Computer Game Science undergraduate degree


Degree Available: Major

The Computer Game Science (CGS) major combines a solid foundation in computer science with a focus on designing, building, and understanding computer games and other forms of interactive media. The fundamentals of information and computer science — along with coursework in mathematics, statistics, physics, and film and media studies — provide students with the concepts and tools to study a wide scope of computer game technologies.

CGS emphasizes design, teamwork, and the understanding of computer games and related technologies and media in a social and cultural context. The term “computer game” includes games that run on cell phones, mobile devices, PCs, consoles, Macs, web pages and even inside automobiles. CGS majors design and create games for entertainment, and also for education, training and social change.

The study of computer games is an emerging field driven by advancing computer hardware and software technology, the widespread popularity of video games as an entertainment medium, and by the interest of artists, economists, educators, scientists and many others to use game technologies for communication, visualization, computation and learning.

Is Computer Game Science for me?

CGS is ideal for anyone interested in learning the technical components of creating games — computer programming, graphics, network design, database management, artificial intelligence and much more — and working in teams to design and implement exciting new games. If you are primarily interested in the art or management sides of creating games, the CGS major may not be the best fit for you.

Students who major in Computer Game Science will:

  • acquire a solid foundation in computer science and software development;
  • learn how to create interactive and human-centered computer game designs;
  • employ an interdisciplinary approach to computer game design and development, drawing on coursework in modeling and design, graphics, software engineering, hardware architectures, AI, algorithms, distributed systems, human interfaces and aesthetics;
  • be able to analyze and discuss computer game systems as communication, teaching and entertainment media that can be a force for education, social change and activism;
  • graduate with an extensive portfolio of implemented games.
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Why study at UC Irvine?

Several factors contribute to the strength of UC Irvine’s Computer Game Science program, including:

  • Overall excellence. Ranked 28th nationally by U.S. News and World Report, computer science education at UCI is broad, deep and cutting-edge.
  • Location. Irvine and Orange County are home to a remarkable concentration of game development studios large and small, including industry giant Blizzard Entertainment. We consulted with these companies (many of which employ or were founded by UCI alumni) while planning the CGS major, and they look forward to offering internships and jobs to our students.
  • Collaboration. We partner with nearby Laguna College of Art and Design, which offers a Game Art major. Their student artists work with our CGS students to develop innovative, visually engaging games.
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What courses do I take?

The CGS major combines the fundamentals of computer science with about a dozen game-focused courses.

A full listing of the major requirements can be found in the General Catalogue.

Students are encouraged to consult an academic advisor in the Bren School of ICS to determine the coursework designed to meet their educational goals.

What can I do with a degree in CGS?

A wide variety of careers and graduate programs are open to Computer Game Science graduates. The video game industry is comparable in size to the film and music industries, and job growth projections are excellent for people with strong technical backgrounds. Many other fields, including mobile software development, interactive entertainment, and training and education software, have demand for similar skill sets and knowledge. CGS graduates are well trained in computer science, and can thus pursue graduate programs or any career that involves designing, implementing, evaluating or interacting with computer-based systems.

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Still not sure?

Prospective and current UCI students interested in learning more about the Bren School’s degree options are encouraged to meet with the school’s associate dean of student affairs, counselors and student ambassadors. They will help you determine which of our majors and minors best support your academic strengths and interests. Call our Student Affairs Office at 949-824-5156 to make an appointment or to inquire about campus visit opportunities.

(Note: Appointments are made by phone only, not by email request.)

Bren School Student Affairs Office
Information and Computer Science Building I, Suite 352
Irvine, CA 92697-3430

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