Computer Graphics and Game Technology Program

Interactive entertainment and computer-animated visual effects are now part of our mainstream culture. Creating such computer-generated imagery, however, is no trivial task. It requires a delicate blending of art with science by teams of highly skilled professionals, including artists, animators, writers, designers, engineers and software developers working long hours with cutting-edge technology and tools. Currently there are very few interdisciplinary academic programs at four-year research universities adequately preparing students for such positions. The Master of Science in Engineering in Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT) was created specifically to address this need.

Program Overview

The CGGT program was established in 2004. The goal of the program is to expose recent graduates, as well as individuals returning from industry, to state-of-the-art graphics and animation technologies, as well as interactive media design principles, product development methodologies and engineering entrepreneurship. The CGGT program prepares students for positions requiring multidisciplinary skills such as designers, technical animators, technical directors and game programmers. Students in the CGGT program use the equipment and resources available through the SIG Center for Computer Graphics. Opportunities for specialization are provided in such core areas as art and animation, creative design, animation and simulation technology, human/computer interfaces and production management.

Degree Requirements

Who Should Apply?

Students seeking admission to the program are assumed to have a bachelor’s degree in either Computer Science or Engineering. Students seeking admission with non-computer science and/or engineering undergraduate backgrounds will require a minimum of two years to complete the program. The first year will be spent in the Department’s Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) program; upon satisfactory completion of the MCIT program, the student may pursue the Computer Graphics and Game Technology degree. Such students, having taken a total of 16 courses, will receive two degrees: a Master of Computer and Information Technology and a Master of Science and Engineering in Computer Graphics and Game Technology.

Penn Advantage

Since 1975, the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS) has been a leader in the fields of 3D computer graphics, human simulation and the behavioral animation of embodied intelligent agents. The lab has achieved international recognition for its research and is well known for the “Jack” software, a procedural character animation system used in both private sector and government applications. Computer Graphics Penn alumni have been influential in computer graphics applications around the world, and include industry leaders such as Nick Foster of PDI/DreamWorks (“Shrek”) and Cary Philips at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), who are winners of Academy Awards for Technical Achievement.

The SIG Center for Computer Graphics includes a state-of-the-art motion capture studio, high performance NVidia GPU processors and Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality systems (Vive, Oculus and Hololens). This lab houses both the HMS Center and ViDi, the Digital Visualization Center. It fosters a collegial and open atmosphere in which faculty, staff, and students interact and collaborate. Doctoral students are often teamed with CGGT students and students from the affiliated undergraduate Digital Media Design (DMD) program to conduct cutting-edge research and produce animated demonstrations highlighting their results. The continued industry need for well-rounded designers, programmers and technical directors who understand both the art and science of producing visual media and interactive content has led to great success with graduates from both the CGGT and DMD programs finding employment at companies such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony, Activision, Blue Sky Entertainment.

Candidates with Non-Computer Science and/or Engineering Undergraduate Degrees

Since this is a specialized, one-year graduate-level master’s program, students seeking admission to the CGGT program are assumed to already have a bachelor’s degree in either Computer Science or Engineering. Candidates with at least two years of course work at the undergraduate level in Computer Science and/or Engineering at a four year University also will be considered for admission to the program.

Students seeking admission with non-computer science and/or engineering undergraduate backgrounds will require a minimum of two years to complete the program. The first year will be spent in the CIS Department’s Master’s in Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) program; upon satisfactory completion of the MCIT program, the student may pursue the Computer Graphics and Game Technology program. Such students, having taken a total of 16 courses, will receive two degrees: a Master of Computer and Information Technology and a Master of Science in Engineering in Computer Graphics and Game Technology.

Click here to access the MCIT to CGGT transition form.

University of Pennsylvania Submatriculants

Students who are sub-matriculating from the Penn undergraduate DMD program will have, more than likely, already taken many of the required courses, such as Computer Graphics (CIS460/CIS560), Computer Animation (CIS462/CIS562), Game Design (CIS564), 3D Modeling (FNAR635), Animation (FNAR567), Visual Communication (COMM564), etc. In situations where students have already taken the required course choices in a Core Area, additional course selections will be needed, subject to the approval of the CGGT Program Director. View the submatriculation/application rules.

Graduate Program:

Your CIS Contacts:

Mike Felker – CIS Graduate Admissions
Graduate Coordinator for on-campus Master in Computer and Information Technology and Master of Science in Engineering programs
Office: 158 Levine
Phone: 215-898-9672
Email: mfelker@cis.upenn.edu

Britton Carnevali
Graduate Coordinator for PhD program
Office: 310 Levine
Phone: 215-898-5515
Email: brittonc@cis.upenn.edu

Joy McManus
Graduate Coordinator for ROBO
Office: 459 Levine
Phone: 215-573-4907
Email: joymc@seas.upenn.edu

Liz Wai-Ping Ng
Associate Director for Embedded Systems MSE program
Office: 313 Levine
Phone: 215-898-8543
Email: wng@cis.upenn.edu