Video-game master's degree powers up

Vancouver's first master's program for game developers has gone gold. The final hurdle for the masters of digital media program at the Great Northern Way Campus was approval from the academic senates at SFU and UBC. Partners BCIT and Emily Carr had already sanctioned the degree.

The process of validating curriculum is exhausting, explained Gerri Sinclair, executive director of the program, on the phone from her office at the East Side campus. "The reputation of each institution is based on the fact that they have a rigorous process to make sure that academic standards are being upheld," she added.

In all, it took just over a year for the MDM program to move from proposal to full approval, which Sinclair called "amazingly expeditious".

Now that the program is officially approved, it will be monitored by the MDM academic committee. Sitting on the committee are the presidents of BCIT and Emily Carr, and the academic vice-presidents of SFU and UBC.

The application deadline for the first cohort of 20 students is March 31. According to Christa Ovenell, director of campus services, "We are already well over that number in applicants." But Sinclair said that the program will be flexible for the first year, so the enrollment cap could change "depending on the calibre of the students who apply". Most candidates are Canadian, but Ovenell said that she's received applications from as far away as Mumbai, Dubai, Singapore, and Egypt.

"One of the fabulous things about our program is that it's small–intimate, even–and we're able to offer a high level of service to students," Ovenell said. She expects that the biggest challenge is going to be trying to meet the expectations of students when it comes to the paid internships that are part of the program.