What do we do?
At its core, DLG is a game design programme. It offers courses on game design, game studies, asset creation, game development, and project management. What makes us different from other programmes is that we focus on learning games and so-called serious games: games that can be used in education and training, raise awareness about social issues, improve players’ physical and mental health, and so on. To that end, the programme also covers psychological and pedagogical aspects related to games.
While game design forms the core of the programme, DLG students can choose between two specialisation tracks: game development (coding) and educational psychology. Whether you would like to work in education, pursue a research career, or join the game industry, you will find courses in the programme that can support you along the way.
Who are we looking for?
Game creation requires different skills and is usually a team effort. People from diverse backgrounds can contribute to this process, and we welcome applicants from all backgrounds. It is easier to find a place in a game team if you have skills in one or more of the following:
- Programming: software development, using game engines
- Visual art: 2D or 3D art, animation
- Audio: sound design, music composition and production
- Education: instructional design, educational technology, teaching
- Research: psychology, sociology of education, design theory, etc.
We do not require applicants to have pre-existing programming knowledge or familiarity with game engines. If you wish to learn these skills, the programme will provide an opportunity to do that. If you already have them, you will certainly be able to put them into practice. And if you would like to focus on other aspects of game creation (design, asset creation, etc.), you are welcome to do so.
- Hands-on teamwork: Our philosophy is that the best way to learn is by doing, which is why many courses in Digital Learning Games are structured as team projects focused on producing a tangible outcome. By working as part of a heterogeneous, international team, you will be able not only to practice what you have learned in the course, but also improve your communication and teamwork skills
- Interdisciplinarity: Digital Learning Games integrates game design with education sciences and psychology, offering a uniquely multifaceted approach to digital games. With a century-old tradition as a teacher training institution, Tallinn University is ranked by QS among the top 300 universities in the world in the field of Education and Training.
- Intercultural community: DLG brings together people from different parts of the world (we have had students from over 25 countries so far). We offer a diverse and enriching environment for study, collaboration, and social life.
- Innovation-centred environment: Estonia is one of Europe’s innovation hubs, having the most start-ups per capita and being the world’s first nation to introduce e-government. You will be able to take part in hackathons, game jams, and ICT events both at and outside of Tallinn University.
- Project opportunities: We have worked on various international and national research and development projects related to creating games and using them in education and training. The best DLG students get an opportunity to contribute to these projects.
Digital Learning Games is a two-year programme taught in English. At the core of the programme is the Game Design Module, which includes the following courses:
- Introduction to Digital Learning Games
- Design of Game Logic
- Game Studies
- Level Design
- Design and Integration of Game Assets
- Learning Game Design
- Agile Project Management
- Research Methods
In addition, DLG students can choose between two specialisation modules.
The Game Development module focuses on programming and includes such courses as Math and Physics in Games; Graphics and Sound Programming; and AI Programming.
The Educational Psychology module focuses on the pedagogical and psychological aspects of game design and includes courses such as Psychological Aspects of Game Design; Games as Learning Environments; and Learning Analytics.
Please note that from the academic year 2023/2024 it is not possible to choose Interaction Design module.
Students can also choose from a variety of elective courses: 2D Graphics for Games; 3D Graphics for Games; Game Industry; Gamification Design; Interactive Storytelling; and others.
At the end of their studies, students will produce a research-based Master’s thesis, which may focus on designing and testing a digital game or gamified tool; using game-based approaches in educational and work settings; and other relevant topics.
(Note that the programme is subject to change.)
- Completed Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent
- Proof of English Proficiency
Please see the complete overview of general admission, application requirements and deadlines for Master's level applicants
- Letter of motivation
- E-portfolio of previous works (not mandatory)
- An interview with the admission committee (will be done via Internet, e.g. using Zoom, web-camera is required)
E-portfolio is not mandatory but will give a better overview of applicants background. Feel free to present Your previous work like games, game recordings, graphical design elements, photos, audio recordings, sounds, texts etc. Recommended format is web-based (easy to share and view) but all other formats are also acceptable (PDF, video, ZIP etc.). The portfolio and CV can be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, as a PDF file or as a web link.
Application Procedure and Deadlines
Below are some of the educational games DLG staff and students have worked on.
Spoofy is a game introducing the basics of Internet safety and cybersecurity to primary schoolers. In the game, you play as an interstellar traveller visiting five different worlds and helping their inhabitants solve their cyber-issues. Spoofy was created by CGI Inc. in collaboration with Tallinn University, whose team was responsible for expanding the game by designing the fifth world.
BIG GAME is an Erasmus+ funded online game about climate change, set in the near-future. In the game, teams of students role-play as members of the newly established United Nations Anti-Apocalypse Force and develop solutions to environmental crises around the globe. In November-December 2023, the game was played by over 220 school teams from across Europe. The game was designed by a team from Tallinn University in collaboration with partners from Finland, Estonia, Italy, and Romania.
Methodyca is a point-and-click adventure game designed to introduce university students to research methods in the social sciences and design. In the story, the protagonist is a student on a quest to find their missing thesis supervisor. This quest takes them to a parallel world, where they encounter a variety of eccentric characters and unlock mini-games about qualitative and quantitative research methods. The game was funded by the Estonian Education and Youth Authority.
School of Digital Technologies
If you want to know how exactly humans and computers interact with each other then this study programme is for you! The Human-Computer Interaction curriculum brings together computing, interaction design and cognitive psychology. It offers a research-based approach to designing interactive, software and technical systems. After finishing this programme you will have chance to become a discerning user experience professional, a knowledgeable interaction designer, or a scholarly design researcher.
School of Educational Sciences
Education is at the forefront of societal progress, requiring leaders who can introduce transformative strategies and innovative practices. The Educational Innovation and Leadership Master's Programme at Tallinn University prepares you to be one of these leaders. Rooted in the excellence of Estonia's education system, our programme is designed for those eager to drive change and improve learning outcomes worldwide.