What are the top AR/VR school programs in the West for 2023?

Top 10 Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Schools on the West Coast - 2023 College Rankings
1Stanford UniversityCalifornia
2University of Southern CaliforniaCalifornia
3University of WashingtonWashington
4University of California, BerkeleyCalifornia
5University of California, San DiegoCalifornia
6California Institute of TechnologyCalifornia
7University of California, Santa CruzCalifornia
8San Jose State UniversityCalifornia
9University of California, Santa BarbaraCalifornia
10Chapman UniversityCalifornia

Our 2023 rankings -our third annual- of the Top 10 AR/AV School Programs in the West. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Stanford University, Stanford, California
Stanford University

Stanford University is home to School of Engineering, which houses the Computer Science (CS) Department. Established in 1965, CS provides a BS and a Minor in Computer Science, a MSCS, a CS PhD, 10 specified undergraduate tracks, the option to design your own major, and nine graduate specializations. Track examples include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Systems, and Visual Computing. Specialization examples include Aim HCI, Real-World Computing, Biocomputation, and Theoretical Computer Science.

Across all tracks and specializations, students have access to a wide variety of AR/VR courses. Examples include Virtual Reality; Emerging Technology Studio; Intro to Virtual Reality and Avatars; Character Animation: Modeling, Simulation, and Control of Human Motion; Coding for Social Good (VR component); Interactive Simulation for Robot Learning; Introduction to Automata and Complexity Theory; Computer Graphics: Animation and Simulation; How to Make VR: Introduction to Virtual Reality Design and Development; Topics in Computer Graphics: Agile Hardware Design; and Physically Based Animation and Sound.

Graduate CS programs feature nine predefined specialization options. Examples include AI, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Real-World Computing, and Systems.

In addition to providing a variety of specializations and AR/VR coursework, the CS Department houses research groups in the areas of AI, Computer Graphics/HCI, Robotics, Foundations of Computer Science, and Scientific Computing. CS students focusing in AR/VR have opportunities to collaborate on projects and enhance their skills through two centers and labs as well. Options include the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) Virtual + Augmented Reality Design Lab and the Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL).

The CCRMA Virtual + Augmented Reality Design Lab conducts VR, AR, and XR research for music. The lab also supports collaborations with Computer Science, Art and Art History, and Communication at Stanford, as well as research projects within the CCRMA community.

Founded in 2003, the VHIL studies the psychological and behavioral effects of AR/VR. Examples of past projects include Psychology of Augmented Reality, Virtual Becomes Reality – Immersion and Presence, Empathy and Perspective Talking, Integrating VR into Classrooms and Curricula, Telepresence, and Design Thinking.

Graduates of the School of Engineering at Stanford University are prepared to pursue positions at a wide range of major companies and organizations. Stanford graduates are routinely recruited by Apple, the U.S. Army, Tesla, Microsoft, Google, Walt Disney World, Amazon, LinkedIn, the U.S. Navy, Meta, Snapchat, Oracle, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Stanford University was established in 1885 by former California Governor Leland Stanford, and his wife, Jane. The school opened its doors on October 1, 1891 with 555 students. Today, Stanford University serves approximately 17,325 students served by just over 2,300 faculty members. Nearly 300 programs are provided across seven schools, supplemented by dozens of centers, institutes, and labs. Schools include Engineering; Humanities and Sciences; Sustainability; Business; Education; Law; and Medicine.

Stanford University accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

2. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
University of Southern California

In May of this year, University of Southern California (USC) President Carol L. Folt announced a $1 billion-plus initiative that will integrate computing throughout education and research to enhance digital literacy for all students. Known as Frontiers of Computing, the initiative will be the single largest comprehensive academic initiative in the USC’s history. While the initiative will benefit students, faculty, and more across disciplines, the focus will be on AR/VR, gaming, robotics, AI, machine learning, data science, and block chain.

Frontiers in Computing will also include the USC School of Advanced Computing, which will be headquartered in a seven-story, 116,000 square-foot facility—the  Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Human-Centered Computation Hall. Currently under construction, the building will formally open in fall 2024. In the meantime, students who would like to study AR/VR can enroll in a variety of programs at USC, beginning with options housed in the Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science within Viterbi School of Engineering. Programs include a BS, MS, and PhD. in Computer Science (CS), with access to courses such as Augmented, Virtual & Mixed Reality; Intermediate 3D Modeling and Procedural Asset Pipelines; Professional C++; Object-Oriented Programming; Digital Infrastructure; Programming in Python; Computational Thinking Through Programming; Mobile Game Development; Technical Character Animation for Games; and Programming Graphical User Interfaces.

The School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at USC also has a number of options for students interested in studying AR/VR.  Founded in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1929, and one of USC’s most recognized schools, Cinematic Arts houses the Interactive Media and Games Division, which has an Interactive Entertainment BA, Immersive Media Minor, and Interactive Media MFA.

The interdisciplinary Immersive Media Minor is open to all undergraduate students at USC. The program explores virtual reality and how to create content effectively. Students have the opportunity choose elective courses within the same area to fit their goals or they can enhance the curriculum by choosing elective courses from two separate areas. BA students may also study AR/VR through the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (USC ICT), which houses the Mixed Reality Lab (MxR) and the ICT Virtual Humans Group.

The MxR Lab works with the Interactive Media and Games Division in areas such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and immersive systems for education and training simulations using AR/VR.

The ICT Virtual Humans Group conducts research in areas such as Integrated Virtual Humans, Character Animation and Simulation, MultiModal Communication, Natural Language Processing, Cognitive Architecture, and Emotion.

Elective examples for the Interactive Entertainment BA Program include Storytelling for Virtual and Augmented Reality, Alternative Control Workshop, Video Game Programming, Visual Effects, Computer Graphics, Interactive Entertainment, Science, and Healthcare, and Audio Expression. Examples of required courses include Creative Production in Virtual Reality, Experiments in Immersive Design, C++ Programming, and 3D Computer Animation.

The Interactive Entertainment BA Program at USC School of Cinematic Arts explores AAA (triple-A) game development processes and experimental and indie genres from virtual and alternate realities to meaningful and expressive games. Course examples include Reality Starts Here, Producing Interactive Projects, Interface Design for Games, Alternative Control Workshop, Experimental Game Topics, Programming in Python, Interactive Entertainment, and Game Design Workshop.

The Interactive Media MFA is a competitive program that admits just 15 students in the Fall semester only. Program features include the opportunity to take twelve 500-level elective units, access to state-of-the-art computer and digital production facilities, and a mandatory internship or summer job in a professional environment.

MFA students will take courses such as Experiments in Interactivity I & II, Foundations of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Interactive Design Production, Motion Capture Fundamentals, and Tangible and Spatial Computing. To enhance this coursework, like undergraduate students, MFA students can study AR/VR through USC ICT.

A final option for students interested in pursuing a career in AR/VR is the Extended Reality (XR) Design and Development Minor. Provided through the USC Iovine and Young Academy, the Minor can be added to Academy programs such as the BS in Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation or the Integrated Design, Business Technology MS. Course examples for the Minor include Extended Reality Design, Digital Toolbox: Motion Graphics, Designing Live Experiences, Narrative Technology and the Human Experience, and Designing Digital Experiences.

USC recently launched the USC Working Group on Scholarly VR, AR, and 3D Modeling. The Group is sponsored by the Humanities in a Digital World Program at USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences (the largest and oldest of the USC schools), and the Ahmanson Lab at the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study. Students in all USC programs benefit from participation in WG’s workshops, lectures, projects, and discussions. Past workshops have explored Mobile Augmented Reality, Immersive 3D Setting Design, and utilizing AR toolkits and platforms such as Niantic (Pokémon Go), Snap (Snapchat lenses), and others.

Graduates of the Computer Science, Interactive, Immersive Media, and  Iovine and Young Programs at University of Southern California have been hired at companies and organizations such as Boeing, Oracle, Lockheed Martin, Google, DreamWorks Animation, the U.S. Army and Navy, Tesla, Department of Homeland Security, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, Discovery+, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Walt Disney Company, Branded Entertainment Network,  Gilead Sciences, VIZIO, Yahoo, Vayu Technology, Disneyland Parks, Disneyland Resorts, United Airlines, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FORD, AT&T, Meta, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Established in 1880, University of Southern California is the largest private sector employer in Los Angeles. Serving 49,500 students, USC houses 23 schools and divisions. More than 600 graduate and professional programs are provided. The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

3. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
University of Washington

The College of Arts and Sciences at University of Washington (UW) houses the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, which introduced the world’s first augmented reality capstone course in 2016. Serving more than 2,000 students, the school also houses several computer science programs for individuals interested in studying AR/VR. Options include the Computer Science (CS) BS, a Combined BS/MS in CS also known as the Fifth Year Master’s Program, a Professional Master’s (PMP) in CS, and CS PhD. The BS/MS enables current and recent Allen School undergraduate majors to earn both degrees in approximately five years, instead of 6.5.

Course examples across programs include Advanced Topics in HCI (Graphics & Virtual Reality), Interaction Programming, Computer Vision, Special Topics: Ubiquitous Computing, Human-Computer Interaction, Computational Fabrication, Software Engineering, Advanced Topics in Digital Animation, Applications of AI, Computational Complexity, Interactive Learning, Advanced Digital Sound Synthesis and Processing  Machine Learning, and Neural Control of Movement: A Computational Perspective.

Students in all programs have the opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary team of faculty and peers in the UW Reality Lab. Launched in 2018 and housed in the Allen School, the Lab includes the Reality Studio, Reality Lab Incubator, and classes. In addition to advancing AR/VR research, Lab participants will work on projects in 3D computer vision and perception, graphics, game science and education, distributed computing, databases and computer architecture, stream processing, privacy and security, and object recognition.

Graduates of the Computer Science & Engineering Programs at University of Washington go on to establish careers at some of the world’s top companies, studios, and organizations. Examples Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, Google, Epic Software, Adobe, Disney, HBO, Pixar Animation Studios, Dell, Apple, Riot Games, Samsung, Unity Technologies, and Hulu.

Established in 1861, University of Washington serves approximately 59,725 students across campuses in Seattle (main), Bothell, and Tacoma, Washington. UW offers more than 300 programs and 570+ degree options across in 18 colleges and schools. Engineering at University of Washington is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

4. University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) sends more graduates to Silicon Valley than just about any other college in the U.S. The schools engineering and computer science programs rank among the best in the U.S., with learning that takes place in state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, and research centers.

The Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS) Department at UC Berkeley manages two undergraduate degrees through two different colleges: the BS in EECS in the College of Engineering (CoE), and the BA in Computer Science (CS) in the College of Letters & Science (L&S).

Both programs have the same technical requirements, with differing breadth requirements and admissions processes. Course examples for both programs include The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Designing Information Devices and Systems, Machine Structures, and Data Structures and Programming Methodology.

All EECS and CS students have access to the XR Lab@Berkeley—a Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality Laboratory (AR/VR/MR), the student-run Extended Reality@Berkeley (est. 2015), and the FHL Vive Center for Enhanced Reality, which sponsors research and applications in AR/VR and AI.

Collectively, the Labs and Centers at UC Berkeley train Computer Scientists and Engineers in all areas of AR/VR. The Labs also advance the field of AR/VR through development plans, actions, and state-of-art research, while bringing attention to the unlimited possibilities associated with advancements in technology.

Graduates of the CS and EECS Programs at UC Berkeley work AR/VR, AI and Machine Learning, Software Development, Computer Systems Design, Computer Vision and Robotics, Defense, Engineering, Aerospace, Production, Design, Entertainment, and Healthcare, among others. Some of the top hiring companies for UC Berkeley graduates include Apple, Tesla, Google, and Meta.

Chartered in 1868, University of California, Berkeley was named after 18th-century philosopher George Berkeley. The school serves approximately 45,310 students enrolled in more than 350 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools and dozens of academic departments. UC Berkeley has been fully accredited since 1949 and had its accreditation reaffirmed in 2015 under the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

5. University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California
University of California, San Diego

University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) houses the CSE Virtual Reality Lab (VR Lab). Launched in 2017, the Lab is designed for students interested in developing content for virtual environments. The Lab features workshops, research opportunities in the field of AR/VR, projects, and networking opportunities. The VR Lab also houses the 300+ member VR Club at UCSD. 

For students seeking a, AR/VR-related degree, UC San Diego has several degree pathways, a Minor, and Virtual Reality App Development Certificate. Provided by UCSanDiegoX, the Certificate program can be added to any degree program or taken alone. Courses include How Virtual Reality Works, Computer Graphics, and Creating Virtual Reality Apps.

Degree options are housed in Jacobs School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE). Pathways include the BS, MS, BS/MS, and PhD in Computer Science (CS). Required electives allow students to craft a focus, such as AR/VR. Undergraduates may choose seven electives worth four units each.

Graduate students may choose 16 units of electives and research, along with 12 units in a Depth Area such as Graphics and Vision, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Robotics, or AI. Programming Languages, Compilers, and Software Engineering are other options.

The MS Program also allows students to choose from three pathways: MS Plan I: Thesis; MS Plan II: Comprehensive Exam, Standard Option; and MS Plan II: Comprehensive Exam, Interdisciplinary Option. The Interdisciplinary Option provides additional opportunities to focus on a customized or available area of interest. 

CSE Department focus areas include AI, HCI, Robotics, Programming Systems, Software Engineering, and Visual Computing (Computer Graphics and Computer Vision), among others.

Across programs, other features include internship opportunities, study abroad experiences, participation in the VR Club at UC San Diego and events such the Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality Hackathon sponsored by companies such as Google, Sony, HTC, and Oculus. 

Graduates of the CS and Certificate Programs at University of California, San Diego are prepared to pursue positions such as AR/VR Developer, AR/VR Technician, XR Gameplay and Tools Engineer, Design/Graphics Engineer, Software Developer, AR/VR Maintenance and Support, and Graphics Engineer.

With a campus dating back to the late 1800s, University of California, San Diego was founded on November 18, 1960. The school enrolled its first undergraduates in 1964. Today, UC San Diego serves approximately 43,000 student enrolled in hundreds of programs across eight colleges. University of California San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

6. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) owns and operates large-scale research facilities and labs such as the Seismological Laboratory, along with a global network of astronomical observatories, including the W. M. Keck and Palomar Observatories. The school manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA as well.

One of the most technologically advanced universities in the U.S., Caltech also provides several programs for students who would like to pursue a career in AR/VR. Housed in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Computing and Mathematical Sciences Department, options include the BS, MS, and Minor in Computer Science (CS).

Course examples across programs include Advanced Digital Systems Design, Computer Graphics (including Animation, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and Modeling), Computer Language Shop, Digital Logic and Embedded Systems, GPU Programming, Machine Learning, Making Data Visual (including Virtual/Technological Media), Nonlinear Control, and Operating Systems.

Students in all CS programs have access to Caltech’s Virtual Reality Lab, which provides opportunities to create projects, conduct research, and collaborate with peers. The Lab also houses Virtech—an experimental platform for online education. Part of the Center for Data-Driven Discovery at Caltech, Virtech allows students to collaborate, network, and create their own 3D content. Caltech faculty utilize the Lab for experiments with other online technologies and learning modalities, online lectures, group meetings, discussions, and seminars.

Graduates of the Computer Science Programs at California Institute of Technology work in areas such as Technology, Aerospace, Science, Medicine, Government, Entertainment and Business. Caltech alumni have been hired at places such as Meta, SpaceX, and the National Science Foundation.

Founded as Throop University in 1891, California Institute of Technology employs 300 faculty and staff that serve approximately 2,400 students. The school, which sits on a 124-acre campus in Pasadena, California, is divided into six academic divisions including Biology and Biological Engineering; Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; Engineering and Applied Science; Geological and Planetary Sciences; Humanities and Social Sciences; and Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. California Institute of Technology is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

7. University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California
University of California, Santa Cruz

University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz or UCSC) has a number of paths to study AR/VR. The Baskin School of Engineering at UCSC houses the Computational Media Department (CM), which has BS and MS Programs in Computer Science (CS), as well as Computational Media MS and PhD programs. Students in all pathways may focus in AR/VR by selecting courses such as Introduction to Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, Programming Abstractions: Python, Advanced Computer Graphics and Animation Laboratory, Artificial Intelligence (AI), User Experience for Interactive Media, Applied Machine Learning, Game AI, Software Engineering, Computational Media Methods, Computer Systems, C Programming, and Data Programming for Visualization.

Across all programs, students will complete a variety of projects, both assigned and in their area of choice. Graduate students will complete a thesis OR additional project with written report.

All Baskin students have the opportunity to work and learn in the VizLab. Dedicated to AR/VR, VizLab provides access to high-end VR equipment that can be used to develop virtual or augmented reality content and interact with imagined worlds. Students can check out equipment such as a VIVE headset, Gear VR, Google Cardboard, 360 cameras, GoPros, DSLR cameras, video cameras, and other media capture devices. The VizLab also hosts class sessions, workshops, and project development meetings.

Another space—the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) Lab—provides the opportunity to create 3D virtual environments that allow multiple users to interact at the same time. The facility houses a room-sized, advanced visualization system (also called the CAVE), which combines high-resolution, stereoscopic projection and 3D computer graphics to create and fully immerse in virtual environments.

The CAVE Lab is also outfitted with Mechdyne CAVE and FLEX technology and adjustable walls that allow environments to be modified for different applications. The Unity development platform is used to create 3D interactive environments.

For students in other programs across UC Santa Cruz or professionals looking to develop skills in AR/VR skills may enroll in a Certificate Program through UCSC Silicon Valley Extension. Options include Software Engineering and Quality, User Experience and Web Design, and Mobile Application Development. Across options, students have access to courses such as Designing User Experience for AR, Smart Things, Virtual Reality, and Wearable Technology; Mobile Interface Design; and Data Structures and Algorithms Using Python.

Other features include hands-on projects, guest speakers, and topics such as Software Engineering, Augmented Reality - UX Design, Virtual Reality - UX/UI Design (Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR), Artificial intelligence (AI), Designing Glasses for AR, Visual Design, Design Implementation, and Interface Design. Certificate students will have a professional portfolio upon completion of their respective programs.

Graduates of the Computer Science Programs and Certificate Programs at University of California, Santa Cruz are prepared for positions such as AR/VR Developer, XR Gameplay and Tools Engineer, Software Developer, AR/VR Maintenance and Support, Senior Software Engineer, AR/VR Capture Systems Engineer, Design/Graphics Engineer, and AR/VR Researcher.

Established in 1965, University of California, Santa Cruz opened with 652 students. Today, the school serves approximately 18,980 students enrolled in more than 130 programs in the Arts, Engineering, Humanities, Physical and Biological Sciences, and Social Sciences. Programs at UC Santa Cruz are housed across 10 colleges and the Graduate Division. University of California, Santa Cruz is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

8. San Jose State University, San Jose, California
San Jose State University

San Jose State University (San Jose State or SJSU) houses several programs for students who are interested in studying AR/VR. The College of Professional and Global Education houses the School of Information (iSchool), which has a Science and Data Analytics BS (BSISDA) that explores AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and Big Data. SJSU’s College of Science (CoS) houses the Computer Science Department, which has both BS and MS degree options with heavy VR/AR related coursework.

Students in the Computer Science BS and MS programs may choose six to 12 elective units from upper or lower division courses. Elective examples include Computer Game Design and Programming, Advanced C++ Programming, Machine Learning, Computer Graphics Algorithms, Advanced programming with Python, Programming in Java, Game Studies, Computer Vision, and Advanced Practical Computing Topics.

Across all programs, students have access to courses such as Python Programming, Human Centered Design, Information Visualization, User Centered Interface Architecture, Tools Lab, Object-Oriented Design, Query Languages, The Emerging Future: Technology Issues and Trends, Software Engineering, Programming Paradigms, and Technology, Culture, and Society.

In addition to a variety of AR/VR related programs, San Jose State University houses the eCampus Immersive Learning Institute and the King Library Experiential Virtual Reality (KLEVR) Lab.

The eCampus Immersive Learning Institute focuses on AR/VR/XR technology and learning. Faculty in the program work together to explore AR/VR/XR and create immersive learning activities for courses through workshops, hands-on projects, and resources. Workshops include Building Immersive Learning Experienced, Hands-on AR/VR Exploration, Integrating AR/VR into Curriculums, and Best Practices and Showcase.

The eCampus Immersive Learning Institute at SJSU provides the opportunity for faculty to apply what they have learned to their classrooms, while helping students learn about and develop skills in AR/VR/XR.

The KLEVR Lab provides the opportunity for students to experiment and develop their own projects. The lab is equipped with Oculus Rift Business Edition, HTC Vive Business Edition, and Playstation VR; Steam and Unity with pre-installed VR games and software; and two state-of-the-art VR gaming computers and a Playstation 4 Slim for use with VR games and software. VR systems are connected to a 55-inch Samsung QLED 4K HDR TV.

Graduates of the iSchool and College of Science at San Jose State University are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as Aerospace, Internet & Software, Design, Electronic and Computer Hardware, Advertising, Government, Computer Networking, Healthcare, and Education. Top hiring companies for SJSU alumni include NASA, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, SAP America, IBM, Oracle, Intel, Amazon, Google, and Western Digital. 

Established in 1857, San Jose State University is Silicon Valley’s Public University. Serving approximately 36,000 students, the school offers more than 250 areas of study at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Programs at SJSU are housed across nine colleges and dozens of departments and schools. San Jose State University is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

9. University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
University of California Santa Barbara

University of California Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara) has several paths to study AR/VR. Programs are housed in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science or provided jointly by the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Letters. Options include BS and MS degrees in Computer Science (CS), and jointly provided MS and PhD degrees in Media Arts and Technology (MAT).

Students in all Department of Computer Science programs at US Santa Barbara have access to courses such as Mixed and Augmented Reality, Computer Graphics, Mediated Worlds: Enacting the Metaverse - Generative Worldmaking and Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Interactive Media Theory and Design, Machine Learning, Automata and Formal Languages, Transvergence Studio I-II, Python Programming, Advanced Computer Architecture, Haptics: Touch Perception, Interaction, and Engineering, Translation of Programming Languages, Software Engineering, Advanced Applications Programming, and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

The MAT MS and PhD allow students to focus in a specific area of emphasis based on their career goals and interests. Emphasis area examples include AR/VR, Visual and Spatial Arts, Multimedia Engineering, Electronic Music, and Sound Design.

Both CS and MAT students at Chapman University also have access to the UC Santa Barbara Four Eyes Lab. Part of the Department of Computer Science and the MAT Program, the Lab focuses on research in Imaging, Interaction, and Innovative Interfaces. Graduate and undergraduate students, postdocs, and visitors work in areas such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Computer Vision, Mobile and Wearable Computing, Recommender Systems, Visualization, User Interface and Human-Computer Interaction (UI/HCI), and Data Mining/Machine Learning.

Examples of current research in the Lab include Enhanced Geometric Techniques for Point Marking in Model-Free Augmented Reality; Hybrid Orbiting-to-Photos in 3D Reconstructed Visual Reality; Gesture-based Augmented Reality Annotation; Sphere in Hand: Exploring Tangible Interaction with Immersive Spherical Visualizations; and Relative Effects of Real-world and Virtual-World Latency on an Augmented Reality Training Task: An AR Simulation Experiment.

Another facility—the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior (ReCVEB)—is open to graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members. Established in the 1990s, ReCVEB was designed for the use of virtual environments in psychological research. Today, the Lab is open to all forms of VR research and projects.

Current ReCVEB research groups include Future of Interactive Technologies; Navigation and Spatial Cognition; Social Interactions and Communication; Education and Training; and Low Vision & Sight Restoration. In addition, the Center houses a 30-by-30 foot open room and a tracking system, which allows for experiments in fully immersive walking VR.

Other UC Santa Barbara labs include the RE Touch Lab (Haptics, Robotics, and VR), Systemics Lab (Robotics, Interface Design, Sustainable Computing Paradigms), and transLAB (Worldmaking + Social VR, Immersion, Performative Interactive Arts).

University of California Santa Barbara is one of the top 20 universities most likely to lead to a job in Silicon Valley. Some of the top hiring companies in Silicon Valley include Adobe, Tesla, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Gilead Sciences, HP, Amazon, Intel , Nvidia, Dell, Apple, Google, Meta, and Cisco.

Founded in 1891, University of California Santa Barbara serves approximately 26,180 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across the Colleges of Creative Studies, Engineering, and Letters & Science; Bren School of Environmental Science & Management; Gevirtz Graduate School of Education; the Graduate Division; and the Technology Management Program. UC Santa Barbara is accredited by the WASC Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC).

10. Chapman University, Orange, California
Chapman University

Chapman University provides several paths to study AR/VR including the Computer Science BS and Computer Engineering BS in the Fowler School of Engineering; the Animation and Visual Effects BFA or the Digital Media BFA in Dodge College of Film & Media Arts; and the Computational & Data Sciences MS in Schmid College of Science and Technology.

Students in all programs may add the VR and AR Minor, which consists of 15 credit hours of required courses and six credit hours of electives. Required courses include Introduction to VR and AR, Visual Programming, Storytelling in Immersive Media, Advanced VR/AR Workshop, and The Landscape of Emerging Media. Elective options include Immersive Cinematography, Spatial Audio Design, and Overview of Post-Production for Emerging Media.

Depending on the program, Chapman University students may have opportunities to intern at major companies, studios, and organizations such as Boeing, Pixar, The Aerospace Corporation, Amazon, Lockheed Martin, DreamWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Google, Blur Studio, and Disney. Chapman University graduates are often hired by many of these companies.

In addition to serge programs and internship opportunities for AR/VR students, Champman University is home to several labs and centers. Examples include the Institute for Creative Reality (ICR), the Virtual Reality/AR Club, and Noctvrnal.

Housed in Dodge College of Film & Media Arts and supported by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), the ICR focuses research and development related to virtual and augmented reality. The Virtual Reality/AR Club supports students who are interested in AR/VR by providing access to education and professional materials, designing games, and showcasing student works.

Noctvrnal provides audio services for VR/AR/MR, 360 video, installations, and location-based entertainment. Noctvrnal partners include TedxMileHigh, Embodied Labs, Light Sail VR, USC School of Cinematic Arts, Culturehub, Prosper VR, World Light, Eye Q Productions, and VRLA. The VR Club supports student projects in games, AR/VR, and other emerging technologies. The Club also hosts workshops and showcases.

Founded in 1861 as Hesperian College, Chapman University is a Business, Entertainment, and Technology college that serves approximately 10,000 students from 49 states, two territories, and 82 countries. Chapman provides 200 programs across 11 colleges and schools. Chapman University is accredited by the WASC Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC).