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Where Play Has Serious Impact

Create, use, and evaluate digital games for the specific purpose of learning. This degree 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.

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Degree Details

Official Degree Title

Master of Science in Games for Learning

Full-time or Part-time
Start Date
Application Deadline
Start Date
Summer or Fall
Application Deadline

We offer several areas of study including game design, game development, game research, and student-customized focus areas under faculty supervision. You’ll graduate with a depth of knowledge about: 

  • 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.

Your work with faculty and in the field 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 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.

Learn more about our Educational Communication and Technology faculty.

Flexible Study

The curriculum offers flexibility in creating a program of study that you and your advisor can tailor to fit your professional goals and interests. You can choose to study full-time or part-time.

Games for Learning Institute

You will benefit from exposure to and participation in the Games for Learning Institute's (G4LI) ongoing research endeavors and emerging ideas about gaming. G4LI, which involves nine other universities, conducts research on the design of effective games for learning in a variety of formal and informal settings. 

Fieldwork and Internships

Our interns apply their skills and knowledge in a broad variety of corporations, cultural institutions, not-for-profit organizations, and game design studios – all of which may also lead to your future employment.

Thesis Capstone Project

The thesis capstone 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.

You’ll be prepared for a career as a:

  • Director of projects related to games for learning
  • Learning game designer
  • Game researcher
  • Program evaluator

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

Program Benefits for International Students

If you’re an international student, you may be able to work in the United States after graduation for an extended period of time. Most students studying on F-1 visas will be eligible for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) off-campus work authorization. F-1 students in our program may also be eligible for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) OPT extension, allowing you to extend your time in the United States to pursue degree-related work experience for a total of 36 months or 3 years. For more information on who can apply for this extension visit NYU’s Office of Global Services: STEM OPT.

Take the Next Step

Advance your personal and professional journey – apply to join our community of students.

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