Spring at Tisch - Games

Spring at Tisch is unavailable for spring 2022.

Discover the unique, creative possibilities with games and develop the specialized literacy needed to understand this new cultural form.

Games are emerging as one of the most vibrant, influential, and significant forms of 21st century culture. While video games draw inspiration from the expressive power of film and animation and require a combination of different technical and creative skills, it is important to recognize this new form as a coherent and well-defined discipline unto itself, and not merely a hybrid of existing media.

The NYU Game Center, established in 2008, is the Department of Game Design in the Skirball Center for New Media at Tisch School of the Arts. We work in close collaboration with other NYU schools and departments including the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, and NYU Poly. The spring program for visiting college students offers courses in the design, production, and study of games.

Students playing a tabletop game together

Program Overview

You will register for a full-time, spring semester consisting of 12-18 units. Your course load includes your core curriculum (6-8 units) and additional companion courses. 


Core Curriculum

Students must take two core courses: Games 101 and one from the Elective Core Curriculum List. Access to intermediate or advanced-level courses is not available.

Students are responsible for getting courses taken through Spring at Tisch credited to their degree program at their home college or university.

Games 101

OART-UT 1600 | 4 units

Games 101 is the foundational course for the NYU Game Center and a prerequisite for all other Game Center classes. The focus of Games 101 is game literacy – the development of a shared understanding of games as complex cultural and aesthetic objects. This class is a broad, introductory survey which covers the full spectrum of digital and non-digital games. The class will incorporate lectures, discussions, and writing assignments, but the primary activity of the class is critical play – playing games and writing about them in order to better understand and appreciate them.

Elective Core Curriculum

While there is not a specific second “core” course for the Games track, students should enroll in one Games courses offered by the Open Arts Dept. (OART-UT 16XX). Students should review the OART Games courses (scroll to Games section in hyperlink) listed in the Albert course search for spring 2021, which opens for public search on NYU’s website on Friday, October 16th, 2020.  

Intro to Game Design

OART-UT 1605 | 4 units

This is an intensive, hands-on workshop addressing the complex challenges of game design. The premise of the class is that all games, digital and non-digital, share common fundamental principles, and that understanding these principles is an essential part of designing successful games. Learning how to create successful non-digital games provides a solid foundation for the development of digital games. Students will analyze existing digital and non-digital games, taking them apart to understand how they work as interactive systems. A number of non-digital games will be created in order to master the basic design principles that apply to all games regardless of format. This course is subject to a non-refundable department fee, please see the Notes section for more detail.

Thinking About Games

OART-UT 1606 | 4 units

This class is an overview of the field of video games that approaches them from several theoretical and critical perspectives. No special theoretical background or prior training is needed to take the course, but to have had a broad practical experience with and basic knowledge of games is a distinct advantage. Also, an interest in theoretical and analytical issues will help. You are expected to actively participate in the lectures, which are dialogic in form, with ample room for discussion. The course will prepare the student to: - Understand and discuss games from a theoretical perspective - what are the components of a game? - Apply new theories and evaluate them critically. - Assess and discuss game concepts and the use of games in various contexts. - Analyze games, and understand and apply a range of analytical methods.

Game Development: Project Studio

OART-UT 1612 | 4 units

This course reflects the various skills and disciplines that are brought together in modern game development: game design, programming, visual art, animation, sound design, and writing. The workshop will situate these disciplines within a larger context of game literacy and a historical and critical understanding of games as cultural objects. Classroom lectures and lab time will all be used to bring these different educational vectors together into a coherent whole; the workshop will be organized around a single, long-term, hands-on, game creation project. Working in small groups under the close supervision of instructors, students will collaborate on the creation of a playable game. As a creative constraint to help inspire them and guide their designs, the students will be given a theme to express in their game projects. 




Spring at Tisch is unavailable for spring 2022.

Additional important dates are available on the Tisch Admissions Calendar.


Spring at Tisch is unavailable for spring 2022.

The Spring at Tisch Game Design track is open to full-time matriculated undergraduate sophomores, juniors, and seniors from other colleges and universities.

You must not be on academic or disciplinary probation. 

*Students who are on a leave of absence at the time of their application must have a representative of their school (e.g. an academic advisor) state via e-mail to tisch.special.admissions@nyu.edu that they are presently on good academic and disciplinary standing with their school.

*Students taking a gap year in-between high school and college are not eligible. 

NYU requires all students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional), faculty, and employees to be vaccinated to have access to NYU buildings for the 2021–22 academic year.

Vaccines must be authorized by the FDA or on the WHO list of approved vaccines. Visit our FAQ page for more information.

More admissions and application information available here.

Tuition and Fees

Spring 2022

  • Visiting Student Full-time Tuition, 12-18 units flat rate, per term: $29,666

Additional Fees Include:

  • Nonrefundable Registration and Services Fee: $1,365
  • Estimated Media and Production Fee: $265 

Please review the Tisch Special Programs cancellation policy.

Visit the NYU Office of the Bursar for more information on tuition and fees.

Financial Aid

Tisch does not have direct scholarships for visiting students. We do encourage visiting students to consult with their home institutions about portable financial assistance such as Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and educational PLUS loans. The student's home institution processes these loans, which are typically applied to their NYU program via a consortium agreement. This agreement is initiated by the student at his or her home school's financial aid office, which in turn forwards the consortium form to New York University, Office of Financial Aid, 25 West Fourth Street, New York, NY 10012-1119. The Office of Financial Aid can be reached at (212) 998-4444. NYU's Office of Financial Aid then confirms the student's acceptance to the program, registration, and the costs of attendance, and returns the agreement to the home institution.

To determine the amount and type of aid available, the home institution compares the costs of attending with the student's individual financial circumstances. We encourage students seeking aid to begin the financial aid process with their home school immediately after being notified of acceptance as the steps involved take a great deal of time. 

There may be additional fees depending on the courses you register for. These may include, but are not limited to, lab, insurance, and projection fees.

Housing and Meal Plans

Spring at Tisch students have the option of staying in NYU housing or living off-campus in one of the exciting neighborhoods in New York City. Meal Plans are also optional. NYU offers both traditional dorms and apartment-style residence halls; accommodations and fees vary. Details about housing options will be emailed to accepted students. Because residence hall space is at a premium, Spring at Tisch students are urged to make their NYU housing arrangements as early as possible.  Learn more about NYU Housing and Meal Plans.

Health Insurance

All eligible registered Spring at Tisch students must maintain health insurance comparable to the NYU-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan. International students are automatically enrolled in the NYU-sponsored Student Health Insurance Comprehensive Plan, unless students complete the online enrollment/waiver process before the semester deadline to either maintain other insurance coverage that meets the University's criteria, or to downgrade to the Basic Plan. For additional information on health insurance costs and regulations, please contact the Student Health Insurance Services Office located at 726 Broadway, New York, NY 10003-9580; telephone: (212) 443-1020;