15 months
15102 USD/year
15102 USD/year
14178 USD/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


Serious Games from University of California, Santa Cruz will expose students to the design and development of games, as well as experimental work needed to establish efficacy of game ideas and test their impact. 


Serious Games from University of California, Santa Cruz targets the development of novel games that have the potential to make high societal impacts, such as learning games, simulation, health-based games, and more. Students in this program will propose their own game ideas and work with subject matter experts to realize and test their creations. 

The program’s curriculum is designed so that all students develop a baseline understanding of the necessary areas: game design, game technology, integrating subject matter expertise, designing and performing efficacy measures, effective teamwork, and career planning — all within the context of the serious games field.

Students at Serious Games from University of California, Santa Cruz will be able to:

  • Use fundamental game design knowledge and knowledge of the serious games field to specify systems that will lead to a desired player experience, playtest to see what experience is achieved, and iterate to improve results and/or revise design goals in light of playtest discoveries, making necessary scope and focus decisions to complete within available time and resources.
  • Use fundamental game technology knowledge and knowledge of the serious games field to select appropriate platforms and frameworks for a serious game project, construct novel software components to integrate into project frameworks, and debug and refine to achieve desired system behavior.
  • Use an understanding of the role of subject matter expertise in the serious games field to successfully identify appropriate sources of subject matter expertise, elicit the necessary knowledge to inform a game project, and integrate that knowledge into the core gameplay experience.
  • Use knowledge of appropriate serious games efficacy measures to design measures for a game, perform the measurement, analyze results, and identify potential game revisions arising from the results.
  • Use an understanding of communication and collaboration approaches to operate effectively as a member of a serious game development team, and support others in doing so.
  • Use knowledge of the professional landscape of the serious games field to define their own intended career trajectory.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Game Design
  • Game Development 
  • Game Design Systems
  • Game Programming 
  • Serious Games
  • Professional Development for Game Makers

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 15 months

Start dates & application deadlines


On Campus

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA

Other requirements

General requirements

  • Transcripts 
  • Letters of Recommendation 
  • Résumé
  • Online Portfolio: Submit your most exciting and relevant work.
  • A Statement of purpose 
  • A Personal History Statement 
  • English Proficiency
  • A cumulative or overall GPA of 3.0 (on a 4 point scale) in the last two years of undergraduate education. 

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    15102 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 15102 USD per year during 15 months.
  • National

    15102 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 15102 USD per year during 15 months.
  • In-State

    14178 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 14178 USD per year during 15 months.

Living costs for Santa Cruz

1710 - 2560 USD /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Serious Games
University of California, Santa Cruz


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