New major provides potential for creative futures

By Ryan Connelly 

Not only can students create content, they can now create content the way they envision it. 

Students who enroll as game and interactive media design majors will be working with softwares used in the inustry such as Unity and Unreal. 

In fall 2019, Rider will launch a Bachelor of Arts in game and interactive media design in the school of fine and performing arts.

“The core focus of the degree is game design,” said Justin Burton, a fine arts professor. “Students will primarily learn how to devise rules of game play and test those rules through iterations until they’ve arrived at a satisfying play experience. They’ll also learn to do this in industry-standard software interfaces like Unity and Unreal. Our elective offerings allow majors to complement their design expertise with a focus in animation, storytelling or sound design.”

With the gaming industry growing at such a rapid rate, there could be potential high-paying jobs for students after they complete the program. According to, the industry is expanding at $7 billion per year. In 2019 alone, the market is worth over $123 billion worldwide.

With such a high revenue every year, job openings are likely to fill quickly. 

“The video game industry is the most obvious possibility [for work,]” said Burton. “Someone who graduates with our game design Bachelor’s would be well-positioned to compete for jobs in any sort of game design or user experience work. Having the ability to design satisfying gameplay means having the ability to do a wide range of work that involves careful sequencing of or thoughtful presentation of all sorts of information.” 

As of Feb. 11, there are over 30 applicants interested in the major.

“It’s a great idea to add this major,” said junior public relations major Brian Zayicek. “I can actually see students loving it and using it in their futures.” 

Back in November, The Rider News spoke to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Jonathan Millen about how fast Rider is improving its school of fine and performing arts. 

“We’re also looking to create a program on game design,” said Millen. “[It’s a] big partnership with the folks of fine and performing arts.” 

According to Millen, the major came about after the college of liberal arts and sciences took into account what students were currently interested in. 

“We’re always trying to assess what students want to study and what fits best within Rider,” Said Milen.

Donna Jean Fredeen, provost and vice president for academic affairs, was the one who originally brought the degree to the deans of Rider. Marshall Onofrio, dean of Westminster College of Arts, jumped at the opportunity and said the school of fine and performing arts would be a perfect place for the degree.  

 “I did the bulk of drafting the curriculum,” said Burton. “My fine and performing arts colleagues helped shape it from there, asking probing questions and offering helpful suggestions. I also consulted with Bobby Stein, an experienced storyteller in the industry, and Margaret Moser, a professor at the University of Southern California, [as their school’s program] is widely regarded as the best game design program in the country. Bobby and Margaret provided really helpful feedback that was crucial to the proposal’s success. We are currently conducting a search for a tenure track position in game design, and that faculty member will be integral to the growth and development of the degree going forward.”  

Students are excited to see what this major will bring forth. 

“I think Rider is fully equipped to bring this on in the fall and have it thrive as one of the top majors,” said Zayicek. 

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