Curriculum

About our Programs

There are currently two Masters degrees offered within our program; Master of Science in Games and Playable Media and a Master of Science in Serious Games. Both programs are five quarter (15 months) degrees focused on combining technical and design innovation—to create novel possibilities for the games of today, to enable new types of games, and to explore a wide variety of next-generation playable experiences.

 

Both degree programs will admit students who have a strong and diverse portfolio that showcase your creative skills. A background in computer science and knowledge of games is strongly recommended but not required. Target students include industry professionals seeking new knowledge (e.g., advanced AI techniques) and/or wanting to experience new roles (e.g., engineers seeking a move into design) as well as talented recent undergraduates who have completed technically-focused game degrees or computer science degrees. The programs include:

 


Games & Playable Media

Unit Requirements: Each student is required to take 60 units, though the game art, game writing, and game sound requirements will likely lead to more.

The following courses are required:

*Classes titled with “GAME” are offered at our Silicon Valley campus whereas those titled “CMPM” are offered at UCSC’s main campus in Santa Cruz.

Sample Schedule

 

Quarter 1

Fundamentals of Game Engineering (GAME 230)

Game Design Systems (GAME 200)

Games Proseminar  (GAME 280A)

Quarter 2

Elective 1

Elective 2

Games Proseminar  (GAME 280A)

Quarter 3

Game Technologies (GAME 231)

Games and Playable Media Studio I (GAME 270)

Professional Development for Game Makers I (GAME 221)

Summer Internship or Sponsored Project
 

Quarter 4

Games and Playable Media Studio II (GAME 271)

Elective 3

Games Proseminar  (GAME 280A)

 

Quarter 5

Games and Playable Media Studio III (GAME 272)

Elective 4

Games Proseminar  (GAME 280A)


Serious Games

Computer games are an increasingly important medium in our world, and for California as a cultural and economic leader. As games have grown in importance, game developers have found ways to design games that aim to impact measurable social goals — and businesses, nonprofits, and governmental entities have also sought to fund and develop games that serve purposes other than entertainment. These are broadly called “serious games” or “games for impact.” Learning to develop such games presents unique demands.

Unit Requirements: Each student is required to take 50 units, though the game art, game writing, and game sound requirements will likely lead to more.

The following courses are required:

  • GAME 255, 256, 257: Serious Games I, II, III
  • GAME 230: Fundamentals of Game Engineering or GAME 235 & GAME 236: Game Development I, II
  • GAME 250: Foundations of Serious Games
  • GAME 200: Game Design Systems
  • GAME 221: Professional Development for Game Makers (2 units)
  • GAME 231: Game Technologies
  • GAME 280A: Games Proseminar
  • One Elective (5 units each; can be upper-division undergraduate if appearing on approved list for degree). Students have the option to take up to three electives.
    • Elective Offerings include*: GAME 210: Game Art Intensive, GAME 215: Game Audio, CMPM 202: Computation Media Research, CMPM 290A: Media Archaeology, CMPM 290K: Social & Emotional Approaches to Human Computer Interaction and students have the option to take a variety of electives at UCSC’s main campus.

*Classes titled with “GAME” are offered at our Silicon Valley campus whereas those titled “CMPM” are offered at UCSC’s main campus in Santa Cruz.

Sample Schedule

 

 

Quarter 1

Game Programming I (GAME 235)

Game Design Systems (GAME 200)

Games Proseminar (GAME 280A)

 

Quarter 2

Game Programming II (GAME 236)

Foundations of Serious Games (GAME 250)

Games Proseminar (GAME 280A)

Quarter 3

Game Technologies (GAME 231)

Serious Games Studio I (GAME 255)

Professional Development for Game Makers (GAME 221)

Summer Internship or Sponsored Project
 

Quarter 4

Serious Games Studio II (GAME 256)

Elective

Games Proseminar (GAME 280A)

 

Quarter 5

Serious Games Studio III (GAME 257)

Elective

Games Proseminar (GAME 280A)


All required courses will be offered at UC Santa Cruz’s Silicon Valley Campus location. Some electives, particularly Game Technology, will also be offered at the Silicon Valley Campus location, making it possible to complete the degree entirely with courses offered in Silicon Valley.

 

 

Capstone Project

The degrees culminate in a comprehensive, collaborative capstone project. Students work together in spring, fall, and winter quarters to learn fundamental game engineering and project management practices while also pitching and developing project ideas. Successful pitches are selected for completion during this sequence.