SMU Graduate Program Shows Women’s Interest in Video Game Development Careers on the Rise

Dallas, Texas– (Feb. 10, 2010)– The Guildhall at SMU’s newest students to its nationally recognized graduate educational program in video game development reflects somewhat of an anomaly in the video game development industry– females. Nearly 20 percent of the incoming class, or Cohort 14 as referred to by SMU, is female, a significant number when compared to the game industry’s current employee pool of 4 to 6 percent females.

“We are extremely pleased that the January 2010 cohort has a higher ratio of women in the mix,” said Peter Raad, founder and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU.“There has been a disparity between the number of men versus women in the video game industry far too long and we believe this increase represents a growing trend of more women seeking a career in game development.”

This trend, according to Raad, is not only important to promote gender equity, but it is also essential in the development of video games.“At their core, video games are a form of storytelling. To create games that are compelling and games that appeal to an ever-expanding market of gamers, diversity must be cultivated within the development community, as well as within the individual teams that develop a single game.”

As part of its graduate level curriculum, The Guildhall at SMU offers concentrations in art, level design and programming. Distinguishing this cohort even further is that within the group of women, twin sisters are specializing in software programming. The siblings are enrolled in SMU’s dual degree plan which enables students to obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s in interactive technology in five years. A similar track is offered with the Meadows School of Fine Arts for art creation students.

The overall composition of Cohort 14 has an interesting makeup of backgrounds which includes:

• a student who served a tour of duty in Iraq

• an algebra and geometry high school teacher

• an underwater volcano scientific expedition team member

• a former NASA intern

• students from Malaysia and Israel

“Typically, the increased level of a team’s diversity translates into more interesting gameplay,” noted Raad.“Our living laboratory of 120 full-time resident students proves that every day.”

About The Guildhall at SMU

The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the U.S. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. In six years, the program has graduated over 300 students, and alums have worked at more than 80 video game studios around the world, with several graduates now serving in leadership positions. SMU offers both a Master’s degree and a graduate Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art creation, level design, and software development. For more information, please visit www.smu.edu.

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Media Contact: Ron Jenkins, jenkinsr@smu.edu, 972.473.3546


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