Program Overview

Driven by thriving technology and innovations, the interactive real-time simulation software and video game industry is an exciting and dynamic field with active research that is still young and offers tremendous opportunities to talented people. The number of people involved in different game production activities (game console, personal computer, hand-held, on-line, wireless devices, etc.) has been rising. Three-dimensional computer graphics, artificial intelligence (AI), networking, and distributed computing technology continue to drive innovations in both hardware and software. Real-time animation and realistic rendering techniques have also demonstrated many application potentials in movies, television commercials, scientific visualization, medical studies, military training, and other industries and fields.

Gaming companies increasingly demand leading programmers and engineers with an in-depth comprehension of and a solid background in mathematics, physics, real-time rendering, AI, graphics programming, and networking. On the other hand, many developers currently working in the field have been seeking postgraduate education to update their knowledge, to sharpen their professional skills, or to advance in the industry. However, the curriculum taught in many colleges and universities lacks a focus on implementation of these exclusive objectives. Consequently, both companies and individuals feel that a general four-year computer science bachelorís degree program might limit them from advancing professionally in careers related to the theory and technology involved in real-time simulations. More directed, extensive education at a postgraduate level is needed.

DigiPen Institute of Technology has been teaching the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation since 1998. This degree provides both academic and practical training for programming computer games. It has been highly successful, and DigiPen has received much recognition for this achievement and for the achievements of its alumni in the industry. Building on this success, the Institute offers a Master of Science in Computer Science to meet the postgraduate education need.

While many developers currently working in the field have been seeking postgraduate education to update their knowledge, to sharpen their professional skills, or to advance in the industry, they have the difficult challenge of balancing busy production schedules and professional growth. Additionally, for many of them, leaving a full-time job to pursue full-time graduate studies is simply not an option.

For these reasons, DigiPen also offers the Part-Time Master of Science in Computer Science degree. This program provides an opportunity for those who currently work in a video game company or have a full-time job in another industry and want to expand their knowledge of academic fundamentals in an advanced study of Computer Science and applications in interactive simulation.

This program specializes in real-time interactive simulation and is designed to attract talented students who have recently graduated with a bachelorís degree in one of the following disciplines:

  • Computer Science
  • Computer Engineering or related studies
  • A general field, along with some computer science studies or some game-industry experience

The Master of Science in Computer Science degree program offers extended education in areas of 3D computer graphics, animation and modeling techniques, AI algorithms, image processing, and real-time rendering. It combines this with related training in computer science, mathematics, and physics.

This graduate program at DigiPen provides an opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of academic fundamentals in 3D computer graphics. Students who successfully complete this masterís degree program will possess and/or improve the following professional skills:

  • In-depth foundation in mathematics and physics, such as implicit curves and surfaces, theory and applications of quaternions, differential geometry, computational geometry, graph theory, advanced numerical analysis, fuzzy logic and sets, number theory and cryptography, and finite elements.

  • Advanced knowledge in computer science, including advanced animation and modeling algorithms (interpolation, rigid body, deformable object, inverse kinematics, natural phenomena simulation, facial expression, motion blending and capture, etc.), advanced rendering techniques (shader programming, lighting techniques, HDR, shading and shadows, anti-aliasing, etc.), artificial intelligence (reinforcement learning, neural network, advanced search algorithms, uncertainty handling, etc.), game engine design (levels of detail, implicit surfaces, pipeline optimization, advanced intersection and collision detection, etc.), physically-based modeling algorithms, ray tracing, and radiosity.

  • Solid hands-on experience on game projects, including advanced game (single- or multi-player) design, documentation, project management, marketing, networking, distributed systems, streaming media testing, and working with external contractors.

  • Strong capability of academic research in the area of 3D computer graphics and AI, including virtual reality, illumination and shading algorithms, animation techniques, surface representation and rendering, volume visualization and morphing algorithms, geometry, modeling, path finding, and searching and planning algorithms.

Computer technology pervades modern society. Those who thoroughly understand it have a wide range of rewarding career options. This graduate degree program prepares students specifically 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. These include the video game, computer-based modeling, aerospace, server back-end, and medical industries, just to name a few. Graduates of this program may attain occupations as software engineers, software developers, computer programmers, engine programmers, graphics programmers, tools programmers, AI programmers, gameplay programmers, and physics engine programmers.


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MSCS Program Details

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