A system, method and computer program product are provided for branching during programmable processing utilizing a graphics application program interface in conjunction with a hardware graphics pipeline. Initially, a first instruction defined by the graphics application program interface is identified. A first operation is performed on graphics data based on the first instruction utilizing the hardware graphics pipeline. Any some point, the present technique may involve branching to an additional instruction defined by the graphics application program interface other than a subsequent sequential instruction. Next, another operation is performed on the graphics data based on the additional instruction utilizing the hardware graphics pipeline.