Schools, Departments & Programs

The Media School

B.S. in Game Design

The B.S. in Game Design takes a social systems approach to game design, emphasizing the creative symbiosis that develops when game designers combine the age-old arts of storytelling and illustration with powerful new media platforms and state-of-the-art animation to translate their vision into compelling virtual realities. The degree shares its structure with the other undergraduate degrees offered in The Media School, including The Media Core (Managing, Making, Thinking Media) and all College degree requirements, but does not require a concentration. As an alternative to the concentration, and in keeping with the pre-professional design of many B.S. degrees, students complete 45 credit hours of courses focused on the skills and knowledge required of game designers. The B.S. in Game Design does not require a specialization.

Students with strong interests in game-programming, graphic design and animation, or music composition and sound production for multi-media will be allowed to count approved courses completed in Informatics, Fine Arts Studio, and the Jacobs School of Music towards completion of these electives.


In addition to the CASE Credit Hour and Residency Requirements, students must complete the following requirements:

  1. Foundations
    1. CASE English Composition
    2. Mathematical Modeling
  2. CASE Foreign Language
    • Proficiency in a single foreign language at or above the first semester of the second year of college-level coursework.
  3. CASE Intensive Writing
  4. CASE Breadth of Inquiry
    1. Arts and Humanities: four courses
    2. Social and Historical Studies: four courses
    3. Natural and Mathematical Sciences: four courses
  5. CASE Critical Approaches
  6. CASE Public Oral Communication
  7. CASE Culture Studies
    1. Diversity in the United States
    2. Global Civilizations and Culture

Students pursuing the B.S. in Game Design must also complete at least 57 credit hours for the major component of the degree, including the following requirements:

  1. The Media School Core. Complete both a and b below. 
    1. Introduction to Media. Complete the following course:
      • MSCH-C 101 Media
    2. Concept Clusters. Complete one (1) course from each of the following*:
      • Managing Media
        • MSCH-C 200 The Videogame Industry: Systems and Management (recommended course)
        • MSCH-C 204 Behind the Prize
        • MSCH-C 206 Media Reporting in a Global World
        • MSCH-C 207 Introduction to Media Industry and Management
      • Thinking Media
        • MSCH-C 210 Introduction to Games (recommended course)
        • MSCH-C 211 Screening Gender and Sexuality
        • MSCH-C 212 Screening Race and Ethnicity
        • MSCH-C 213 Introduction to Media and Society
        • MSCH-C 214 Race, Prejudice, and the Media
        • MSCH-C 215 History of Videogames
        • MSCH-C 216 Social Scientific Perspectives of Gender and Media
        • MSCH-C 217 Image Cultures
        • MSCH-C 218 Sports, Media and Society
        • MSCH-C 219 Media in the Global Context
      • Making Media
        • MSCH-C 221 Writing for Electronic Media
        • MSCH-C 223 Introduction to Design and Production
        • MSCH-C 225 Reporting, Writing, and Editing I
        • MSCH-C 226 Visual Communication
        • MSCH-C 227 Introduction to Sports Media
        • MSCH-C 228 Introduction to Production Techniques and Practices
        Students should consult the Managing/Thinking/Making Courses Based on Degree Sequence chart to determine the best concept cluster courses to take based on the concentration.
  2. Game Design Foundations. Complete the following:
    1. MSCH-C 210 Introduction to Games
    2. One (1) of the following courses:
      • INFO-I 210 Information Infrastructure I*
      • ILS-Z 399 Topics in Information and Library Science (Approved topic: Introduction to Game Programming)
  3. Game Design Developmental Skills Courses. Complete each of the following (3 courses):
    • MSCH-G 300 Game Production I.
    • MSCH-G 310 Game Design I: Concepts
    • MSCH-G 320 Game Art and Sound
  4. Advanced Courses. Complete each of the following courses (5 courses):
    • MSCH-G 400 Game Production II
    • MSCH-G 410 Game Design II: Systems
    • MSCH-G 450 Game Workshop I: Prototype
    • MSCH-G 460 Game Workshop II: Demo
    • MSCH-G 470 Game Workshop III: Publish
  5. Electives*. Complete at least 15 credit hours including:
    1. Three (3) courses from one (1) of the following areas:
      • Art

        Game art students focus on the production of 2D and 3D digital assets to spec, on timeline and under budget. They work on student teams as artists. Their primary collaboration channel is with the IU School of Art and Design.

        • FINA-D 210 Digital Art: Survey and Practice
        • FINA-D 310 Interactive Multimedia
        • FINA-D 317 Video Art
        • FINA-D 318 3D Computer Graphics
        • FINA-D 410 Advanced Multimedia
        • FINA-D 417 Digital Video
        • FINA-D 418 Computer Graphical Environments
        • FINA-F 100 Fundamental Studio--Drawing
        • FINA-F 102 Fundamental Studio
        • FINA-S 200 Drawing I
        • FINA-S 250 Introduction to Design Practice
        • FINA-S 301 Drawing II
        • FINA-S 352 Production for the Graphic Designer
        • FINA-S 451 Graphic Design Problem Solving
      • Design

        "Game design students" in this context are those who specialize even further in the core focus of the curricular program--the design part of game creation. All design students work as designers on game teams, but there are two sub-groupings: Game Design Theory and Games and Mind.

        Game Design Theory

        Design theory students focus on formal understanding of strategic interactions. They pursue coursework in complex systems, economics and political science.

        • ECON-E 321 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
        • ECON-E 327 Game Theory
        • ECON-E 351 Law and Economics
        • ECON-E 361 Public Finance: Government Spending
        • ECON-E 362 Public Finance: Taxation
        • ECON-E 370 Statistical Analysis for Business and Economics
        • ECON-E 385 Economics of Industry
        • INFO-I 368 Introduction to Network Science
        • INFO-I 468 Advanced Network Science
        • MATH-K 310 Statistical Techniques
        • MATH-M 118 Finite Mathematics
        • MATH-M 447 Mathematical Models and Applications I
        • MATH-M 448 Mathematical Models and Applications II
        • POLS-Y 204 Institutional Analysis and Governance
        • POLS-Y 351 Political Simulations
        • POLS-Y 395 Quantitative Political Analysis
        • POLS-Y 405 Models and Theories of Political Decision Making
        • STAT-K 310 Statistical Techniques
        • STAT-S 300 Introduction to Applied Statistical Methods
        Games and Mind

        Mind students focus on scientific and philosophical understanding of human experience in strategic situations. Their partners are in IU's departments of Cognitive Science and Psychological and Brain Sciences.

        • COGS-Q 301 Brain and Cognition
        • COGS-Q 330 Perception/Action
        • COGS-Q 350 Mathematics and Logic for the Cognitive and Information Sciences
        • COGS-Q 351 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Computer Simulation
        • COGS-Q 360 Autonomous Robotics
        • COGS-Q 370 Experiments and Models in Cognition
        • PSY-P 330 Perception/Action
        • PSY-P 335 Cognitive Psychology
        • PSY-P 350 Human Factors/Ergonomics
        • PSY-P 430 Behavior Modification
        • PSY-P 437 Neurobiology of Addictions
        • PSY-P 453 Decision-making and the Brain
      • Management, Advertising and Public Relations

        These students focus on the marketing and business aspects of game design. They work on teams in a managerial capacity, seeking later work as producers, managers and executives. Their primary collaboration is within the Media School's public relations, advertising and management programs.

        • MSCH-A 315 Advertising and Consumer Culture
        • MSCH-A 320 Principles of Creative Advertising
        • MSCH-A 337 Electronic Media Advertising
        • MSCH-A 347 Media Promotion and Marketing
        • MSCH-A 420 Advertising Concepts and Copywriting
        • MSCH-A 438 Advertising Issues and Research
        • MSCH-A 441 Advanced Advertising Strategies
        • MSCH-M 330 Production Management
        • MSCH-M 421 Economics of Communications Industries
        • MSCH-M 422 Business Applications in Telecommunications
        • MSCH-M 446 Telecommunications Management
        • MSCH-R 321 Principles of Public Relations
        • MSCH-R 349 Public Relations Writing
        • MSCH-R 428 Public Relations Planning and Research
        • MSCH-R 429 Public Relations Campaigns
      • Programming

        Game coders focus on the technical tasks involved with building games using digital game engines. Their contribution to student teams involves combining assets and design specifications into playable artifacts. Coders' collaboration channel is the IU School of Informatics.

        • CSCI-A 201 Introduction to Programming I
        • CSCI-A 202 Introduction to Programming II
        • CSCI-A 216 Digital Multimedia Concepts and Technologies
        • CSCI-B 351 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Computer Simulation
        • CSCI-B 461 Database Concepts
        • CSCI-B 481 Interactive Graphics
        • CSCI-C 211 Introduction to Computer Science
        • CSCI-C 212 Introduction to Software Systems
        • CSCI-C 291 System Programming with C and Unix
        • CSCI-C 322 Object-Oriented Software Methods
        • CSCI-H 211 Introduction to Computer Science, Honors
        • CSCI-H 212 Introduction to Software Systems, Honors
        • CSCI-P 465 Software Engineering for Information Systems I
      • Sound

        Game sound students focus on music, sound effects, and environmental sound. Their student team contribution involves audio assets. These students connect naturally with the IU Jacobs School of Music.

        • MSCH-P 353 Audio Production
        • MSCH-P 369 Sound Design
        • MUS A102 Audio Techniques I
        • MUS A201 Audio Techniques II
        • MUS A202 Audio Techniques III
        • MUS A321 Sound for Picture Production
    2. At least two (2) courses chosen from the following:
      • Any MSCH course
      • INFO-I 300 HCI/Interaction Design
      • INFO-H 300 HCI/Interaction Design, Honors
      • INFO-I 310 Multimedia Arts and Technology
      • Another course approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies

*Note: INFO-I 210 and many of the elective courses have prerequisites. Be sure to consider prerequisite coursework in your degree planning.

Additional Opportunities

Students pursuing the B.S. in Game Design are also eligible for a special minor offered through the Jacobs School of Music. For more information, see the Minor in Music Scoring for Visual Media in the "Opportunities" section of this Bulletin.