Computer Science: Computer Game Design
The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science: Computer Game Design is an undergraduate degree program focused on the construction and design of interactive computer games. Reflecting both the growing cultural and economic importance of the computer gaming industry and the increasing complexity and specialization of computer gaming systems, the program focuses on the technical, narrative, and artistic underpinnings of these games. Students have multiple opportunities to create computer games, including an intensive year-long game project sequence in the final year. The program is regularly ranked among the very best public university game design programs in the U.S.
Study and Research Opportunities
- B.S. M.S., Ph.D.
- Year-long, team-based game design project
- Game design, systems, history, visual culture
- Advanced topics such as artificial intelligence for games, procedural content generation, interactive narrative, computer graphics, game engines, procedural audio, and human-computer interaction
- Students have multiple opportunities to participate in research projects
Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)
Please see the current UC Santa Cruz General Catalog for a full description of the BSOE admissions policy.
Freshman Applicants: It is recommended that high school students intending to apply to the major have completed four years of mathematics (through advanced algebra and trigonometry) as well as any available courses in computer science, arts, and media (especially interactive media). Comparable college mathematics, arts, and media courses completed at other institutions also serve to properly prepare a student for the major.
Information for Transfers
- By the end of the fall term in which you are applying, you must have completed at least three (3) of the lower-division foundation course requirements from the list below.
- By the end of your last spring term in community college, you must complete the remaining two (2) foundation courses from the list below.
- All lower-division requirements must be completed with a minimum 2.80 GPA.
Computer Science and Engineering 30; Computer Science and Engineering 16; and Mathematics 19A and 19B; and one of the following courses: Computer Science and Engineering 12/L or Computer Science and Engineering 13S or 13E.
- Gameplay engineer
- Computer game designer
- Computer game producer
- Animation and graphics programming
- Technical artist
- Software engineering
- Web development
These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.
BSOE students may wish to develop their cross-cultural competency, typically via the Education Abroad Program (EAP). Interested students must work very closely with the faculty and academic advisers in their major very early during the freshman or sophomore year to create a plan for transferability of coursework towards graduation.
The undergraduate Game Design Studio contains high-end computer game development workstations with high performance graphics and dual displays per workstation. The studio also holds a large library of books about game technology, design, and art, along with graphic design, programming languages, and other topics of interest to game creators. These are complemented by a large collection of video games, as well as non-digital board and card games.
Awards, Honors, and Recognitions
UC Santa Cruz is ranked #1 in the world for technically focused research in computer games.
Six UC Santa Cruz faculty are Fellows of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA), more than any other university in the world.
Animation Career Review ranks UC Santa Cruz as the #3 public university game design program in the U.S.
Many games developed by UC Santa Cruz students have been official nominees for awards at IndieCade.
Program alumni work for highly respected companies both inside and outside of computer games, including (in games) Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Studios, Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Activision, Riot, Naughty Dog, Toys for Bob, 2K, Niantic, Cryptic, Roblox, Double Fine, Twitch, Sanzaru and (outside of games) Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and many others.
General Catalog Information
Undergraduate Advising Office
Jack Baskin School of Engineering
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064
BSOE Undergraduate Admission Policy