What is GUR?

Games user research (GUR) is the process of developing entertaining or enjoyable player experiences by using various methods to measure, test, and analyse player behaviours. Games user research differs from user experience studies since it focuses on developing experiences that are “fun” instead of reducing complexity or improving productivity. In game development, GUR teams will evaluate and develop prototypes, playtest the game, evaluate the player experience, analyse analytics, and interpret data to refine the game. 

For more information on games user research visit our resources.

What is SWaGUR?

The gaming industry is a significant part of the Canadian economy, contributing roughly $2.3 billion to our GDP each year. This industry continues to grow, with 40% of gaming companies projecting 25% growth in the next two years, which has increased the demand for skilled talent in the field. SWaGUR is the first Canadian graduate program to address the demand for skilled games user researchers in industry and academia. This interdisciplinary graduate program was developed to train students completing their Masters and PhD degrees with the necessary skills to become a games user researcher. The SWaGUR program can be taken with a variety of Masters and PhD degrees across different disciplines. To find out which degrees you can take with SWaGUR with check out Who Can Apply. 

Are you an undergraduate student interested in games user research? SWaGUR offers paid summer internship opportunities.

What will you learn?

The SWaGUR program will give students all of the necessary skills they need to become a games user researcher. The program will cover game design, the game development process, player experience, basics of motivation and enjoyment, evaluation, analytics, statistics, quantitative and qualitative methods, experimental design and building professional skills. Students will develop and practice their technical and design skills through their project-based courses and apply their knowledge during their internship. All SWaGUR students will gain a specific set of skills that they will need for a career in games user research:

Solid Foundation of GUR

Industry Experience and Experiential Learning

Portfolio Creation and Management

Communication Across Boundaries 

Entrepreneurship and Independent Development 

Personalized Training

Research Themes


For the SWaGUR, Masters students will be required to take four courses and PhD students will take five courses specific to the program. Students will still need to fulfil their degree requirements in addition to their SWaGUR courses, as well as any other courses their degree calls for. Find out which degrees you can take with SWaGUR and review your degree requirements.

SWaGUR Requirements

  • GUR Foundations 1
  • GUR Foundations 2 (PhD students only)
  • One of the SWaGUR1, SWaGUR2, SWaGUR3
  • Two related courses of interest

Students are given the flexibility to take two courses of their interest, either from the remaining SWaGUR specific courses or other existing graduate level courses at UW or UofS. These courses will allow the student to specialise their knowledge in their area of interest. 


All SWaGUR students must complete a mandatory internship for no less than 6 weeks in length. This internship will give all students practical industry experience that will help them further their career in GUR. Students are able to use this internship to explore new research areas or strengthen their knowledge within their field. Students are required to find their own internships (paid or unpaid), but will have access to our industry partners who are eager to take on SWaGUR interns. Student may also fulfill their internship by completing an exchange at either UofS or UW.

Industry Partners

Here is a list of some of our industry partners:

Want a career in Games User Research?