Information for Graduate Students

What is GDIAC?

The Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC) is a group of faculty, students, staff, and community members all devoted to the academic study of game design and development. Please refer to the About GDIAC link for more information about our mission, history, and structure.

As a graduate student, how can I be involved?

Students pursuing graduate degrees in computer science or information science can study and research game design alongside graduate courses in their primary field. Computing and Information Science offers areas of study connected at various points to game design.

Graduate participation in GDIAC is most common among Masters of Engineering students. However, there are several students working on PhD research relevant to the game industry. See the research page for information on active PhD research projects relevant to games.

Where do I start?

You should first start with Cornell University's Graduate School and identify your fields of interest. We suggest looking into the following areas:

Please consult each department and college's requirements and course listing to get a feel for what suits you best. Note that we encourage tours and interviews when possible.

If you are already a graduate student at Cornell and want to get involved in game design, contact the GDIAC director for more information. GDIAC can help direct you to relevant courses and offer advice on projects/research. Be sure to check with one of us before signing up for one of the graduate course offerings, listed below.

Should I pursue a Masters or Ph.D.?

Cornell University offers either a Masters of Engineering (MEng) in Computer Science or Ph.D in Computer Science or Ph.D. in Information Science. For game design, we recommend pursing an MEng, as the program focuses on projects more than research.

If you are interested in either research and education, game design is a viable topic for a PhD. We recommend that you examine the relevant research projects before applying, to ensure that Cornell is the right fit for you and your research aspirations.

What are GDIAC's graduate courses?

Graduate students have two primary opportunities for GDIAC course enrollment:

CS/INFO 4152

Graduate students in this course work along with experienced undergraduates to design and develop an original computer game in any aspect of the development process. You should consult with your graduate program concerning the maximum number of 4000-level courses that you are allowed.

CS 5999

This course is used to satisfy the project requirement in the Computer Science MEng program. Students with previous experience may work on a game or game-related technology for this project. As with undergraduate independent studies, students must first submit a project proposal before enrolling in this course.