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Are you curious how computer games work on the inside? Do you want to learn how you can use computer games for social good? Do you have creative ideas for fun new mobile games? Can you foresee yourself programming intelligent avatars for a major title? Have thoughts about the visual appearance of new virtual worlds?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, UC Irvine’s computer game science major just might be the choice for you.

What will I learn?

The B.S. in computer game science is designed around a set of core courses that introduce the fundamentals of computer science (programming, data structures, graphics and artificial intelligence), math (statistics, linear algebra and logic), and games (games and society, game design, game engines and multiplayer games). From there, nearly thirty electives offer students the chance to specialize, focusing anywhere from typical game topics such as modeling, world building and mobile games to more peripheral topics such as software design and social impacts.

Throughout the major, students gain hands-on experience in creating a variety of digital games, for entertainment purposes, but also for education, training and engendering social change. Working in teams, you will employ a variety of different programming languages, game platforms and hardware. This culminates in the two-quarter capstone course, in which you will be part of a team that designs and implements a new game from scratch under the supervision of game designers from the local industry.

Overall, the major strongly emphasizes the technical aspects of creating games, as well as working in teams to design and implement them. You will be prepared to adapt to what are the always-changing circumstances of the profession — whether it is a new game platform, newly emerging game mechanics, or new ways of earning revenue.


Because of the strong technical underpinnings of the degree program, demand for our computer game science majors is strong. The majority find employment in the industry, whether at a major publisher, smaller studio or as self-employed freelancers. Many squarely focus on entertainment, others succeed in bringing their skills to the design and development of serious games in a variety of domains, including healthcare and education.

Of course, graduate school in game design, interactive media, computer science, informatics or related field is a career path that a portion of our students also choose to take after they complete the major.


We welcome students with a variety of backgrounds. We have had students join who were avid gamers and already knew how to program, and students who were merely curious about games and did not yet know how to program. Both groups are successful in the major.

If you have an interest in solving problems, aspire to creative thinking, and have an affinity with design, computer game science can be for you.

Why computer game science at UC Irvine?

  • Excellence. You will be part of a world-class group of faculty and staff, who have an outstanding track record of delivering innovative educational experiences in — and beyond — the classroom.
  • Depth. With no fewer than ten courses dedicated to games, and dozens more on topics closely surrounding it, you receive an education that prepares you very well for the many challenges that will arise in your future career.
  • Connections. Our alumni have gone on to study in some of the most prestigious Ph.D. programs, work for well-known, innovative corporations and found successful startups. We stay in touch with them, and can help connect you with for internships that complement your studies.
  • Location. Orange County has a very vibrant and diverse tech industry, and is just a mere hop away from Silicon Valley.

Detailed requirements

Please see the catalogue for a detailed description of the requirements of the computer game science major.

More information

Prospective and current UCI students interested in learning more about the computer game science major are encouraged to contact our vice chair for undergraduate affairs or call our Student Affairs Office at 949-824-5156 to make an appointment or to inquire about campus visit opportunities.

Community Resources for CGS Students

Visit our new resources page for CGS students, where you’ll find:

  • A resource list of conferences, game jams, professional organizations, scholarships and volunteer opportunities and various competitions.
  • A sign up form for current Computer Game Science students to receive email updates.
  • A growing collection of on online resources.
  • A calendar of upcoming events.