The further education Master “Game Development and Research” integrates academic research with artistic practice in a project-oriented approach. With this synergistic blend of theory and practice, the MA GDR fosters future-oriented (academic and artistic) discourse and research in non-linear audio-visual media.

Project work plays a central role in the MA GDR. The program exposes students to a spectrum of aesthetic and practical challenges that can be tackled independently or collaboratively. Students not only acquire new skills and knowledge but also cultivate individual problem-solving strategies.

CGL’s philosophy emphasizes creative freedom, allowing students to experiment with diverse ideas, approaches, and procedures through short, iterative cycles. This way of working is a reflection of industry practices in the dynamic field of game development.

The project modules (red) serve as the backbone of the program’s module structure, with each module comprising multiple projects. Simultaneously, theoretical modules (orange), consisting of seminars and lectures, run in parallel to the projects. The seminars and lectures offer students a broad spectrum of academic-artistic topics in the context of non-linear audiovisuality. The international state of research and development is reviewed and reflected in the context of guest lectures offered in the course of each semester.

Throughout their studies, students are encouraged to participate in other courses of the CGL as well as in events of the TH Köln or other cultural in-situations (lectures, seminars, conferences, panel discussions, etc.) in order to foster curiosity and flexibility of interests – qualities which are essential for creative work.

First Semester
The module ‘Equalization & Exchange’ seeks to bring all students to a uniform skill level, recognizing and respecting their diverse academic and professional backgrounds. In this practical module, the projects “Playing with Theater,” “Playing with Cinema,” and “Playing with Video Games” follow the historical development of audiovisual media in modern times. In the process of creative-practical work, they also impart basic historical-cultural knowledge. The theoretical lessons in the subjects “Media and Game Studies 101”, “Visual Design 101” and “Game Design Theory 101” also aim at a common basis of knowledge and reflection ability of students from different disciplines and cultures.

Second Semester
With the projects “Board Games,” “Serious Games,” and “Non-Linear Adaptation,” the “Critical Play & Adaptation” module opens up artificial scope for in-depth research into various conceptual processes. The theoretical lessons in “Media and Game Studies 102,” “Visual Design 102,” and “Game Design 102” provide historical-theoretical support and approaches for this artistic practice. In “Media and Game Studies,” for example, the history and theory of adaptation and Serious Games are analyzed.

Third Semester
In the third semester, the module “Professionalization & Experimentation” focuses on preparing students for the working reality of the games industry and encourages them to think and develop critically. The module teaches students to navigate the commercial games market through financing options, self-publishing vs. partnering with a publisher, as well as development, pitch, and marketing strategies. Through the work on a larger “Third Semester Project” that emphasizes experimental game design, students can refine their skills as developers and cultivate their ability to innovate and lead creatively. The advanced classes “Game and Media Studies 103”, “Visual Design 103”, and “Game Design Theory 103” complement the practical module.

Fourth Semester
The module “Master’s Project” is performed during the fourth semester and marks the completion of the “Game Development and Research” program. The module consists of the master’s thesis (which consists of a theoretical and a practical part) and a corresponding final presentation and examination (colloquium). Shortly before and during their thesis preparation, students can participate in individual thesis mentoring sessions.

Please see the handbook below for more detailed information about the modules.

Module Handbook:
The module handbook for the MA GDR can be downloaded following the links below:
Module Handbook (PO2 | Begin of studies before winter term 2023/24)
Module Handbook (PO3 | Begin of studies as of winter term 2023/24)

Examination Regulations (PO3):
The examination regulations (in German) can be downloaded here.
The examination regulations (in English) can be downloaded here.
The corresponding phase-out regulation can be downloaded here.