Graduate Programs in Silicon Valley

In addition to doctoral studies, The Baskin School of Engineering offers a variety of unique, industry-informed professional master’s programs to advance your career and expand your professional network.

Learn more about graduate degree programs offered by the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz

Games and Playable Media, MS

The Games and Playable Media (GPM) Professional Master’s program is an intensive five quarter (18 month) project-based immersive educational experience designed by industry veterans to prepare students for a career in game design and development. The degree explores state-of-the-art and novel experiences across genres, audiences, and platforms through a curriculum that focuses on professional methods, theoretical perspectives, and technical skills. Students learn how to create new game ideas, brainstorming and playtesting with a diverse and inclusive cohort. Each year, over 50 industry professionals come to campus to lead seminars, share experiences, and provide feedback for GPM Capstone Projects. By developing integral technical and soft-skills, GPM graduates are well prepared for a successful career in the games and games-adjacent industries.

Natural Language Processing, MS

Natural language processing combines the academic disciplines of computer science, linguistics, and AI to develop computer programs with the ability to understand and generate natural language. Our selective Natural Language Processing master’s degree program is taught intensively over 15 to 18 months by a world-class faculty team with high-impact research and industry experience in NLP, linguistics, machine learning, and data science. Our specialized program design combines theoretical learning with hands-on practice to equip students with the skills needed for a successful career in the fast-growing NLP and AI industry. 

Close collaboration with an advisory board of senior industry scientists from Silicon Valley R&D ensures that the program has both academic rigor and real-world context. NLP Industry Advisors provide guest lectures in NLP classes and mentor students as they develop NLP Capstone projects. Through this collaboration, students learn directly from industry leaders and gain insights about the future of AI and NLP while building in-demand technical expertise and essential skills.

Human Computer Interaction, MS

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) embraces a multidisciplinary approach incorporating computer science, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and the humanities to thoughtfully design a more equitable future with technologies. The Master of Science in HCI is a four-quarter (15 months) program that guides students into the User Experience (UX) profession, including careers in product design and UX research. Students learn and apply design methodologies, prototyping and technical build skills, user research, and collaborative teamwork and stakeholder communication. Drawing from UC Santa Cruz’s strong tradition in social justice, students will think critically and address unconscious bias, include underrepresented users, and identify potential harms in the design process and research.

Our curriculum balances cutting edge research from faculty experts with current practices from our industry Mentor Coalition, culminating in a two quarter UX Capstone Project which pairs student teams with industry sponsors and faculty. This collaborative experience provides the ideal learning platform to master industry methodologies and gain practical expertise.