Frequently Asked Questions

What is game design?

Game Design refers to both the overall interdisciplinary process for creating a game, including the visual art, sound design, programming, level design, story, world-building, etc.  All of these aspects come together to make the interactive experiences you know in digital and non-digital games.  But we also refer to game design as the specific craft of creating the systems, rules, and fundamental building blocks of any game.  So, at NYU you will take a number of courses in various aspects of game design, including courses in “game design”.

What is the program curriculum?

The Game Design BFA has a core curriculum of 8 intro and intermediate level studio classes in game literacy, game criticism, visual communication, programming and both digital and non-digital game design. Beyond these classes, students can define their own course of study with a modular structure of electives that can be combined in different ways, giving the student a great deal of freedom in designing their own course of study. A full guide to our curriculum and requirements can be found here.

What is the experience of the program?

The Game Center BFA is an intensive creative environment. As a student, at any given moment you will be creating one or more game projects, from small weekly prototypes to larger semester-long group projects.  At the same time, you will also be involved in analysis and discussion, from critiquing the work of other students to in-depth research on an original topic. And there will also be plenty of game playing too- our game library contains thousands of digital and non-digital games. Play, creation, and analysis complement and inform each other to create a unique educational experience.

What will I learn during my time in the Game Center BFA program?

The Game Center offers specialized classes that will help you refine your skills in one or more areas of game development, such as game programming or game design. However, the most important things you will learn transcend these more narrow areas of expertise. Some of these larger key skills include solving problems through design and iteration, best practices for creative collaboration and teamwork, and understanding how to analyze games on multiple levels, from their mathematics and aesthetics to their history and culture.

Can I work create non-digital games?

Yes , absolutely. The focus of the Game Center MFA is games on digital platforms (consoles, computers, mobile) but we also take a broad look at games that includes card and board games, social and physical games, sports, and other forms of non-digital play. Most of the students in the program will be creating videogames, but students can also explore the design, development, and analysis of games off the computer.

Where is the campus?

We are located in NYU’s Downtown Brooklyn campus, next to the Tandon School of Engineering. All of the Game Design classes are held at our space in MAGNET, the NYU Media and Games Network. General Education and elective classes will typically be located at NYU’s Washington Square campus. Students make the brief 25-30 minute commute by subway or NYU Shuttle Bus.

Will I live in Brooklyn?

Freshmen dorms are still located in the Washington Square area of Manhattan. About half of the first-year classes are in Brooklyn and half are in Manhattan.  The commute between campuses is about 25-30 minutes by subway or NYU Shuttle Bus. After freshmen year, students have the option to live in dorms or move off-campus. Many upper-level student choose to live in apartments in Brooklyn. Read more about the NYU dorms here: NYU Residence Halls

Is this a practical degree?

The Game Center BFA will absolutely prepare you to work in the game industry. As games continue to expand as form of culture, there is a need for industry leaders to invent new kinds of play. Our focus is not on graduates that will become cogs in the industry machine but instead to create industry innovators, from creative leads on a major game projects to independent game artists to leading game critics. Our graduates will reinvent what games can be.

Who teaches the undergraduate classes?

Our full-time faculty teach courses in both the MFA and BFA program. The faculty are world renowned in their fields, and as professors at the Tisch School of the Arts they also maintain a professional career in the industry. We also have professional game designers teaching part-time in the areas they know best, such as games journalism, visual design or board game design.

What should I submit for my creative portfolio?

We are looking for talented, creative, passionate students who have the creative potential to make new and interesting games. The way to show us that you have what it takes to succeed in the BFA program is to show us a creative project that you are most proud of. We want to get a sense of who you are as an artist. It does not have to be a game.

What if I’ve never made a game?

You don’t need to have made a game in order to apply, but you should have an interest and passion to do so. You can show us another creative project that shows your potential and talent. Game design an interdisciplinary field, it combines visual art, programming, writing, sound, and more so if you have a project in any of these areas we would like to see it!

Do I need to know how to code?

No, but you will have to take at least one programming class at the Game Center. We teach code that is specifically about making games, our Intro to Programming class is different from a general coding class you would take in a computer science department. And we believe every graduating student should be comfortable with programming.

What is the tuition?

Lots of information about the full cost of attending NYU can be found here: NYU Facts

Is financial aid available?

Yes, just make sure you complete your FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid Profile. More about Financial Aid here: NYU Financial Aid Basics

Can international students apply?

Absolutely!  We have a growing number of international applicants each year, and  NYU has the most international student of any US college. The application requirements are the same for International students, but may also include an English Language Proficiency test, such as TOEFL or IELTS. Read more about applying as an international student.

Apart from the BFA program, what is the NYU Game Center?

The NYU Game Center is a leading institution for the study and creation of games, and a center of the New York City game community. We offer a 2-year MFA degree, free and tuition-based high school programs. Our resources include one of the largest game libraries in the world and events that range from lectures by world-renowned game designers to major game tournaments to groundbreaking artgame exhibitions. The BFA takes advantage of the NYU Game Center and its central location in one of the world’s great cultural capitals, New York City.

More questions?

Contact us at gamecenter@nyu.edu