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Junior Transfers

General Information for Junior Transfers

Students transferring into the program from outside of UC Santa Cruz can do so for their Junior year.

In prepartion for transfer to AGPM, students are advised to:

  1. Complete programming courses at your community college that are equivalent to Computer Science 12B/M at UCSC. Use to view articulation agreements.
  2. Take art, design, and game design courses to be able to submit a portfolio that demonstrates the ability to succeed within the major.
  3. Complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) to satisfy freshman/sophomore level general education requirements before transferring.


Click here to make a copy of this planner in your Google Drive.

More information on the portfolio submission and evaluation processes below.

Portfolio Submission Details

After completing their application to UCSC, all junior transfer students applying to AGPM must pass a highly competitive portfolio review to be accepted into the major.

This year we are waiving the portfolio requirement for applicants who meet the following criteria:
- A minimum grade of C (2.0) in courses articulated to UCSC’s Computer Science (CMPS) 12B/M, Introduction to Data Structures/Lab course.


- A minimum grade of C (2.0) in two studio art or game design courses.
If you meet these criteria, please email transcripts to me directly for review and confirmation. Transcripts must be received by 11:59pm on April 1st, 2018.

The portfolio includes basic contact information, a written summary statement, a link to an online portfolio of supporting materials, and a complete set of transcripts from a community college.

The portfolio is submitted via this online form:
For entry into the program in Fall of 2018, a completed portfolio submission and emailed transcripts must be received by 11:59pm on April 1, 2018. Applicants will be notified of the committee's decision on their portfolio prior to the May 1, 2018 Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) deadline for UCSC.

Questions? Please contact Juan Morales-Rocha, AGPM Adviser - || 831.459.1554

*Please note - The portfolio review is a separate process from the general UCSC application. Acceptance into UCSC does not guarantee acceptance into AGPM, and passing the portfolio review does not guarantee acceptance into UCSC. Students who do not pass the portfolio review (even if accepted to UCSC) will not be eligible to take AGPM classes at UCSC during the academic year and must declare another major by their second quarter.

Required Portfolio Materials

Submit the following via the online submission form:

  1. Basic Information
    • Full Name
    • Address
    • Phone
    • Email
    • UCSC Student ID Number
    • Name of Community College you have attended / are attending
  2. Written Summary Statement 
    We require a thorough artist’s statement that answers the following questions:
    • Why do you want to pursue this major, specifically?
    • What kinds of games have inspired you?
    • What kinds of games do you wish to make?
    • How does your work demonstrate this intent?
  3. Link to online portfolio of supporting materials
    Supporting materials must be hosted online. A link to the site is included on the application form. The materials may include:
    • Samples of fine art drawing and painting of characters, environments and objects for game design ideas
    • Storyboards that communicate a narrative or user experience flow
    • Prototypes (paper or digital) that demonstrate knowledge of how games are constructed and how game designs work
    • Completed games (digital or non-digital) that can be experienced directly

      All prototypes and portfolio materials must include a corresponding short description that details the creative intention of the prototype, what the desired gameplay experience was, and whether or not it is successful as a game, and why.

      NOTE: Not all prototypes are successful. As game design is iterative, you may have learned something quite valuable from a prototype, even if it did not meet your expected goals when complete. We encourage you to submit such work with adequate explanation, to demonstrate your ability to learn from, and process failure.

  4. A complete set of transcripts, submitted via email
    Please submit copies of transcripts from all colleges you have attended or are attending to the AGPM adviser via email. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable, as long as the name of the college in on the transcript. We cannot obtain the transcripts you submitted to the UCSC Admissions Office. 

How To Create a Successful Portfolio

The Portfolio Review Committee is looking for candidates who give evidence of strong promise in the field of the Game Design. When evaluating your portfolio and statement, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the documentation of the work communicate its quality?
  • Is the statement clear? Does it touch on all the topics requested above?
  • Does the application communicate skill and commitment?

The written statement is considered an important part of the portfolio. Evaluation is based upon signs of a student’s potential for joining theory and practice in his or her designs and creative activity. While criteria for evaluation are difficult to measure in art practices, the written statement helps provide a basis for evaluation.

The Portfolio Review committee is looking for students who demonstrate skill, personal direction, ambition, commitment and attention to detail. As such, your website/online portfolio should introduce your work (images, videos and game prototypes) in a clear and well-presented manner, with high-quality images and thorough documentation. 

Details or close-ups may be helpful when documenting physical prototypes, or work where the surface is important. Concise one-page overviews are helpful when describing the rules, behavior and experience of a game system. Diagrams and screen flows may be helpful when describing intended gameplay experience, as is photography of players as they interact with your game. In order to develop the strongest application possible, it is useful to consult with an expert (such as a professor working in this area, or student who has already passed the review).

Portfolios Should:

  • Show a range of work (games, art, documentation)
  • Focus on quality (as opposed to quantity)
  • Show attention to use of materials and processes
  • Provide evidence of exploration in design and concept 
  • Show thought given to the generation & execution of work
  • Show the ability to learn by prototyping and playtesting games.

Portfolios Should Not:

  • Include work of low quality/completion
  • Include high school work

Portfolio Evaluation Criteria

In order to select its students, the AGPM Program Faculty appoints a Portfolio Review committee staffed by faculty who are expert in their respective fields. This committee reviews applications from transfer students. The objective of the committee is to admit students who demonstrate, as evidenced in their portfolio, statement, and community college performance, that their intentions and achievements are most compatible with the mission, standards, goals, and specializations of the AGPM BA.

In general, the art, prototypes and documentation on your web site are of primary interest to the committee. The committee expects these materials to be adequately documented and to be carefully and clearly presented. When disagreements and uncertainties arise in the visual materials or prototypes, and the potential of the applicant in our program is uncertain, added weight is given to written materials (statements, documentation of designs, and demonstration of play experience (photographic, video or narrative). Thus a determination is made.

What does the Portfolio Review committee look for?

The committee is looking for vitality, commitment, resilience and skill, or signs of potential for the development of these things.

  • VITALITY: By “vitality” we mean we want to see evidence that the student is excited by the work. We want to see evidence of this quality in the work itself, as well as the written statements that pertain to it.
  • COMMITMENT: By “commitment” we mean that we want to see that students have invested themselves in certain ideas, ways of doing things, or ways of conceptualizing their creative work, and evidence of a willingness deliver work with a high degree of polish and consistency. We also want to get a sense that students can exert judgment about their own work – that they can tell good from bad in their own work, and can incorporate the feedback of players and other observers to make their work better.
  • SKILL: By “skill” we mean that the student demonstrates a level of technical ability in both Art and Computer Science, and that the student does not require remedial work that cannot be provided by the department.
  • RESILIANCE: By “resilience” we mean that we want to see that the student is capable of learning by exploring and iterating on individual concepts. This is best shown by describing the development of a game or prototype from concept to completion – documenting places where expectations with respect the playable outcome were met, failed to be met, or were exceeded.

We wish you the best of luck in constructing your portfolio, and look forward to it’s prompt and complete submission.

For more information, please contact:
Juan Morales-Rocha, Undergraduate Advisor, AGPM / 831-459-1554