MS Program in Games and Playable Media at the University of California Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz’s Games and Playable Media (GPM) Professional Masters Program is an intensive 5-term educational and professional experience that teaches students how to design and develop all types of games, from mobile titles to indie titles in going through AAA. UC Santa Cruz’s graduate degree programs in game development are highly ranked by Princeton Review and others for its expertise in game design and development, and UCSC is # 1 in the world for institutions active in technical research on games.

The GPM program was specially created to launch a successful career in the games industry. Its critical success factors are strong ties to the industry and a unique approach to capstone projects. GPM places over 85% of its graduates in the video game industry and maintains a close network of alumni ranging from artists to programmers to producers. If you are looking for a successful career in the video game industry, this program is for you.

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley

The GPM program is located on UC Santa Cruz’s Silicon Valley campus, providing ideal access to the world’s largest games and tech companies. More than 50 gaming industry veterans come to the Silicon Valley campus each year to interact with students on topics ranging from the production of AAA titles to the latest gaming technologies, providing advice and professional development opportunities. exceptional. Past speakers include the program’s original creative director John Romero (Romero Games and id Software), as well as Greg Johnson (ToeJam & Earl), Kellee Santiago (thatgamecompany) and Eric Williams (God of War).

Students also have access to professional development seminars in other disciplines offered by UC Santa Cruz, such as Serious Games, HCI, and Computational Media.

Program designed for professional development

The GPM program is for students who have both technical and non-technical backgrounds and professional interests. Mandatory courses include game programming, game design, and game technology, while electives focus on disciplines such as storytelling and level design.

The cornerstone of the GPM program is the Capstone project required three quarters. Students work in self-selected groups to create a playable game, with roles ranging from producer to artist, and creative director to technical director. The Capstone project simulates the game’s development cycle, from concept to pitch to pre-production. Industry veterans are taken internally through several stages to offer tips and tricks to the Capstone teams, helping each to produce the best game possible.

After graduation, students are provided with a masterfully designed playable game to include in their portfolios. Some teams will have the opportunity to present their titles at game development conferences, such as IndieCade and the Game Developer Conference (GDC). Some decide to continue the production process after graduation, publishing their titles independently. The possibilities of what can be achieved are limited only by the imagination of each student.

Accomplished faculty and program advisors

MOC Program Vice President Michael John (MJ) arrived at UCSC in 2015 with over 20 years of industry experience. Prior to joining GPM, MJ enjoyed great success in the video game industry, ranging from designing on Spyro the Dragon for the PlayStation game console with Insomniac Games, to being Creative Director at Electronic Arts and Game Director at GlassLab. The program also features seasoned game industry instructors who teach programming, art, and audio lessons.

Apply to the UC Santa Cruz MS GPM program

The UC Santa Cruz Games and Playable Media MS program is accepting applications for its program from October to mid-January. The range of applicants spans the gamut from artists to computer scientists, from the hardcore gamer to the casual gamer. Besides an undergraduate degree and submitting a portfolio, the only real application requirement is a firm belief that games make the world a better place.


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