Are you passionate about games and interested in becoming a game designer or developer? Want to learn how you can use games and other playable media for social good? Do you have creative ideas for new kinds of games and interactive experiences? Can you foresee yourself working as part of a team to develop a major title? Have visual or storytelling skills you want to use to craft new kinds of game worlds?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, UC Irvine’s Game Design and Interactive Media major just might be the choice for you.
What will I learn?
UCI’s Game Design and Interactive Media program will prepare you to be an innovative designer, developer and industry leader. Taught by internationally recognized faculty and industry experts, early program requirements include hands-on courses in game programming, game design and development, visual design, interactive storytelling, data science, and game studies. Electives in advanced game design and development, programming, storytelling, games entrepreneurship, and the cultural aspects of games offer you the chance to build a portfolio that reflects your individual interests and career goals. Advanced coursework culminates in a two-quarter capstone project supported by industry mentors.
The program explores both established and emerging platforms, including AR/VR, tabletop, and mobile. Located in Silicon Beach, you’ll benefit from access to industry partners like Blizzard, Riot, Electronic Arts, Obsidian Entertainment, Age of Learning, Disney, Tencent, and the Cartoon Network.
You will complete the major as a conscientious, well-informed, skilled design collaborator who understands the centrality of games and interactive media to the world today. Graduates report having gained valuable technical skills, as well as the communication, production, leadership, and design skills needed to be productive members of dynamic development teams, companies, and communities. They design games and other forms of interactive media, manage projects, work on diverse teams on real projects, understand the business context of design decisions, and think critically about connections between games and society.
Games and interactive media technologies are evolving at a radical pace in ways that are transforming how we work, learn, and play. As such, a wide variety of careers and graduate programs are open to Game Design and Interactive Media (GDIM) graduates, including game development, interactive entertainment, creative technologies, educational and learning software, and more. Because of the strong technical underpinnings of the degree program, demand for our GDIM 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, many of our students also pursue a career or graduate school in game design, interactive media, computer science, or informatics after they complete the major.
How to prepare for the major
We welcome students with a variety of backgrounds. Some students come in with a background in design; others with a background in programming or creative writing or art, to name only a few. What they share is a passion for games and a curiosity about how they are designed and developed. If you have an interest in solving problems, working with others, creating, designing, and learning about development processes, you are prepared to join the major and help shape the future of games and interactive media.
Why Game Design and Interactive Media 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 an entire curriculum tailored around understanding the design, significance, and development of games, 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 internships that complement your studies.
- Context: A department of Informatics provides a unique setting for the teaching of game design and development, bringing together resources and expertise in human computer interaction, design, data science, learning, and software engineering.
- Location. Orange County (aka Silicon Beach) has a very vibrant and diverse tech industry, and is just a mere hop away from Silicon Valley.
Please see the catalogue for a detailed description of the requirements of the game design and interactive media major.
Prospective and current UCI students interested in learning more about the game design and interactive 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.