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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.

Event Schedule

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Welcome to DigiPen with President Claude Comair

Saturday, July 10, 2021 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Welcome to DigiPen with President Claude Comair

Saturday, July 10, 2021 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

This two-hour Deep Dive session offers a broad overview of DigiPen itself and is especially helpful for students and families who haven’t attended one of our online or in-person events before.

This session will include:

  • A welcome talk with Claude Comair, founder and president of DigiPen
  • A brief overview of the degree programs
  • An overview of financial aid, types of accepted aid, available scholarships, and more 
  • An overview of student services, housing, Disability Support Services, and student life
  • A Q&A with staff from Admissions, Financial Aid, and Student Affairs
  • A panel of current DigiPen students discussing student life

RSVP Today

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Master's Degree Programs

Sunday, July 11, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Master's Degree Programs

Sunday, July 11, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Join us online for the DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series! Sunday, July 11 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PDT, we’ll have faculty members and students live on stream to share their insights and take your questions about our MFA in Digital Arts and MS in Computer Science degree programs.

RSVP Today

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Project-Based Learning

Friday, July 16, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Project-Based Learning

Friday, July 16, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Join us online for the DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series! Friday, July 16 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST, we’ll discuss our project-based learning approach to have students learn to collaborate in cross-disciplinary teams involving several different majors, which accurately simulates the professional production process found in the real world. We’ll have faculty expand on this educational philosophy and explain why it’s been so successful in preparing our graduates for their future careers.

To wrap up our Deep Dive Series, DigiPen Founder and President Claude Comair will offer a closing talk and take your questions live.

RSVP Today

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.

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

A demonstration of different Unity Shader Graph effects applied to the same sci-fi character model.

Blending programming with art, two alumni discuss the unique hybrid field they discovered at DigiPen.

A screenshot from Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time depicting Crash running down a temple hallway.

This MS in Computer Science graduate realized his childhood dreams working on a nostalgic favorite.

DigiPen faculty member Ellen Guon Beeman

For junior programmers looking to land that coveted job interview, DigiPen professor Ellen Guon Beeman’s new book on code sample writing aims to help.

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