IMGD Student Life
Welcome to IMGD student life! Our community is dedicated to providing you with a rewarding and fulfilling college experience—both inside and outside the classroom! As such, we hope you'll get involved in the IMGD-related clubs on campus and participate in all the other cool things we offer to prepare students for the industry.
Prepare for the Industry with IMGD
For more details about all the IMGD events we host on campus, visit our IMGD Events & News page. For all the different conferences and other external events our students participate in, like PAX East and BostonFIG, visit Conferences & Opportunities.
Resume & Portfolio Tips
As students begin building their portfolios and writing their resumes, professors emphasize the importance of standing out from anyone else in your discipline within the industry. Students are prepared to enter a competitive workforce where they have to best show their skills and knowledge in their creative or technical specialties. Industry professionals, professors, and alumni host presentations to discuss how they broke into the industry and what best helped them. In addition, WPI also has the Career and Development Center (CDC), which can help students write their resumes before going to professors for critiques. The CDC hosts detailed workshops, where alumni and professors critique student’s resumes and portfolios to highlight their strengths and styles better. IMGD faculty recognize the skill, dedication, and passion from their students, and they want to help students best succeed in their academic careers and professional careers.
Want to be featured in our IMGD student showcase? Send your information (name, major, and class year), a link to your portfolio (and what specific piece you'd like to highlight), and a photo of yourself to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMGD research revolves around students working with industry professionals working to learn about current industry technology and applications. Research fields vary from VR game design to mobile app development to community outreach opportunities. Each professor in the department has their own research interests, and students can reach out to them with interest in working on any ongoing projects or even starting a new one. The department offers unique opportunities and industry experience that students can become involved with and include on their resumes. Students are also encouraged to start their own projects and development studios to build their portfolios.
Frequently Asked Questions
What degrees can I get in IMGD?
We offer two IMGD degrees for undergraduates: IMGD BS and IMGD BA. However, under our BA, you can also choose a concentration in visual art, technical art, design, writing, or audio. If you’re interested in IMGD but don’t want to major in it, consider adding an IMGD minor to your degree.
Where can I find IMGD tracking sheets?
You can find all IMGD tracking sheets on our Studio Facilities & Resources page.
How do I apply for IMGD’s graduate programs?
On our Graduate page, you’ll find detailed descriptions of each of our graduate degrees and what an IMGD graduate application should look like. To start an application, see WPI’s Graduate Admissions page.
Can I double major in IMGD?
We see a lot of students double majoring in Computer Science and IMGD BS, and other common IMGD double majors include Robotics Engineering, Professional Writing, Data Science, and Business. For more information about double majoring, reach out to your academic advisor and take a look at WPI’s undergraduate course catalog for more details.
There is a lot of overlap between both IMGD BA and BS, so WPI doesn’t allow students to double major in both. If you plan on getting a BA in whichever concentration, you’ll still get to do some programming, and vice versa. However, we do encourage students to pursue double majors in WPI’s other IMGD-related undergraduate programs.
How does the 5-year IMGD BS/MS plan work?
It takes a bit of planning, but students can take graduate courses in the senior year of their undergraduate major, and count their 4000-level classes as credit towards the MS. Then it’s just a matter of finishing the MS courses in the fifth year and completing their MS thesis or project.
What kind of computer and software do I need for IMGD classes?
All hardware and software needed for IMGD classes is available in our IMGD labs, so there is no official requirement for a computer or minimum spec. That said, college students like to have their own computers or laptops, so get the best you can afford and the one you like the best. Mac or PC? Either one will work. Laptop or desktop? Up to you. Do you want to play the latest PC games, or would you rather be able to type up your English paper in the campus center? You decide.
Do I need to know how to program to take an IMGD class?
No. You don’t need to know how to draw to take art classes either. We assume no prior knowledge and start you programming, drawing, designing, writing, or composing at square one on day one. That said, if you’re an accomplished programmer, illustrator, writer, or composer, we’ll push you just a little bit farther.
An IMGD class that I want to register for is full. What should I do?
Get on the waitlist. If waitlists fill up, we know a class is in heavy demand and might add another section. Even if it’s not, professors will fill newly empty slots from the waitlist first, on a case-by-case basis. Talk to the professor. Can you take this course next year? Then maybe wait. If this is your last shot at getting it, or if you need it to graduate, then the professor may make arrangements for you.
I haven’t taken the prerequisite class(es) for a specific IMGD class. Can I still take it? (e.g., I want to take 3D Modelling II, but I haven’t taken 3D Modelling I.)
There are no prerequisites for any WPI class—there are recommendations. The recommendations are there for your benefit, because we find that students won’t succeed unless they have the skills taught in the previous classes. So if you haven’t taken 3D Modelling I, but you’ve been making models for years on your own, you are free to take 3D Modeling II. If you’ve never made a model before, then you’ll probably find 3D Modelling II difficult, if not impossible, to complete.
Can I double count IMGD classes for my HUA?
Some IMGD courses are considered to be both IMGD and another HUA discipline, such as IMGD/AR 2101. 3D MODELLING I (which is considered both IMGD and Art) or IMGD/WR 2400. WRITING CHARACTERS FOR INTERACTIVE MEDIA & GAMES (which is considered both IMGD and Writing).
These courses can be double-counted to give you credit towards your HUA requirement as well as your IMGD requirements. See WPI’s undergraduate course catalog for more information on which courses can be double-counted.
I’m interested in learning more about an IMGD topic, but there isn’t a class for it.
Take an independent study (ISP/ISU). At WPI, you can approach professors with an idea for a course and have it approved to count towards your degree. If you don’t have a professor in mind, take a look at the different specialties of our IMGD faculty and reach out with your ideas. To get an ISP approved for credit, you’ll need to submit a Contract Course form to the registrar.
How do I find and register for an IMGD MQP?
Every year we have a project pitch session on Academic Advising Day where professors and students pitch MQPs for the following year. If you have a great idea, you can pitch one too! Watch the pitches and decide what you want to do. From there you can put together a team (or join one) and find an advisor who is willing to advise you.
Once you have an advisor and team, follow WPI’s instructions for registering for your MQP.
What off-campus MQP options do I have as an IMGD student?
IMGD students have multiple opportunities to work off campus for their senior project, from our center in Japan where students go for three months to work in English-speaking labs with our partners at Osaka University or Ritsumeikan University, to contracts we have negotiated with Disney, Mitre, Dejobaan Games for unique opportunities. Reach out to Jennifer deWinter for more information.
What should I do for my IQP as an IMGD student?
You can do any of the offered IQP projects, and you can find them all in WPI's handy eProjects database: either on campus, or through the Department of Integrative and Global Studies (DIGS). Most students go off campus for their IQP, and one of WPI’s goals is to get all students to travel the world for their IQP.
Do I have to do an IQP within my major?
No. IQPs aren’t linked to majors, so if you want to do a study on wastewater treatment in Bangladesh, go for it. We have non-IMGD majors doing IMGD-related IQPs all the time, and IMGD students working all over the world on various problems and studies that have nothing to do with interactive media.
What types of on-campus IQPs can I do?
There are a wide variety of on-campus IQPs available, which you can find in the WPI eProjects database. Additionally, every spring the Department of Integrative and Global Studies (DIGS) holds a “Project Opportunities Fair” where they can meet with professors and other students and talk about possible projects.
On-campus IQPs range from Exploring Materials Sciences in Arms and Armor to Creating an Oral History of Video Games. Every year there are new and exciting opportunities.
How do I succeed in IMGD?
Unanimous advice from all students: SHOW UP.
There are tons of opportunities available to you at WPI—everything from professional speakers to game jams, from master classes to student studios. They are provided as part of your WPI experience, and all you need to do to take advantage of them is to show up.
Professors also hear about internships, or get grants to hire students, or pass on job offers. They’ll pass these things on, but you have to take advantage and actually apply.
How do I build a portfolio?
Your portfolio will depend on what kinds of jobs you’re applying for. In general, most IMGD students will need to build a portfolio that showcases some of their best work, including projects done outside of the classroom. Reach out to your IMGD advisor for help starting your portfolio or for focus-specific tips.
What does a typical career in IMGD look like?
There is no typical career in IMGD. We have alumni who are on the forefront of VR research, and we have others who draw icons for UI. The wide variety of program offerings itself shows that we have a wide variety of people with different interests, backgrounds and skills. What’s “typical”?
For a concise overview of the IMGD industry, you can check out the Career Development Center’s career facebook for IMGD.
What game studios do IMGD alumni work for?
This changes all the time, and what you really want to see here is a list of big game companies that you have heard of. Here is a list of some of the most recognizable places WPI students have worked: Demiurge, Treyarch, Valve, Blizzard, Respawn, Avalanche Studios, Infinity Ward, Sony, Microsoft, Google, Niantic, Irrational, Harmonix, Owlchemy Labs, and Disney.
Sigma Xi – 2019
I want to make a game—what resources does IMGD offer?
See our Studio Facilities & Resources page for information on all the different IMGD labs around campus, including all the different software and hardware available to students.
Beyond that, your best resource is the IMGD community! Trying to make a game on your own can sometimes be frustrating and discouraging, so reach out to your peers and professors for ideas and suggestions. You may even find some new teammates and playtesters along the way!
I want to make games with other people. What should I do?
Show up. Come to a game jam, go to classes. You will be making games with other people in your first IMGD class and your last. You can join (or start) a studio to make games in your free time. You can make a game in a weekend, or you can spend a year on your magnum opus.
The more you make games with people, the more people will want to make games with you. It’s an amazing circle, but it’s true!
I don’t know how to make a game. What should I do?
We assume that everyone who starts the program has never made a game before, and we start from there. If you have, great—let’s go make another! If you haven’t, there are a wide variety of tools available for all levels of skill and experience and we will show them to you.
We will also group you up with others who have complimentary skills. Want to program games? Meet this person who wants to animate 3D models! Want to write music for games? Now meet this person who wants to write dialogue and scripting for quests.
How do I publish my games?
Publishing is available to anyone, anytime as long as you can upload something to the internet. Put it on a web page. Put it on itch.io for free. Or put it on Steam as soon as you can pay $100 for a developer’s account.
Mostly, stop waiting for someone to give you permission to make and distribute games and start doing it!
I don’t like making games. What else can I do in IMGD?
Remember that game development is a subset of interactive media. Interactive media includes everything from a simple website to 3D simulations of the human heart. Want to make an interactive children’s book? The skills you get from the courses here will let you do that. The programming techniques for networking and games are applicable for video conferencing.
The skills we teach will be yours to keep, what you do with them is up to you.
I don’t know how to design media. What should I do?
We assume no background in designing media, and we teach people from all skill levels.