’s video games.
  • Studio Courses – where the emphasis is on the collaborative group creation of digital games.
  • Thesis – the focus of the program’s second year, where students work alone or in groups on a project of their choosing.
  • Play Labs – classes that take a deeper dive into the play of a particular game genre or designer’s work – such as indie tabletop RPGs or tournament Starcraft play.
  • Electives – a wide range of classes that explore everything from games journalism the psychology and emotions of game play.

And don’t forget the rest of NYU! Our highly flexible structure means that students can take classes from any department or program across New York University. Our MFA students have studied interactive design at NYU’s ITP design program, crafted stories with screenwriters in NYU’s world-class film program, and hacked into hardware at NYU’s School of Engineering.


All graduate applicants to the Tisch School of the Arts are required to submit the General Graduate Application, as well as a department-specific portfolio or creative supplement. Each of these can be submitted online.

See Graduate Admissions for admission requirements and instructions specific to this program.

For international applicants, see International Applicant RequirementsApplicants with international credentials should be sure to check to see if their credentials are equivalent to an American Bachelor’s degree before applying.