UC Santa Cruz Offers New Master's in Games
The University of California at Santa Cruz is offering a master's degree in games and playable media. The program, which will be held at the school's Santa Clara campus, covers advanced technologies used to produce computer games and interactive media. The 12-month program is intended for students who already have a foundation in computer science and an understanding of computer games. Those who pursue the program will "develop strong design skills as well as strong technical implementation skills," said Jim Whitehead, professor and chair of computer science. "They can go on to work in the game industry or for the growing number of companies outside the game industry that are looking for people with the combination of technical and design skills needed to create compelling interactive experiences." The point of setting up the new program in Silicon Valley is to give students a chance to work with the area's large number of game companies. Noah Wardrip-Fruin, an associate professor of computer science, said he expects to have people from those companies involved in workshops and project critiques. The program will prepare students for work in both small, independent game studios and large companies. Wardrip-Fruin said the program was designed with a broad view of the professional opportunities. "We have a series of professional development classes to teach students what they need to know to start their own studio, or to join an existing indie studio or a major game studio, and also what they need to bring games into other contexts," he said. "Many companies are looking to hire people with a background in games because they understand things like audience engagement. That's why we call it games and playable media, to include a broad range of experiences that invite and encourage play." UCSC already offers two other graduate programs on games, digital arts and new media, as well as a doctorate program in computer science, focused on games. You can learn more about the new program here.