Study

Undergraduate Studies

While MIT does not have a formal game development or game design degree program, the MIT Game Lab helps MIT students who are interested in games create their own program of study. By their nature, games require an interdisciplinary approach to their study. However, approaches can vary depending on what the student wants to do with games.

    Interested in the design and history of games and how people play and learn with games?
  • Focus in game design and game studies through our parent department, Comparative Media Studies.

In all cases, students can attain a well-rounded course of study by concentrating or minoring in Comparative Media Studies. This will supplement the core interests of a student with the many game design, game studies, and game analysis courses offered by the department. Because MIT is a research institute, all students interested in games should take at least 1 year of UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity) with the MIT Game Lab or with one of the many CMS research groups developing games.

Graduate Studies

As with undergraduate studies, many programs at MIT offer advanced graduate courses and research opportunities in games:

Comparative Media Studies offers a 2-year Masters of Science degree. While the core curriculum involves study across all media, students often specialize in one medium, including games. This program is a combination of coursework, a Master's thesis, and active research in one of CMS' many research groups, including the MIT Game Lab.

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offers an extensive graduate program in Computer Science. Students can study and participate in active research of aspects in computer science that are vital in the creation of modern digital games, such as artificial intelligence, networking, and computer graphics.

Other graduate programs at MIT allow students to work with the MIT Game Lab to supplement their educational and research goals, including the MIT Media Lab and the Sloan MBA program.

Courses

These are recommended courses from the 2011-12 MIT catalogue for students who are interested in studying and making videogames and maybe pursue a career in the field. The following courses are grouped by area of interest independently of their major. There is some overlap between specialties, and students are encouraged to take courses from different areas if they are relevant to their interests, even if they are not on the list.

Many of the courses offered through Comparative Media Studies count towards general HASS requirements for all undergraduate degrees. Be sure to check the actual Student Catalog listing, linked to for each class, for up-to-date details. We have also included links to OpenCourseWare versions of these classes. These OCW versions of the class may be out of date since lecturers update their class syllabi and materials more regularly than OCW captures them.

For all areas, most recommended

CMS.300/841 Introduction to Videogame Theory (HASS, on OCW)

CMS.608/864 Game Design (HASS, on OCW)

For all areas, also recommended

6.00 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

CMS.100 Introduction to Media Studies (CI-H, HASS-D 4)

CMS.309/809 / 21W.763J Transmedia Storytelling: Modern Science Fiction (HASS)

CMS.607/843 From Gamer to Player: Theory and Practice of Player Research (HASS)

CMS.610/922 Media Industries and Systems: The Art, Science and Business of Games (HASS, on OCW)

CMS.627/827 Imagination, Computation, and Expression Studio (HASS)

21M.703J / CMS.403J Media and Methods: Performing (HASS, Pre-req: CMS.100/21L.011)

21M.840/841 Performance Media (HASS)

Game Design

2.00B Toy Product Design

6.813/6.831 User Interface Design and Implementation (Pre-Req: 6.005)

MAS.110 Fundamentals of Computational Media Design (HASS, CI-H)

STS.044/STS.444 Technology and Self: Things and Thinking (HASS)

STS.360/21A.820J Ethnography (grad, Pre-Req: 21A.750J)

Writing for Games (also recommended for Game Design)

21M.604 Playwriting I (HASS)

21W.764J / CMS.846/609J The Word Made Digital (HASS)

21L.489J / 21W.765J / CMS.845 Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice (HASS, on OCW)

CMS.612J / 21W.767J Writing for Videogames (HASS)

21W.772 Digital Poetry (on OCW)

Educational Software and Games

CMS.590J/863J Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education

4.350/4.351 Introduction to Video and Related Media (HASS)

9.85 Infant and Childhood Cognition (HASS, Pre-Req: 9.00)

MAS.111 Introduction to Doing Research in Media Arts & Sciences

MAS.714J / STS.445J Technologies for Creative Learning (graduate course)

STS.360/21A.820J Ethnography (grad)

STS.044 Technology and Self: Things and Thinking (HASS)

Management & Production

15.279 Management Communication for Undergraduates

15.358 The Business of Software and Digital Platforms (grad)

15.390 New Enterprises (grad)

Programming & Software Engineering

6.005 Elements of Software Construction (Pre-Req: 6.01/6.042)

6.006 Introduction to Algorithms (Pre-Req: 6.01/6.042)

6.034 Artificial Intelligence (Pre-Req: 6.01)

6.170 Laboratory in Software Engineering

6.837 Computer Graphics (Pre-Req: Calculus II (GIR), 6.005)

6.838 Advanced Topics in Computer Graphics (Pre-Req: 6.837)

6.853 Topics in Algorithmic Game Theory (Pre-Req: 6.006/6/046)

8.351J/6.946J/12.620J Classical Mechanics: A Computational Approach (Pre-Req: Physics I (GIR), 18.03)

11.252J/CMS.863J/11.127K/CMS.590J Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education

21W.785 Communicating with Web-Based Media (on OCW)

21W.789 Communicating with Mobile Technology (on OCW)

Art Direction and Visual Design

4.111 Introduction to Architecture and Environmental Design

4.301 Introduction to the Visual Arts (HASS-D3)

4.341/4.342 Introduction to Photography and Related Media (HASS)

4.500 Introduction to Design Computing

4.504 Design Scripting

4.566 Advanced Projects in Digital Media (Pre-Req: 4.562/4.564)

4.580 Inquiry into Computation and Design

4.601 Introduction to Art History

4.602 Modern Art and Mass Culture (CI-H)

4.606 Visual Perception and Art (CI-H)

21M.645 Motion Theater (Pre-Req: 21M.600)

21M.732 Costume Design for the Theater (HASS)

21M.733 Scenic Design (Pre-Req: 21M.603)

21M.734 Lighting Design for the Theater (HASS)

Audio Design

6.551J/HST.714J Acoustics of Speech and Hearing (Pre-Req: 8.03/6.003)

21A.360J/STS.065J The Anthropology of Sound

21M.065 Introduction to Musical Composition

Culture and Society

21A.275 Fun and Games: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

21A.350J/STS.086J/WGS.276J Cultures of Computing

21W.768J/CMS.616J/CMS.868 Social and Cultural Facets of Digital Games

24.222 Decisions, Games and Rational Choice

CMS.314J/21W.753J/CMS.814 Phantasmal Media: Theory & Practice

CMS.628/CMS.828 Advanced Identity Representation

STS.044 Technology and Self: Things and Thinking (HASS)

STS.085 Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier

STS.360/21A.820J Ethnography (grad)

Practicum (opportunities to make videogames at MIT)

6.073J Creating Video Games/CMS.611J Creating Video Games (Pre-Req: CMS.608/6.01)

CMS.617 Advanced Games Studio

CMS.615 Games for Social Change

6.100 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Laboratory (independent study requirements)

6.UAP Undergrad Advanced Project

6.UR Undergraduate Research in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

CMS.603 Independent Study (undergrad)

CMS.994 Independent Study (grad)

CMS.UR/CMS.URG Research in Comparative Media Studies (MIT Game Lab, The Education Arcade, Center for Future Civic Media, Imagination, Computation, and Expression Lab, Trope Tank)