B.F.A./M.I.T. Digital Game Development
SMU Guildhall is one of the premier graduate video game education programs in the United States. Founded by industry icons in 2003, the program has graduated over 600 students, with alumni working at more than 200 video game studios around the world. Classes are taught by industry veterans who have produced numerous top-selling game titles. The Guildhall is an industry-driven program with high standards of admission.
SMU art majors who are pursuing a B.F.A. are eligible to apply for a two-part B.F.A./M.I.T. (Bachelor of Arts/Master of Interactive Technology) program in partnership with The Guildhall at SMU. The 5½ year program offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Meadows School of the Arts and a graduate professional certificate or a Master of Interactive Technology degree from The Guildhall.
Students who wish to pursue the SMU B.F.A./M.I.T. first complete 63 hours of their general undergraduate art education at Meadows School of the Arts on the SMU main campus. In the final semester of their senior year, the students move to The Guildhall, located on the SMU-in-Plano campus, to begin 15 hours of concurrent work on the M.I.T.
At The Guildhall, students concentrate their studies on one of four tracks: Art Creation, Level Design, Programming or Production. Throughout the 24-month M.I.T. program, students work in teams on 2D and 3D games using industry development methods. Emphasis is on project teamwork, interdisciplinary thought and action and development of a truly professional portfolio.
Preparing for the M.I.T.
Achieving a B.F.A. in Art will provide you with the education and dedication you will need to successfully complete the intense, 24-month M.I.T. at SMU Guildhall. Successful applicants typically have a foundation in traditional mediums – drawing, painting and sculpting - with a secure background in observational and life drawing. Digital skills are also valuable.
At SMU Guildhall, students learn all forms of game creation, from game theory and design to implementation.
Students focusing on the Art Creation track will major in 3D component creation and minor in 2D art, creating environments and characters for the games they are developing. Drawing is a major part of the curriculum, underlying and amplifying all of the lessons in computer art and graphics. Being an excellent game artist also means knowing how to keenly observe the world. 2D skills lead to 3D skills in character modeling, animation, environmental modeling and texturing. Broad 3D skills lead to student-selected areas of directed focus study.
Students on the Level Design track focus on what makes a game "fun": gameplay, game structure, storytelling and player immersion. Students master tools for level flow; gameplay mechanics; texturing; and environmental layout, design and implementation. Level Design students become experts on game design documentation and illustration, preparing for careers as world builders, environmental modelers, interface designers, gameplay technical designers, lead designers and more.
Students interested in Guildhall’s Programming or Production specializations can find out more on the Lyle School of Engineering website.
Applying to The Guildhall at SMU
For students wishing to combine their SMU Meadows B.F.A art degree with the M.I.T. at The Guildhall at SMU:
- First, you must be dually admitted to SMU and the Division of Art. See Art Admission Page for application guidelines.
- During your freshman year you must take Foundations: ASAG 1300, 1304, 1308, and 1312.
- By Sept. 1 of your sophomore year, you must declare your major as a B.F.A. in Art at SMU Meadows and then set meetings with both the Division of Art advisor and a Meadows degree counselor to review your degree progress.
- In your junior year, begin working on portfolio requirements outlined on The Guildhall website.
- In the summer before your senior year, before July 1, apply to The Guildhall online.
- Once accepted, you will spend the second semester of your senior year, plus an additional 18 months, at The Guildhall at SMU-in-Plano.
Note: Students who get their undergraduate degree from another university will spend four years with that university and 24 months with SMU Guildhall to complete their M.I.T. for a total of six years of higher education. Doing the B.F.A./M.I.T. program with Meadows/SMU Guildhall allows for the last undergraduate semester to be spent essentially as a dual credit semester, so that SMU B.F.A. art students complete the degree in just 5½ years.
Read here for information about requirements for the B.F.A. in Art degree.
Read more about the academic programs at The Guildhall.