B.F.A./M.I.T. Digital Game Development
The Guildhall at SMU is the premier graduate video game education program in the United States. Founded by industry icons in 2005, 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.
Students can opt for a two-part B.F.A./M.I.T. (Bachelor of Arts/Master of Interactive Technology) program in partnership with SMU Meadows School of the Arts. The 5 1/2 year program offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Meadows School of the Arts and a graduate certificate or a Master of Interactive Technology degree from The Guildhall.
Students who pursue the SMU B.F.A./M.I.T. first complete their general 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 concurrent work on the M.I.T.
At The Guildhall, students concentrate their studies on one of four tracks: Art Creation, Level Design, Software Development 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 The Guildhall at SMU. 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 The Guildhall at SMU, 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.
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, enroll in the B.F.A. in Art at SMU Meadows
- As soon as you've decided the B.F.A./M.I.T. is the right fit for you, contact your undergraduate advisor to customize your degree plan
- In your junior year, begin working on portfolio requirements outlined at The Guildhall website
- In the summer before your senior year, before July 1, apply to the Guildhall at SMU 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 4 years with that university and 24 months with The Guildhall at SMU to complete their M.I.T. for a total of 6 years of higher education. Doing the B.F.A./M.I.T. program with Meadows/The Guildhall at SMU 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 5 1/2 years.