The gaming industry has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few decades, becoming a global powerhouse in entertainment and technology. As the demand for skilled professionals in the field continues to rise, educational institutions have stepped up to offer specialized programs. One such institution, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK), has been at the forefront of gaming education since 2006. In this article, we explore the journey of gaming education at KAMK, its partnerships, and the opportunities it provides to students.
Tanja Korhonen from KAMK shared information about the educational programs with us. Thank you, Tanja!
The Birth of Gaming Education at KAMK
KAMK entered the world of gaming education in 2006, offering Bachelor-level programs in game development. Over the years, the institution expanded its offerings to cover various aspects of the gaming sector, including game production, graphics, and programming. In 2023, KAMK achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Finnish university of applied sciences to introduce master’s level studies in game business management.
The decision to launch these innovative programs was not made in isolation. It was driven by a collaborative effort involving local gaming companies, who voiced concerns about the industry’s workforce and the dominance of the English language within the field. Responding to these industry needs, KAMK, with the support of Finnish gaming companies and EU project funding, initiated the “PELIKAN” project. The primary objective of this project was to internationalize game development education, aligning it with the global industry standards.
Program Popularity and Expansion
The Bachelor-level gaming education in Finnish at KAMK has enjoyed remarkable popularity, earning accolades from gaming companies for its quality. The recently introduced English-language master’s program showed promise, with a healthy number of applicants in its inaugural application period. Additionally, recognizing the demand for a full-time Master of Game Business Management, KAMK has decided to launch this program in 2024 at its Kajaani campus.
Students who enroll in these programs have diverse aspirations. Some seek career advancement, aspiring to become managers or enhance their business acumen, while others aim to specialize in the gaming industry or start their own ventures. KAMK ensures the quality of education by employing experienced faculty members, many of whom hold Ph.D. degrees in relevant fields. Moreover, the institution invites guest lecturers from prominent game development companies to provide real-world insights to students.
Industry Support and Internships
KAMK has cultivated strong partnerships with leading gaming companies in Finland and beyond. These partnerships not only shape the curriculum but also provide students with valuable internship opportunities. Companies such as Critical Force, Fingersoft, Redlynx (Ubisoft), Housemarque, and others actively engage with KAMK’s programs, offering internships and thesis topics, and even contributing their staff as visiting lecturers.
Career Trajectories of Graduates
While exact data on graduate career paths is not immediately available, KAMK has observed that its game development bachelor’s degree graduates are employed in major Finnish gaming companies, and some have ventured abroad. Many graduates from the past decade have started their own successful gaming businesses. The consistent positive feedback from gaming companies about KAMK graduates underscores the quality of education.
Tuition Fees and Scholarships
KAMK offers attractive options for students. EU citizens are exempt from tuition fees, making education accessible. For non-EU/EEA citizens, the tuition fee for Master’s programs is set at 11,500 euros per academic year. However, KAMK participates in Finnish government scholarship programs for Ukrainian students, offering financial assistance on a case-by-case basis.
The KAMK Campus and Kajaani City
Kajaani, the home of KAMK, is a vibrant town in central Finland with a population of 38,000. The town offers a safe and peaceful environment, consistently ranking high in global happiness, safety, and peace indexes. Student life in Kajaani is convenient, with short distances and high-quality services. The campus is located in close proximity to the city center, and modern student accommodations are available on-site. Kajaani’s natural surroundings provide ample opportunities for leisure and sports activities.
Kajaani University of Applied Sciences has emerged as a frontrunner in gaming education, adapting to the dynamic needs of the industry. Its commitment to excellence, strong industry partnerships, and student-focused approach make it a compelling choice for those aspiring to excel in the ever-evolving world of gaming. With its innovative programs and supportive environment, KAMK continues to shape the future of gaming education in Finland and beyond.