The Master of Science (MS) in Digital Production Arts (DPA) Program is a technical professional degree aimed at producing graduates who intend to seek employment in the software development of the electronic arts industry. Its focus includes the technical components of visual effects production for the film, electronic games, and commercial video industries. The MS in DPA is designed primarily to attract technically-minded students interested in learning applied technical knowledge and gaining the related experience to become competitive and pursue employment as a 3D graphics programmer, software engineer, tool builder, and/or technical director in the digital production entertainment industry, but interest may also include related fields, such as commercial virtual reality, 3D printing, and visualization.

Students can choose to study DPA MS in either Clemson or Charleston, SC. When preparing to apply online, you may indicate your location of choice. The Graduate School online application may be found here.

The MS requires 30 credit hours and has both a thesis and a non-thesis option.

The objectives of the MS in DPA program are:

  1. To produce highly trained students who have mastered the technical concepts and approaches behind visual entertainment software and digital media
  2. To engage students in hands-on, problem-based experience with an emphasis on graphics system engineering and tool development, team-based projects, and troubleshooting
  3. To provide training in, and extensive experience with the professional workflows and tools used in the animation, visual effects, and video game industries



Total credit hours: 30

Students taking the MS thesis option are required to take 12 hours of core courses, 12 hours of technical electives, and 6 hours of thesis research.

MS non-thesis students are required to take 12 hours of core courses, 12 hours of technical electives, and an additional 6 hours of either technical or non-technical electives.

At least 15 of the 30 credit hours must be at the 8000-level for both thesis and non-thesis students. For thesis students, the 15-hour 8000-level requirement relates to coursework and is in addition to thesis research (DPA 8920).

Core Courses (12 credits required):

  • CPSC 6040 Computer Graphics Images (3);
  • CPSC 6050 Computer Graphics (3);
  • DPA 8070 3D Modeling and Animation (3);
  • DPA 8090 Rendering and Shading (3); and
  • DPA 8150 Special Effects Compositing (3)

Technical Courses (Select from List: 12 credit hours + 6 thesis course credits required for thesis students; 12 to 18 credit hours required for non-thesis students):

  • CPSC 6110 Virtual Reality (3);
  • CPSC 6140 Human and Computer Interaction (3);
  • CPSC 6160 2D Game Engine Design (3);
  • CPSC 6780 General Purpose Computation on Graphical Processing Units (3)
  • CPSC 8040 Visualization (3);
  • CPSC 8050 Advanced Computer Graphics (3);
  • CPSC 8170 Physically Based Animation (3);
  • CPSC 8110 Character Animation (3);
  • CPSC 8190 Physically Based Visual Effects (3);
  • CPSC 8700 Software Construction (3);
  • DPA 8920 (variable credit) Thesis* (1-6)

*DPA 8920 Thesis Research (variable credit hours) (1-6 cr hrs): Master’s thesis research work. May be repeated. Six hours is required for graduation under the thesis option.

Non-Technical Electives (Select from List: up to 6 credit required):

  • DPA 6020 Visual Foundations for Digital Production I (3);
  • DPA 6030 Visual Foundations for Digital Production II (3);
  • ART 6050 Advanced Drawing (3);
  • ART 6070 Advanced Painting (3)
  • ART 6090 Advanced Sculpture (3);
  • ART 6110 Advanced Printmaking (3);
  • ART 6130 Advanced Photography (3);
  • ART 6170 Advanced Ceramic Arts (3);
  • THEA 6720 Improvisation (3);
  • THEA 6970 Scene Painting (3);
  • AUD 6800 Audio Engineering (3);
  • ART 8210 Visual Narrative (3);
  • DPA 8080 Advanced Animation (3)


Please refer to the Graduate School website for information on how to apply and a list of all required materials.

Although a portfolio submission is not required for the MS program, if you choose to submit one, details can be found under the DPA MFA portfolio page.


We offer financial support (scholarships) in both Charleston and Clemson locations. The level of support will be dependent on the student's application materials, however, we will strive to make costs competitive and affordable to all qualified students. We accept applications throughout the year on a rolling admission basis for the nearest term (Spring or Fall), however, our standard deadline for full consideration is January 15. Hourly positions are typically available in many departments across the university--graduate students can work up to 28 hours per week. Additionally, students may refer to the Clemson University Center for Career and Professional Development website for more career related information, or the Financial Aid Office.



For all general inquiries, please email us at or call 864.656.5577