Interactive Media and Game Development Degree Program Launched by Worcester Polytechnic Institute

New Undergraduate Major Is First of Its Kind in Combining Artistic and Technical Concentrations

Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. -- November 29, 2004 -- Game on! Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is introducing a B.S. degree in interactive media and game development (IMGD) for the 2005-06 academic year, following approval of the new major earlier this month by the WPI faculty.

This is the first major of its kind in the U.S. -- a four-year undergraduate program significantly blending both the artistic and technical aspects of game creation, and allowing students to concentrate in either area at the same institution. It will be jointly administered by WPI's Computer Science Department and Humanities and Arts Department, and the major's faculty will hail from both of these departments.

WPI's IMGD major focuses on the development of interactive media and computer games, fast growing fields with releases that rival Hollywood movies. Students receive a base education in both the artistic (art, music, and story), and technical (programming) aspects, and then select an artistic or technical concentration as the focus for the remainder of their program. They are also required to study social and philosophical issues associated with games and related media.

The program was developed over the past year by examining the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Curriculum Framework, researching other educational programs, and consulting with members of the game development industry.

"This new major mirrors the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of how interactive media and games are developed in the real world," says Dennis D. Berkey, president of WPI. "Our students will work closely together, whether they aspire to be technical programmers or game artists. They'll be grounded in philosophical and social issues pertaining to games and new media, and they'll also obtain the benefits of a well-rounded WPI undergraduate education. When they graduate, they'll be well prepared for careers in game development and new media fields, as well as in more traditional areas; or for further study in graduate school."

The IMGD major's course work consists of core classes that expose students to the fundamental ideas of interactive media and game development. After students select a technical or an artistic emphasis, they take advanced courses in their chosen area. Some of the course offerings include

  • Art and Animation
  • Artistic Game Development I and II
  • Critical Studies of Interactive Media and Games
  • Digital Imaging and Computer Art
  • Essentials of Art
  • The Game Development Process
  • Philosophy and Ethics of Computer Games
  • Social Issues in Interactive Media and Games
  • Storytelling in Interactive Media and Games
  • Technical Game Development I and II

As part of the WPI undergraduate curriculum, the IMGD major also gives students a base of technical knowledge in computer science, mathematics, and science, as well as artistic knowledge in the areas of art, music, and English. WPI uses a project-based approach that balances theory and practice, and students are challenged through a series of independent projects to investigate and report on open-ended issues. Electives allow students to tailor the degree to meet specific career goals or interests.

At the end of the degree program, IMGD students will have successfully completed a large-scale software project and a group project with both technical and artistic IMGD majors. They will be able to creatively express and analyze artistic forms relative to IMGD; communicate effectively orally, in writing, and in visual media; and be aware of social and philosophical issues pertaining to games and related media.

To learn more about the IMGD major and how to apply to the program, visit the IMGD Web site at www.wpi.edu/academics/Majors/IMGD. WPI's deadline for undergraduate admissions and this new IMGD program is February 1, 2005.