MS in Computer Science - Game Development

Application Deadlines

Fall 2018: January 15, 2018
Application to this program is only available for the fall semester

The goal of the MS in Computer Science – Game Development program is to graduate students with a core in computer science, an engineering- oriented game development core, and a concentration in one of the key research directions in game development infrastructure, cognition and games, immersion, and serious games.

Infrastructure is researching and developing the software and hardware infrastructure necessary for the development of the future of interactive games and large-scale simulations; massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) and simulation networks; game engines and tools; instant games; wireless and mobile games and infrastructures; and next generation consoles.

Cognition and games is developing theories for modeling and simulating computer characters and story; developing methods for modeling, simulating, and displaying human emotion; analyzing large- scale game play; and developing theories for infusing pedagogy with game play.

Immersion is researching and developing the technologies to engage the mind of the game player via sensory stimulation; reading the human emotional state and providing that as an input to the game; and emotionally adaptive game software architectures.

Serious games and simulations is developing a theory for the deployment of games and simulations for purposes of education and training, health, public policy, and strategic communication; game evaluation; serious game development; and human performance engineering.

Students graduating from this program will be capable of engineering next generation games and simulations and their required technologies immediately upon graduation in the entertainment and serious game fields. Additionally, graduates from this program will be able to further their education in graduate programs in game development and computer science. The long-term goal with this MS degree is to establish research and development directions that create a science of games, and an accompanying archival literature, that improves game development for both serious and entertainment purpose.

Please Note: Requirements for graduation, course offerings, course availability, track offerings, and any other degree requirements are subject to change. Students should consult with an academic advisor prior to registering for any classes.

  • A minimum of 32 units is required for the MS in Computer Science – Game Development degree
  • Required Courses: 8 units
  • Game Development Core Courses: 12 units
  • Project Courses: 6 units
  • Game Development Elective Courses: 6 units
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation
  • A maximum of 8 units may be taken from the approved 400-level courses
Detailed Program Curriculum and RequirementsSchedule of Classes

Fall 2018 (scholarship consideration)December 15
Fall 2018 (FINAL)January 17, 2018*
*DEN@Viterbi Applicants: Please contact to request an application extension for Fall 2018.
Visit our Application Deadlines page for more information.


  • An undergraduate degree in engineering, math or hard science from a regionally-accredited university.
  • Applicants whose background is not in computer science may consider the MS in Computer Science (Scientists and Engineers).
  • Satisfactory cumulative undergraduate GPA (grade point average)
  • Satisfactory GRE test scores. All scores must be officially reported to the university directly by ETS.
  • Substantial background in computing constitutes a minimum requirement.


Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

GRE General Test: Satisfactory and valid test scores. Valid GRE scores must be dated within five years of the start of the intended application semester. The fall semester starts in August, and the spring semester starts in January. Official scores must be reported from ETS directly to USC using ETS school code 4852. A department code is not required.

Resume/CV (Required)

Statement of Purpose (Optional): The statement of purpose should succinctly describe your reasons for applying to the proposed program at the Viterbi School of Engineering, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans, and other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.

Letters of Recommendation (Optional): Letters of recommendation should be from faculty or others (supervisors, professional colleagues, etc.) qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study.


English Language Proficiency: In addition to the general admission criteria listed above, international students whose first language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS examination to be considered a candidate for admission. There is no minimum TOEFL or IELTS score required for admission to the Viterbi School. For possible exemption from additional language requirements, you must achieve an Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 90, with no less than 20 on each section or an IELTS score of 6.5, with no less than 6 on each band score. For more details on English Proficiency Criteria for the University of Southern California, please visit USC Graduate Admission – Proficiency in English.

The following is an overview of the tuition & fees for graduate engineering students. Both on-campus and DEN@Viterbi students pay the same tuition.


Academic Year
Per Unit Rate
3-unit Course
4-unit Course
Fall 2017 - Summer 2018
Fall 2018 - Summer 2019



Fee Description
Fee Amount
Mandatory Fees (approximate)
Fall 2017: $450
Spring 2018: $400
Health Insurance
Fall 2017: $646
Spring 2018: $1,170
Norman Topping Student Aid Fee
ENGR Computing Access Fee (On-Campus students)
ENGR Computing Access Fee (DEN@Viterbi students)
Exam Proctoring
$40 - $100 per course
Detailed Information on Tuition & Fees
This program is not available through DEN. For a full list of the 40+ engineering graduate programs available online, please visit Online DEN@Viterbi Offerings.
Please complete the following form for more information.