SMU Guildhall academics: Excellence in game development

SMU Guildhall merges solid academics with practical, real-world products. We equip the next generation of game creators with the technical skills and instincts required to drive the evolution of gaming.

We produce professional quality games and teams, training future industry leaders using a constructivist method of instruction—combining lecture, lab, and studio. As part of our mission, faculty and students are able to pursue many opportunities to further the arts and sciences using game design and game technologies. 

Our faculty members are industry veterans with decades of experience. They mentor and model best practices in the team setting along with servant leadership methodology. The curriculum in our two-year program is team-centric with interdisciplinary thought and action, designed to allow students to “learn it, live it, then lead it” in a real-world experience. 

SMU Guildhall offers over 100 graduate classes dedicated to game design for its certificate and master's students, and we remain the only masters game design program to offer all four of the major specializations in the game industry: Art Creation, Level Design, Production, and Software Development (Programming). Coursework for each student is individualized per specialization, with each taking majors, minors, directed focus studies, and special topics relative to their degree, as well as two professional development courses and one ethics course. 

SMU Guildhall utilizes a cohort model, in which each admitted cycle of students will move together through the program in lockstep, with each course being a pre-requisite for the next in the sequence. Students choose a specialization and take focused classes aligned with that area, as well as work collaboratively as a group for cross-disciplinary Team Game Production courses. In addition, students will take courses to support Thesis development (as applicable), professional development, and more.

We currently offer two full-time, 2-year game design programs:

Master of Interactive Technology (MIT) in Digital Game Development: Consists of a specified specialization-related course sequence, directed individual work in the specialization with a practical Master’s thesis artifact (project-in-lieu-of-thesis), and cross-disciplinary team game productions. 

Professional Certificate in Digital Game Development: Mirrors the MIT program, minus the thesis.

Teamwork & specialized learning: The core of our curriculum

The courses we offer annually combine lectures, labs, and studios to prepare students for the video game industry via both independent work and team projects. Students are admitted in cohorts and move through the program together, studying game development, industry trends, leadership, teamwork, professional development, and ethics. Each student takes the following courses:

  • 4 team game production courses
  • 1 professional development course
  • 9-11 specialization-specific course sequence (9 courses for Production, and 11 courses for Art, Level Design, and Software Development)
  • 1 ethics course
  • 4 courses that focus on research to advance each of the specialization specific fields in game development (Master's students only)

Sample schedule 

Specialized Learning

SMU Guildhall is the only program that offers specializations in all four cornerstones of video game development: ArtDesignProduction (MIT only), and Programming. Students develop their skills and instincts in specialization-specific classes and complete independent work and research to inform their Master’s theses and Directed Focus Studies. They apply these skills to their team game projects.

Team Game Projects

In team game production courses, students work in cross-disciplinary teams to develop three or more professional-grade 2D and 3D games in the style and pace of the industry. Guildhall games have won many awards, and several have gone on to be further developed and published post-graduation.

Learn more about our student work and games



Southern Methodist University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award Baccalaureate, Master's, Professional, and Doctoral degrees. Southern Methodist University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).