Director: Benjamin Chang
The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences offers a major program called Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) that leads to a B.S. degree in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences and provides the option of concentrations or dual majors in these areas: Electronic Arts, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Management, and Writing. This interdisciplinary major is offered through the Departments of Arts, Cognitive Science, and Communication and Media.
The GSAS program has two components stressing both aquiring fundamental principles and skills in a range of disciplines, while also obtaining depth in a single area of concentration in game studies. The first component fulfulls the requirements for the B.S. and is designed to ensure that every graduate develops a set of integrated skills that external reviewers, industry leaders, academics, and our faculty have identified as important for leaders in the field: experience working in interdisciplinary teams, proven abilities in producing work as demonstrated by having a portfolio in hand at graduation, analytical and communication skills, and experience pushing the boundaries of present-day genres and technologies through research. The second component allows students to concentrate in one of several disciplines directly related to existing or emerging career paths in the games and simulation/entertainment industry: Electronic Arts, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Management, and Writing. The curriculum in both components provides many team experiences and cycles of design, analysis, and iteration, as well as a formal research component. The curriculum is designed to help ensure that graduates can develop as leaders in the game industry as well as in other fields that make use of highly interactive media, e.g. training and simulation applications found in business, education, and government; business management in emerging new media fields.
The study of games and the game experience offers fascinating new opportunities for collaboration among academic disciplines in engineering, arts and visual design, cultural studies, social and behavioral sciences, computer sciences, and information technology. The commercial and entertainment function of games and the industry’s explosive economic growth stimulates the study of digital games. But equally important, emerging applications for interactive simulation will create breakthroughs in communication, education, training, artistic expression, modeling complex systems, and social simulation and prediction. These burgeoning areas use games as software interfaces, simulation platforms, and as virtual communication environments and pose important questions for research and education.
The keys to success in this dynamic area of intellectual pursuit are a balance of disciplinary competence, a comprehensive understanding of interactive digital media, and a mastery of a clearly defined set of related disciplinary choices. One signature of our graduates is their ability to communicate and interact effectively within teams composed of individuals with highly diverse backgrounds, while bringing a strong disciplinary background and developed skill set of their own to the team.