Study Game Design and Interactive Media at the University of Montana

Is it your dream to be a video game designer? Earn your bachelor’s degree in game design and interactive media at UM and prepare for challenging, creative jobs in this fast-growing industry.

With the game design and interactive media degree at UM, you’ll learn to conceptualize and develop games that fit your artistic vision and career goals — through a curriculum that explores video game design, illustration, and 3D animation, storytelling, and more. Our faculty includes award-winning media arts professionals who are also dedicated teachers and mentors.

Graduates of the game design major within the School of Visual and Media Arts will have the skills and hands-on training to excel in mobile app design, game development and other interactive media jobs.

$5K

scholarship per student in the game design and interactive media

90%

of SVMA graduates said their current job was creative, fit their values and interests, and contributed to the greater good

300+

members of the UM varsity eSports team

Other degree options for art at UM

Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts

Online Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sound Design and Media Technology

Master of Fine Arts in Media Arts

Interactive Art and Media Certificate

What can you do with a degree in game design and interactive media?

 Skilled designers who can develop interesting games with realistic graphics and special effects are in high demand: Video game designer jobs are projected to grow 9.3% over the next several years. Earning your bachelor’s degree can also help you advance from entry-level jobs to intermediate and advanced careers as a game designer, interactive media artist, visual effects animator, and more. Take the next step to learn how to become a video game designer and earn your degree at the University of Montana. 

What is game design?

Combining the skills of writers, artists, and programmers, game designers develop interactive games and media for entertainment or educational purposes. Game design involves creating compelling stories and characters, along with features that provide a fun and interesting experience for players. Game designers can also work in a variety of roles, including programmers, audio engineers, QA testers, and more.

Game design jobs

There are many different jobs you can pursue with a degree in game design. Examples include:

  • Video game designer
  • Storyline developer
  • 3D modeler
  • Mobile app developer
  • Web designer
  • Virtual reality developer
  • Content designer
  • Full stack web developer

Game designer salary

How much can you earn with a degree in game design? According to PayScale.com, the average video game designer's salary is $65,959. Your salary will depend on your experience: Senior game designers can earn in excess of $105,000.

Virtual reality developers average $89,590 per year, while mobile app developers earn $73,282.

Experiential learning in the media arts degree at UM

Compete nationally against eSports teams at other colleges. Gain real-world experience through internships with design firms in Missoula. While majoring in game design and interactive media within the School of Visual and Media Arts, you’ll have numerous opportunities to challenge yourself, develop practical job skills, and build your professional portfolio.

A group of UM game design students recently created a virtual reality (VR) hunting simulation, aimed at teaching hunting safety and skills within a 3D environment. The VR tool consists of levels that teach hunting techniques, with the first level focusing on shooting, while future levels will cover dressing, butchering and other hunting topics. 

“We wanted to develop a project where we can teach people safety and all the different facts about hunting, while keeping it fun within that 3D world,” says Aiden Sweet, a game design student from Washington.

Career development in the media arts bachelor’s degree program

Becoming a successful video game designer takes more than coding and technical skills. It’s also about networking, finding opportunities that match your interests and skills and being able to work as part of a team. At UM, these are all areas in which we help give you an edge — from the personal mentorship of your professors to network-building opportunities on campus and beyond, to practical skill development that will prepare you for the real world.

Media arts scholarships

Get help paying for your degree in media arts. We offer several scholarship opportunities specifically designed for media arts majors, ranging from $500 to $2,000, and $5,000 scholarships for students in the game design and interactive media concentration. Learn more about media arts scholarship opportunities at the University of Montana.

VIDEO: Every game. Every body. Every one.

That's the motto of Griz Esports and their more than 200 Grizzlies who either compete, or play. The team has two Big Sky Conference titles for Rocket League, but it's not so much the trophies that matter. It's the community. From nearly every major, walk of life and corner of campus, these students represent diverse, inclusive gaming in Montana.

Esports student-athletes also parlay their game expertise into majors like cybersecurity, interactive media and game design, marketing, computer science, management information systems and much more. The rules? Lift each other up, reduce toxicity, change the conversation and have a little fun.

Explore classes in the game design concentration of the media arts major

The game design and interactive media curriculum gives you a strong foundation in design, storytelling, illustration, and 3D animation, combined with creative coding and in-depth game development coursework.

View all classes for the bachelor’s degree in media arts with a concentration in game design and interactive media.