SHU to Launch Gaming Track in Computer Science

News Story: December 21, 2008

Sacred Heart University’s Computer Science Department is launching a computer science gaming track for its Bachelor of Science degree which will prepare students for careers in the gaming industry.

The gaming concentration will not only focus on game development and animation but also on the architecture of programs and will be offered to the students in the fall of 2009. The track is also the only program of its type available in the region.

“We’re going to emphasize what’s behind the game,” said computer science Professor Dominick Pinto.

Students will learn about animation, graphics, mathematics, statistics, probabilities and art. The courses will lead to a capstone in which students will combine all of these elements.

The new courses offered will include Digital Animation and Gaming, Introduction to Computer Gaming, Advanced Computer Gaming, Introduction to Computer Graphics, Advanced Computer Graphics, and Fundamentals of Game Design. Students will also be required to take pre-calculus, calculus, visual organization, and Photoshop & Illustrator.

In the last five years, there has been a trend toward gaming tracks in computer science programs throughout the country, which will make Sacred Heart’s track more competitive. The trend coincides with an increase in student interest in assembling the elements of games, including statistics, strategies, and animation. Eventually, the department could add a gaming Master’s degree or link the gaming track to a five-year baccalaureate to Master’s program.

“Young people are really into video games,” Pinto said, explaining the growing demand for gaming tracks in computer science programs.

Students who graduate in the gaming track will have computer science degrees and will be well-served by the track even if they decide not to go into the gaming industry, according to Pinto. The program’s emphasis on logic and mathematics will be valuable in any technological field.

“The upside to this whole thing is that even though the students will be doing a track in computer gaming, they’re going to have a lot of the computer science and IT training that the other students have,” Pinto said. “They will be able to perform a lot of the tasks that the other two [computer science program] tracks can do.”

Students will be able to go to work in the gaming industry or even work for defense contractors who develop combat simulators or carry-out computer modeling. The program will also help fill a market-based demand to fill the severe shortage of game programmers.

“The job market is there, but they’ll still have the versatility that they’ll be able to go into something else,” Pinto said.