About SMU Guildhall

Built by the industry, for the industry

The Guildhall was established in 2003 as a premier graduate-level video game development education program in the United States. It was created at the request of the game development industry to train its future leaders.

With master’s degree and professional certificate programs in game development, we turn a passion for gaming into a viable and fulfilling career.


What is different about SMU Guildhall? 

Proven History of Success — Top Ranked & Globally Recognized

Since its genesis, SMU Guildhall has set the bar in game development education. The program’s achievements can be seen in its high-caliber game successes, program and student game awards and contest wins, consistent high rankings among the top graduate game design programs across the world, and graduate job placements amongst 770+ in-demand alumni who have worked at 270+ studios worldwide.

It’s long held a seat in the Top 10 rankings for game development programs internationally by the Princeton Review. In addition to its Team Game Production curriculum, the Guildhall has been commended for the high quality of its faculty of industry veterans and professionals as well as its career services achievements.


Faculty of Industry Veterans

With SMU Guildhall’s low student-to-faculty ratio, you’ll learn from and be mentored by our faculty of successful game developers, who have worked with over 40 leading game studios including: Activision/Blizzard, Atari, Day 1, Electronic Arts, Gearbox, id, LucasArts, Microsoft, Oculus, Origin Systems, Playful, Red Storm, Retro, Robot, Rovio, Sega, Sony, Terminal Reality, Ubisoft, Valve, and many more. Full-time faculty have worked on more than 290 professional games across three decades.

Strong Industry Partnerships

Our location in Plano, Texas, puts us nearby to over 50 game studios, app developers and digital technology companies in the Dallas area, as well as more than 180 game development and production companies across the state. This enables us to employ successful local developers as adjunct faculty, many of whom work at studios in the daytime and teach here in the evenings. Industry professionals from around the world partner with us regularly to provide insight to our students, serve as guest lecturers and advisors, and help to continually refine and enhance our curriculum.

All Four Game Development Specializations

SMU Guildhall is the only program that offers specializations in all four cornerstones of video game development: Art, Design, Production, and Programming.Students develop their skills in specialization-specific classes and complete independent research to inform Master’s Theses and Directed Focus Studies that pursue passion projects, analyze current industry trends, and solve critical issues.


More Team Games & A More Competitive Portfolio

Student portfolios are competitive, boasting both individual work and team games. The quality and quantity of our student games, and their award-winning reputation, is a key reason many students apply to SMU Guildhall and that employers seek to hire our alumni. Guildhall students work in cross-disciplinary teams to create 3+ commercial quality 2D and 3D games in the style and pace of the industry, developing for multiple platforms using today's best game engines.