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The Master of Science in Computer Science expands your knowledge and expertise in some of the most prominent topics of modern computing. In addition to working on original game projects with an emphasis on designing core technologies and applied algorithms, you’ll have the opportunity to develop and defend a thesis on a computer science topic of your choosing.

This program places a strong emphasis on understanding of theory, as well as the ability to implement advanced computer science topics as they relate to modern software development. Students in the MS in Computer Science program have created innovative and sophisticated 3D game software, written award-winning papers based on cutting-edge research in computer science theory, and found employment at some of the industry’s top companies.

Degree candidates have the option of enrolling in either a full-time or part-time program.

Who Should Pursue This Degree?

Geared toward professional software engineers and college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, this program provides you with the knowledge and skills to produce cutting-edge software technology in a demanding professional environment.

As a student in this program, you will have an opportunity to:

  • Tailor Your Elective Coursework

    Focus your studies toward one of four concentration areas: (1) graphics, (2) physically-based simulation, (3) image processing, or (4) artificial intelligence.

  • Learn the Rigors of Being a Developer

    Work with your fellow students to design and develop your own games and real-time simulations as an application of your parallel coursework in computer science topics.

  • Write and Defend a Thesis (Optional)

    Make an original contribution to the field of computer simulation based on your specific area of interest.

Academic Roadmap

As an MS in Computer Science candidate, you’ll undertake graduate-level coursework in computer science, work on two major game software development projects, and either complete and defend a thesis or take a comprehensive examination based on your areas of study.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants to the MS in Computer Science program must have completed a bachelor’s degree, ideally in computer science or a closely related field, with minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5. Applicants must have taken sufficient coursework in computer science, programming, and mathematics.

View all requirements

Topics Covered

The curriculum of the MS in Computer Science program covers the following subjects, depending on your area of concentration:

  • Mathematics and physics, including implicit curves and surfaces, theory and applications of quaternions, computational geometry, fuzzy logic and sets, number theory, and cryptography.
  • Advanced computer science, including advanced animation and modeling algorithms, advanced rendering techniques, artificial intelligence, game engine design, physically-based modeling algorithms, and ray tracing.
  • Game creation, including game design, documentation, project management, marketing, networking, streaming media testing, and working with external contractors.

Full-Time and Part-Time Options

Students have the option of enrolling in the MS in Computer Science program full-time for two years or part-time for three to four years.

Full-time sample course sequence

Part-time sample course sequence

BS/MS Accelerated Schedule

If you’re interested in pursuing both the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation and a master’s degree in the Master of Science in Computer Science program, DigiPen offers an accelerated schedule that allows you to complete both programs in just five years. See the BS/MS Accelerated Schedule page for more details.

Degree Completion Options

MS in Computer Science candidates may choose from two different tracks of study to complete their degree.


This course of study is designed for students who wish to develop analytical research skills and make an original contribution to the field of computer simulation. Students who choose the Thesis track must identify an area of interest within computer science. They will then conduct a survey of the literature on existing techniques and algorithms related to this field, propose an innovative approach to the problem they have identified, develop a theory and prototypes, and write and defend a thesis.

Thesis Work Examples

Comprehensive Exam

This track allows students to take two electives at the graduate level in place of the master’s thesis classes. Following the completion of these courses, students must satisfactorily complete a comprehensive exam that tests their knowledge of both broad computer science topics — such as algorithms, data structures, and computer graphics — and a specific area of concentration chosen by the student.

Student Projects

MS in Computer Science students learn about the practical applications of computer science theories in part by creating their own video game software. Some student teams work collaboratively with artists and game designers from other DigiPen degree programs. These are just a few examples of student game projects created by MS in Computer Science students.

Meet the Faculty

Faculty in the MS in Computer Science program have a deep understanding of every facet of professional software development and are eager to share these advanced skills with candidates in the program. These are just a few of the faculty who teach core courses in the program.

Career Outlook

Graduates of the MS in Computer Science program are prepared for advanced career choices and job opportunities in existing and emerging industries where skills in computer graphics, AI, real-time simulation programming, and networking are in great demand. Program alumni have gone on to pursue careers as game developers and software engineers at a broad range of companies.

Potential Careers

Senior Software Engineer

The senior software engineer role is as varied as the companies who seek such professionals. In general, a person in this role will help lead a team of engineers in creating software capable of solving complicated problems.

Graphics Programmer

As computer graphics become ever more realistic in video games and other media, companies are in need of people who can understand the technology at a sophisticated level. A graphics programmer is responsible for implementing the mathematical solutions to transform code into stunning 3D computer graphics.

Solutions Architect

Complex problems call for complex solutions across the entire development team. The solutions architect determines what technology is necessary and efficient to address the needs of the development team and drafts the “blueprints” for large-scale systems.

Other Job Titles

  • Software Engineer

  • Software Developer

  • Computer Programmer

  • Engine Programmer

  • Tools Programmer

  • AI Programmer

  • Gameplay Programmer

  • Physics Programmer

Check Out the 2023 Student Game Showcase

The Dragon community got a glimpse of the many inventive game projects created by students over the past year during our annual game showcase event.

Matt Hurliman Powers up Performance in EA's Dead Space

As a partner developer working with EA Motive, DigiPen grad Matt Hurliman helped bring out the best in graphical performance for a sci-fi horror remake.

MS in Computer Science Alumni Are MVPs on NBA 2K23

At Visual Concepts, a roster of DigiPen master’s graduates are building the NBA’s official video game.

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