The Master of Science degree in Games and Playable Media is a year-long (12 month) degree 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.

The degree will admit students who have a background in computer science and knowledge of games. 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 program includes:



Admission/Application Information


Applications for the 2017-18 academic year are now closed. Because this is a cohort-based, one year program, students can only begin the program in the Fall quarter. Applications for 2018-19 will be accepted beginning in October 2017 and the deadline to apply is March 9, 2018.

All applicants are required to submit the following:

Detailed information regarding these requirements and the application process can be found at


Program Requirements


Unit Requirements: Each student is required to take 46 credits, though the game art, game writing, and game sound requirements will likely lead to more.

The following courses are required:

All required courses will be offered at UC Santa Cruz’s Silicon Valley Campus location. Some electives, particularly Game Technology/Design Innovation, will also be offered at the Silicon Valley Campus location, making it possible to complete the degree entirely with courses offered in Silicon Valley. However, most electives will be offered at the main UC Santa Cruz campus location, as part of the regular course offerings already made.

The degree culminates in a year-long comprehensive, collaborative capstone project. Students work together in fall, winter, and spring 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 and a final summer intensive course.


In addition, before entering the Game Production Intensive (GAME 273) students must satisfy the game art, game writing, and game sound requirements, as described below:




Completion of a master’s project is required for the master’s degree. These are generally collaborative projects, created together with other students in the GPM M.S. program. Projects are typically performed by students during course Games and Playable Media 273, Game Production Intensive. Students are evaluated based both on their individual contributions to the project and on the overall success of the project as a whole. Each project will be demonstrated via a public presentation.


Sample Program


Sample curriculum for GPM M.S. with no requirements met through prior coursework:





GAME 270 — Games and Playable Media Studio I (5 credits)

GAME 210 — Game Art Intensive (5 credits)

GAME 230 — Fundamentals of Game Engineering (5 credits)

GAME 221 — Professional Development for Game Makers I (2 credits)


GAME 271 — Games and Playable Media Studio II (5 credits)

GAME 215 — Audio Direction (5 credits)

Game Engineering Elective (5 credits) — Optional

GAME 222 — Professional Development for Game Makers II (2 credits)


GAME 272 — Games and Playable Media Studio III (5 credits)

CMPM 248 — Interactive Narrative (5 credits)

CMPM 265 — Generative Methods (5 credits)

GAME 223 — Professional Development for Game Makers III (2 credits)


GAME 273 — Game Production Intensive (10 credits)


Cost to Degree

California Residents: