Where play has serious impact
In this master of sciences program, you will create, use, and evaluate digital games for the specific purpose of learning in formal and informal settings.
The program will prepare you to use evidence-based research to facilitate the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of programs that integrate games in a broad range of formal and informal learning settings. The program offers several areas of study including game design, game development, game research and student-customized focus area under faculty supervision.
What you'll learn
- The role of social, emotional, cultural, and cognitive aspects of learning and issues of game design.
- Game design models and developmental practices.
- The value of narrative features of game design.
- Research methods aimed at improving and evaluating the design of games for learning.
How you'll learn
Core Courses and Electives
You will study to be game design practitioners who not only understand technical and development practices but also the social, cognitive, emotional and cultural issues involved in the design of games for the specific purpose of learning in formal and informal settings, and across the lifespan. To that end, topics covered will enable you to:
- Explain the potential values and limitations of the use of digital games for learning, and for what kinds of learning, what types of learners, in what content domains, and in what settings games have the potential to support learning.
- Discuss the role and function of play in games for learning and, in that context, the contribution of diverse features of games, such as role playing, immersion, narrative, feedback, situated experience, distributed cognition, consequences of failure, etc.
- Apply the social, cognitive, emotional and cultural dimensions of factors that influence learning, in game design, drawing from theories in the learning sciences and cognitive science that are relevant to game design for learning.
- Demonstrate competency in one of the following areas: the technical development of digital games for learning; the learning design of digital games; the methods for research and evaluation of games for learning; or in a related area as deemed appropriate by program faculty.
- Demonstrate competency in conducting design-based research to support the development of effective games for learning, including usability research, playtesting and various approaches to evaluation.
The curriculum offers flexibility in creating a program of study that you and your adviser can tailor to fit your professional goals and interests. You can choose to study full-time or part-time (see degree requirements for more information).
Games for Learning Institute
You will benefit from exposure to and participation in the Games for Learning Institute's ongoing research endeavors and emerging ideas about gaming. The establishment of the Games for Learning Institute (G4LI) demonstrates NYU's leadership in research on games in learning environments. G4LI, which involves nine other universities, conducts research on the design of effective games for learning in a variety of formal and informal settings, in school and out of school, at a computer/game console and on the go, and for a broad variety of learners.
G4LI is co-directed by Jan Plass, Professor of Educational Communication and Technology at NYU Steinhardt.
Fieldwork and Internships
Interns in the G4L program can apply their skills and knowledge in a broad variety of corporations, cultural institutions and not-for-profit organizations, and game design studios- all of which may also lead to your future employment.
Capstone Thesis Project
The capstone thesis project is a culminating project in which you will integrate and apply what you have learned through previous academic work, internships and other experiences and interests- with faculty supervision. These projects may be "new," relative to work done in previous courses; or they may be projects started in a previous course that become significantly expanded and enhanced for the thesis.
Prepare for a career as a:
- Directors of projects related to games for learning
- Learning game designers
- Game researchers
- Program evaluators
Graduates work in such settings as:
- University-based research centers
- Community agencies
- Not-for profit organizations
- School systems
- Private industry, such as game design studios, educational design firms, and educational research firms