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Behind every sword swing, item drop, and hit point in a video game lies a complex system of rules embedded within the game’s code. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Game Design teaches you to become a versatile software developer with the knowledge and ability to design, program, and implement these systems.

You’ll be balancing coursework in computer science with design classes that leverage your technical skills to create better games, levels, and mechanics. By the time you graduate, you will be a hybrid programmer and designer who can navigate both ends of the scientific and creative spectrum on any software development team.

If your passion for computers and technology is only matched by your love of creating games, DigiPen’s BS in Computer Science and Game Design program may be an excellent fit for you.

Who Should Pursue This Degree?

The BS in Computer Science and Game Design is a cross-disciplinary computer science program for those who also want to hone their design capabilities. In addition to advancing your understanding of math, physics, and computer science principles, you’ll be learning how to design fun and interesting game systems, levels, and mechanics. While this dual focus gives you the flexibility to pursue a wide range of roles on a game or software development team, it also means you won’t delve quite as deep into either subject area as you would in other degree programs.

As a student in this program, you will:

  • Become a Proficient Software Engineer

    Dive deep into core programming languages as you tackle coursework in data structures, artificial intelligence, user interface design, and more.

  • Study Game Design Theory and Methodology

    Examine the practice of game design from a variety of angles, including system design, level design, technical design, and more.

  • Gain Experience in a Collaborative Studio Environment

    Work with others on a large codebase and shared creative vision as you solve problems and tackle the challenges of game software development.

Academic Roadmap

As a BS in Computer Science and Game Design student, you’ll begin with foundational coursework in math and computer science in year one. After that, you’ll start taking coursework in physics and design, in addition to continued math and computer science. On top of that, you’ll also be working each year on multidisciplinary game projects. The final year of the program places a stronger emphasis on elective coursework across multiple subject areas.

View a sample course sequence

Admissions Requirements

In order to apply for the BS in Computer Science and Game Design program, you should have a strong foundation in math, science, and problem-solving. Precalculus (or its equivalent) is strongly recommended for applicants to this program, but not required.

View all requirements

Topics Covered

Students in the BS in Computer Science and Game Design program concentrate on the following subjects:

  • Computer science, mathematics, and physics, including programming in core languages like C and C++, data structures, artificial intelligence, algorithm analysis, linear algebra, calculus, and Newtonian dynamics.
  • Game and interactive design, including game design theory, 2D and 3D level design, UI/UX design, game systems and mechanics, playtesting, and team game project implementation.
  • Collaborative game development, in which students apply their programming and design knowledge toward yearlong team-based projects while building soft skills in communications, project management, and more.

Event Schedule

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Game Design Programs

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 4:00pm

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Game Design Programs

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 4:00pm

Join us online for the DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series! Wednesday, September 23 at 4:00 p.m. PDT, we’ll have faculty members and students live on stream to share their insights and take your questions about our game design degree programs.

RSVP Today

Navigating Fall 2021 Admissions

Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 10:00am to 12:30pm

Navigating Fall 2021 Admissions

Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 10:00am to 12:30pm

Join us online for this webcast created for high school seniors and their families planning to apply for fall 2021 admissions. We will be covering the updates to the admissions process and how we’ve been adapting financial aid, housing, and student services during the pandemic. Register for the livestream today and be sure to ask us any questions you have for our staff and students.

RSVP Today

Live Webcast — Anatomy of a Game Team: Fall Edition

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:00pm

Live Webcast — Anatomy of a Game Team: Fall Edition

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:00pm

Meet with a game development team to unpack how DigiPen students create their own games from scratch. For a personal look at the art and science of making games at DigiPen, join us for this upcoming Online Info Session.

During the stream, you’ll be able to use our live chat platform to ask the students any questions you have about the process of video game development, so RSVP for a seat now and join us October 14 at 3:00 p.m. PST!

RSVP Today

DigiPen Student Stories

Student Projects

Multidisciplinary team projects make up a core component of the BS in Computer Science and Game Design curriculum. As a student in the program, you will work with your classmates on a series of original game projects. In addition to building your own tools and software systems, you’ll have the chance to flex your skills as a designer of gameplay, mechanics, user interfaces, and more — applying both your computer science and design knowledge toward tangible game products. These are just a few examples of what students in the program have created.

Career Outlook

Graduates of the BS in Computer Science and Game Design program can pursue a number of career paths in game and software development and experience design.

Potential Careers

Systems Designer

The systems designer helps lay the groundwork and design specifications for other developers to build large sections of a game or other application. A systems designer must rely on careful testing and have a solid understanding of technical limitations and efficiencies. They must be able to communicate well with an interdisciplinary team.

Game Designer

Game design is a broad term that can encompass many unique job types. In general, a game designer works to create and refine the interrelated systems that make up a game playing experience, from the mechanics of combat in a fighting game to the complex menu navigation in an online RPG. They often work closely with engineers and people from other disciplines to implement and fine-tune their design concepts.

Gameplay Programmer

The gameplay programmer is responsible for implementing the mechanical features and systems of a video game, often working with designers to turn ideas into working, moving parts.

Entry-Level Job Titles

  • Software Engineer

  • Software Development Engineering in Test

  • Software Analyst

  • Computer Programmer

  • Gameplay Programmer

  • Artificial Intelligence Programmer

  • User Interface Programmer

  • Tools Programmer

  • Game Scripter

  • Technical Designer

  • System Designer

  • Level Designer

  • Content Designer

  • Encounter Designer

  • Game Designer

Senior-Level Job Titles

  • Lead Engineer

  • Lead Designer

  • Technical Director

  • Creative Director

  • Director

Other Job Titles

  • Producer

  • Program Manager

  • Technical Program Manager

Excalibots screenshot: Robot knight swings sword at cluster of enemy goblins in a field of flowers

The DigiPen students of team MooseBear take a look back at the making of their 3D hack-and-slash adventure starring a sword-collecting robot knight.

Group photo with the 16 members of DigiPen student game team Nuclear Lunch

When members of student game team Nuclear Lunch decided to make a 3D action adventure for their junior-level project, it took a team effort to pull it off.

A DigiPen student levitates and codes in a green digital space next to a knight with a DigiPen shield.
An animated comic with Program Director Prasanna Ghali on what sets DigiPen apart.

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