The graduate programs in game design at UC Santa Cruz were named among the top 10 in the nation by the Princeton Review, an education services company. UCSC's undergraduate game design program was also recommended in the company's new lists, "Top Schools to Study Video Game Design for 2012."

"We're pleased to note that we are the only Bay Area university in the rankings, both grad and undergrad, and one of only two in California," said Michael Mateas, associate professor of computer science and director of the Center for Games and Playable Media at UCSC.

UC Santa Cruz offers three degree paths for graduate students interested in games: the Ph.D. or M.S. in computer science with a focus on games, and the M.F.A. in digital arts and new media. Students earning a Ph.D. or M.S. in computer science with a focus on games augment their basic computer science knowledge with classes in topics such as artificial intelligence in games, computer animation, playable media, and interactive narrative. The Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) program focuses on the development and study of digital media and the cultures that they have helped create. DANM faculty and students come from a variety of backgrounds--the arts, computer engineering, humanities, the sciences, and social sciences--to pursue interdisciplinary artistic and scholarly research and production while broadly examining digital arts and cultures.

UC Santa Cruz earned a ninth place ranking in the Princeton Review's list of top graduate programs. The campus is one of only three schools on the West Coast, and the only one in Northern California, to make the company's top 10 list. For undergraduates, UCSC offers a B.S. in computer game design, which earned the campus an honorable mention on the Princeton Review's list of 32 recommended undergraduate schools.

"We're excited to see that the Princeton Review has recognized the strength of our game design programs. For two years running, UCSC is in the top 10 graduate programs, and this year they have additionally recognized our undergraduate program," said James Whitehead, professor and chair of computer science in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz.

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a comprehensive survey it conducted in the 2011-2012 academic year of administrators at 150 institutions offering video game design coursework or degrees in the United States and Canada. School selections were based on a comprehensive analysis of data that analyzed the quality of the curriculum, faculty, facilities, and infrastructure, plus the school's scholarships, financial aid, and career services.

For more information on the game design programs at UC Santa Cruz, visit games.soe.ucsc.edu.