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 report, "Top Schools to Study Video Game Design for 2013."

UCSC's game design programs have consistently done well in Princeton Review's annual rankings. This year, the campus placed eighth on the company's list of top graduate programs.

"I am excited to see the Princeton Review again recognize the quality of our game design programs here at UC Santa Cruz," said Jim Whitehead, professor and chair of computer science in the Baskin School of Engineering.

This year, the Center for Games and Playable Media at UCSC brought on board its first game designer in residence, Brenda Romero, who has more than 30 years of experience in game design. "In Santa Cruz, the density of awesome people is very high, and game design is no exception," Whitehead said.

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.

UCSC is one of only two schools in California, and the only one in Northern California, to make the Princeton Review's list of the top 15 graduate programs. For undergraduates, the campus offers a B.S. in computer game design, which earned the campus an honorable mention on the Princeton Review's list of 30 recommended undergraduate schools.

The Princeton Review chose the schools for its 2013 list based on a comprehensive survey it conducted in the 2012 academic year of administrators at 150 institutions offering video game design degrees or coursework in the United States and Canada. The selection and ranking of schools for the list was based on criteria that broadly covered the quality of the curriculum, faculty, facilities, and infrastructure. The Princeton Review also factored in data it collected from the schools on their scholarships, financial aid, and career opportunities.

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