The Guildhall at SMU's graduate video game development education program, which first started in June 2003 with what they called Cohort 1, has expanded in student numbers and diversity for its upcoming Cohort 9 class, which starts this summer on July 9.
Dr. Peter Raad, founder and executive director of the program, stated: "We will have students from 18 states, Austria, Canada, China, France and South Africa," adding notably that, "… 14 percent of the class is female, up from our historical 8-10 percent rate. That's a number that we really want to see increase."
This year was a number of firsts for the program. In March, SMU graduated the first ever class of master's degree students in video game development. The school also recently announced a special program for computer science and art students that will allow them to receive their bachelors in computer science and fine art and a master's in interactive technology in only five years.
In addition, several industry-related technology companies have turned to the school for research and product development. Many companies see the school as a living research laboratory for video game development and technology.
School officials also report that nearly 90 percent of their students who graduated in late March were placed in the video game industry.
"Our historical rate for placement is 95 percent at about six months after graduation, " Raad said. "It looks like this year we are a little head of schedule. But that doesn't surprise me considering the tremendous demand for qualified professionals needed in the video game industry. We now have 155 graduates working at more than 60 video game companies around the world."
For more information about The Guildhall at SMU, which offers a graduate certificate and Master's of Science degree in interactive technology, visit the Guildhall website