Do you know you can learn to drive without having to use a real car? Yes, this is now possible due to computerized simulations that let us use our senses and skills to interact with a 2D or 3D environment in real time. It is an innovative technology, which is very helpful to understand a lot of concepts and acquire practical skills. Simulations have wide applications and they are being used in business, manufacturing, medical, law enforcement and education. If you find simulations interesting, you can get proper education by completing a degree in the field. Simulation degrees have a strong focus on areas such as science, engineering, and computer sciences. They range from associate to doctorate level. Following are the details of each level of degree offered in the field.
The associate’s degree in simulation combines various topics such as simulation, gaming, graphics, game development, and game technology. You would learn various skills such as modeling, programming language, design, and development. With an associate’s degree, you would prepare yourself for entry level jobs in programming and game development. Although, curriculum may differ from one school to another, some major courses offered in the program include multimedia, simulation programming, game simulation, and game development and design. Some entry level career options after completing an associate degree include graphics programmer, junior game programmer, and quality assurance specialist.
Bachelor's Degree in Simulation Programming
You would find bachelor’s degree programs in areas such as game development and modeling and simulation programming technology. Some important topics covered in the degree program include animation, software design, application architecture, and game algorithms. The duration of the program may vary among schools but most schools offer a program that takes two to four years to complete. Some schools also have different tracks which allow students to select their own primary and secondary specialties. The coursework in the bachelor’s degree emphasizes on sciences, English, and advanced math required for simulation programming. Students also study various programming languages. Before graduation, students are required to complete a capstone project, which enables them to combine the knowledge they have gained throughout the program. Some important courses offered in the program include information assurance, operating systems, web systems and networking, data structures, algorithms and trigonometry, C, C++ and UNIX, and 3D programming. After completing the bachelor’s degree in simulation, you may find jobs such as gaming software programmer, level designer, game systems developer or analyst.
Master's Degree in Simulation Programming
If you are planning on getting the master’s degree in simulation programming, you would come across courses that cover advanced theories in game design, interactive design and management, and behavior modeling. The master’s degree is generally available in modeling and simulation or game design and simulation. With the degree, you acquire skills that are important for research, senior positions in gaming industry, and teaching. Besides, the program prepares students to work in the education sector and government institutions. For admissions, you would need to have a bachelor’s degree. It is preferable that students have the bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, engineering, or physical science. In addition, students may need to pass an admission test and meet the minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement. As these programs focus on areas such as advanced research and simulation skills in game development, the curriculum includes courses such as artificial intelligence, real time simulations programming, integrated product development in modeling and simulation, and gaming and education.
PhD in Simulation
PhD programs in simulation offer interdisciplinary post-graduate education and are for those students who have strong backgrounds in computers and mathematics. The degree leads you to careers where you would need to develop advanced simulation tools and computational modeling. Most programs offer a solid research experience to students and help them explore new aspects and stay aware of the real world application of their education. Some important topics covered in the program include advanced computational techniques, data intensive science, and mathematical modeling. These programs allow students to conduct simulation research in various disciplines such as social science and engineering. Initially, the students acquire core research skills and develop a research plan to start new research work in the field. After the initial stage, students complete advanced level courses such as data intensive science, mathematical modeling, and high performance computing. Besides, they get special training in modern simulation techniques. Students also get the opportunity to use their creative skills and create simulations and computer programs with extremely useful practical applications.
How to select an online simulation school?
If you are planning on getting an online education in simulation, you would need to keep in mind certain factors that may have a lot of impact on your education and career. Some important factors are mentioned below.
A key factor in online education is the accreditation of the online school. Since, there is a large variety of online schools offering degrees in various disciplines, it is recommended that you only select a school that is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. A degree from an accredited school is much more likely to lead to better career prospects, as it will follow the quality standards required by the employers.
Like campus based programs, online programs in simulation have certain admission requirements. Students would need to have a strong background in mathematics. Many graduate programs may require students to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, or a field related to simulation. Although, most schools do not require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, students need to demonstrate their ability in calculus, computer science, and advanced statistics.
Another important factor to consider in the selection of an online school is the concentrations offered in the field. Since, modeling and simulation have wide application, online programs are offered with different areas of focus. You would need to do a bit of homework to find out the school that offers your preferred area. Generally, areas of concentration include health and medicine, engineering and science, and homeland security and defense.
Research and Certification
Many online simulation schools offer students opportunities for research and certification. These online schools associate themselves with different organizations to give their students practical simulation experience in various areas such as healthcare training and disaster management. Some schools are also associated with Modeling and Simulation Professional Certification Commission (M&SPCC), a group that offers national certifications to simulation professionals. When you are selecting an online school, it is preferable that you select a school that offers you research opportunities and prepares you for certifications in simulation.