Michigan State Launches ‘Serious’ Game Design Program

Michigan State University has announced it is now offering a master’s degree in telecommunication, information studies, and media, through which students can complete a course of study in serious game design.
Michigan State University now is offering a master’s degree in telecommunication, information studies, and media through which students can complete a course of study in serious game design. "Educational games and simulations have been around for decades. Next generation serious games are computer and video games that are educational and seriously fun," said Carrie Heeter, professor of telecommunication, information studies and media at MSU and the program’s leader. “Serious games intentionally exercise the body or mind,” Heeter said. “They may teach meaningful skills, knowledge, or expose players to new ideas and perspectives. They are games with a purpose beyond entertainment, including but not limited to games for learning, games for health, and games for policy and social change.” The MSU program is designed to prepare game designers, theory experts, content experts and researchers for careers in serious games. Serious game design students will share a core course of study in design and development, and theories and research. Through progressively independent and mentored game design projects, students develop expertise and a portfolio. In addition, each student will enroll in elective classes in telecommunication, information studies and media or in the program’s 10 other participating departments intended to enhance each student’s area of specialization. Students may enter the program with a bachelor’s degree in game design, computer science, art, psychology, education, advertising, journalism, music and interactive media. Alternatively, students may enter with a background in environmental science, medicine or political science, with a desire to create serious games in that area. The program seeks a mix of students from different backgrounds and varied serious game design career objectives. Some students might be professionals returning to an academic setting to better understand the complexities of serious game design. “Our program aims at the heart of serious game design, that magical region where theory and content intersect with game design,” Heeter said. “Game design for entertainment already requires diverse, multidisciplinary expertise. Serious game design calls upon vastly wider range of expertise and roles.” For more information, visit MSU's Serious Game Design Program.

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