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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

Application Workshop

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Application Workshop

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

The application can be a daunting process for many but we’re here to make sure it doesn’t have to be! We’re here to help you step-by-step during this session to review what all goes into the DigiPen application.

During the stream, you’ll be able to use our live chat platform to ask any questions you have about the application, DigiPen’s admissions requirements, and more, so RSVP for a seat now and join us October 5 at 3:00 p.m. PDT!

RSVP Today

Career Exploration Workshop: Game Programming

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Career Exploration Workshop: Game Programming

Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Have you ever wanted to learn how to program video games? What about looking behind the curtain to find out how your favorite games work? If so, come to our remote Game Programming Workshop on Saturday, October 15, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PDT, hosted via Zoom.

In this free, one-day workshop, you’ll discover the basics of programming in a structured format, taught by DigiPen faculty member Chris Onorati. Learn how to build some basic games from scratch and see how some small edits in code can make a big difference in game. No previous experience is required, so even if you’ve never programmed before, you won’t have anything to worry about!

Space is limited and reservations are prioritized on a first-come first-served basis, so be sure to register early! You will need access to a computer for this workshop, and instructions to download the software required will be emailed to you prior to the event.

Please contact Brandy Xiong at brandy.xiong[at]digipen[dot]edu or (425) 629-5027 with any questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you there!

RSVP Today

DigiPen is committed to providing equal access to its programs and events. Contact the event coordinator in advance with questions or to request accommodations at brandy.xiong[at]digipen[dot]edu, call (425) 629-5027, or text (425) 414-3633.

Deep Dive: Game Design Programs

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Deep Dive: Game Design Programs

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Deep Dive sessions are interactive livestreams that can give you a glimpse into the academic programs that interest you the most. Register for any or all of the sessions and hear from some of the faculty and students in the program.

Join us Wednesday, October 26 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 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

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.

Meet the Faculty

Faculty in the BS in Computer Science and Game Design program bring a wealth of experience in the game industry to the classroom as they teach students to think as both engineers and designers. These are just a few of the faculty who teach core courses in the program.

DigiPen Faculty Ben Ellinger

Ben Ellinger

Vice President of Software Production

Benjamin Ellinger broke into the game industry more than 20 years ago at Steve Jackson Games, where he worked on board games such as Car Wars and role-playing games such as GURPS. Later, he worked as a programmer and designer on real-time strategy games, including This Means War! and Dawn of War, and massively multiplayer online games such as Ultima Online, Ashen Empires, and The Matrix Online, as well as Bicycle® Texas Hold ’em, the Fable II Pub Games, and the secret Microsoft Natal prototype project.

DigiPen Faculty Douglas Schilling

Douglas Schilling

Department Co-Chair

Douglas Schilling earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science with minors in mathematics and electrical engineering from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. He has over 23 years of professional programming experience in several diverse industries, including avionics, desktop publishing, game development, and information technology management.

DigiPen Faculty Jen Sward

Jen Sward

Associate Dean

Jen Sward trained to be an electrical engineer and computer scientist at the University of California, Davis, receiving a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. After completing school, she worked for three years as a programmer and project manager specializing in fiber optics and satellite communications for the Naval Electronics Systems Command in Vallejo, CA.

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

Screenshots from 2022 DigiPen student games

Check out trailers for the game projects that DigiPen students created during the 2021-22 academic year.

A Halo Infinite screenshot of Master Chief holding his helmet at his waist.

A few of the 50-plus alumni at 343 Industries break down their experience on the genre-defining series’ latest entry.

The DigiPen Dragon Chorus raises their fists in celebration in The Wing.

In a year that bridged the digital and the physical, Dragons found success and crafted a resilient campus culture.

Take the Next Step

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