UW-Stout: MFA in design program stands out for its focus on game design


Menomonie, Wis. – A graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout is building a national reputation for game design to match the university’s highly ranked undergraduate program in the field.

The Master of Fine Arts in Design was ranked No. 6 in the nation this spring for game design among public universities and colleges and No. 21 overall by Princeton Review, climbing three spots from 2021.

UW-Stout is the top-ranked public university or college in the tri-state region of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois for college-level game design.

Game design is one of eight focus areas in UW-Stout’s MFA Design program, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to help students customize the program to suit their interests and skills.

“This ranking shows that our graduate students continue to blaze new trails in game design, animation and digital media, finding new ways to explore creative projects and develop new research,” said Associate Professor Erik Evensen, program director.

MFA in Design students choose their area of ​​research, which results in individualized courses and a self-initiated thesis project. Graduate students can also combine some of the focus areas of the program. Watch a video of the program to learn more.

“We take this individualized approach very seriously, and no two graduates are alike,” Evensen said.

Two recent Masters of Design graduates with a major in game design are doing well professionally, both at companies in the film industry. Hue Vang is a matte painter at DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, California, and Morgan Brantner is a motion capture technician for Rouge MoCap in Los Angeles.

Vang creates 2D elements such as skies, clouds, mountains, rocks and vegetation in films such as “The Croods: A New Age” and “Spirit Riding Free”.

Brantner had a position as a graduate assistant at UW-Stout’s motion capture studio, helping him prepare for his position.

“The game design focus area is really a great model of what our MFA program can do,” Evensen said. “It’s interactive, research-driven, and frankly, it’s very interdisciplinary. I think our continued recognition in this area highlights a lot of the strengths of the program as a whole.

Graduate and undergraduate programs, the latter ranked No. 7 nationally among public institutions and No. 26 overall, are mutually beneficial, Evensen believes. The BFA has been highly ranked for a decade and the MFA since 2016.

“MFA students who focus on game design regularly collaborate with our undergraduate teams as creative leaders, sometimes as technical consultants or subject matter experts. They even served as user experience researchers.

“Along the way, they learn graduate core subjects such as sustainable design, design ethics, and design research, interacting with other graduate students from different creative backgrounds,” Evensen said.

Evensen, an award-winning graphic novelist, wrote his master’s thesis on board game design, worked on two major board games, including Marrying Mr. Darcy, and collaborated with fellow UW-Stout Dave Beck on the release. next board game. Distilled.

The MFA in Design is one of 24 programs offered by the Graduate School at UW-Stout.

Apart from game design, the other focus areas of the program are graphic design; industrial design; interior design; interactive media and user experience; digital cinema, photography and video; animation and digital media; and sustainable design.

UW-Stout is Polytechnic University of Wisconsinwith an emphasis on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.

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