Suppose you were just entering college, and you already knew that you wanted to be a game designer some day. That's your career goal. In lieu of a game design major, what courses should you take?
Or, suppose you're a faculty member at a university, charged with designing a curriculum for a game design major. What courses should be included?
Hopefully the answers to these two questions are the same.
Unfortunately, the industry does not have any solid answers, yet. Part of the problem is that it's exceedingly rare for anyone to get a game design job fresh out of college. Also, game design is so interdisciplinary that it's hard to find a department that it naturally fits in.
So why bother coming up with a curriculum at all? Because there is demand for one from students, and from the game industry. Also, schools need consistency: if they graduate a student with a Bachelor's in Game Design, they need the industry to know what skills that student is expected to have.
Over the rest of the summer, I will write a series of articles on what I would hope to see in an undergraduate game design major. I will start by covering the work that has already been done and where I see room for improvement, and then I will give my own vision of what courses I've personally found useful -- and why.
EDIT: I'm adding a table of contents in this post, so that there is a central place linking everything together.
Where We Are Now
Classes about Game Design