I am a software engineer by profession, and a chess enthusiast (around 1600 rated). I would like to know is there any professional university certified course like Masters etc. in chess?

Can someone opt for Chess as a means of getting Ph.D or do some research in it?

You can tell me answers like becoming titled players is the same as that, but i am talking about academic university level course.

Is yes, it is there? Can someone post me a link to that?

  • 5
    I have also never heard of a PhD in wrestling or baseball. – Tony Ennis Dec 3 '12 at 3:43
  • 3
    @TonyEnnis: Wrestling or baseball is different from chess. Chess involves search-depth, tree pruning algorithms, BFS-DFS algorithms and more others. So there is more scope of research in chess than in Wrestling or baseball. – RajSanpui Dec 3 '12 at 11:07
  • 1
    @kingsmasher1 those are topics in CS and game theory, not "chess theory". – hobbs Sep 30 '14 at 0:55

There are a couple that come to mind, but I am not sure of the present status of them:

Texas Tech has SPICE (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) founded by Susan Polgar and is the first chess institute of it's kind in the world.

Aberdeen University in Scotland was preparing to launch the world's first doctoral program in Chess.

As far as research goes, you can research anything you want about chess, but keep in mind that one normally does not research chess alone, but researches things build up to chess. By things, I might mean certain data structures or algorithms that are found in chess software. Other avenues of research can be explored besides the technical part of it as well.

Equating a chess title to a degree title is too subjective.

  • 1
    Good post - one small note, SPICE recently (this school year) moved to Webster University in St. Louis. – Andrew Dec 3 '12 at 4:50
  • The linked news article about Aberdeen's proposed doctoral program in chess is dated 2001, and I can't find a web footprint for such a program now. I guess it never actualized? – ETD Dec 3 '12 at 5:50
  • @Andrew - Good to know. I couldn't find much on it. – xaisoft Dec 3 '12 at 14:49
  • @EdDean - Yeah, I found some website that looked like the official site, but it was horrid on the eyes. – xaisoft Dec 3 '12 at 14:49
  • 1
    But if you research data structures and algorithms that are applied to solving chess problems isn't that more computer science than chess? – Akavall Dec 3 '12 at 15:40

The nearest thing I can think of is a Sports Sciences (Masters) Degree. See here for an example. On a quick website recognition, I haven't found any specialised on chess. But then you can complete your background with some chess-related course, work or volunteering.

Then, if you are interested in pursuing a PhD I can think of many areas you could address:

  • psychological aspects of the game (but much work has already been done there)
  • pedagogical methods to teach the game (with a background in software engineering I could suggest research in computer-based pedagogical or training methods)
  • health (and mental health) benefits of playing chess
  • physical training and nutrition of professional chess players (which is the best way to keep them strong enough to play through an important tournament at the best of their capacities)
  • whatever you can think of ;-) (with the condition you win a suitable PhD grant)

But with a Masters in software engineering you could also make a PhD on computer chess or mathematical aspects of the game!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.