Game Design Certificates and Colleges

Get information on certificate programs in game design, which are offered both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. See the courses that are included, and find out what to look for when choosing a school. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Game design is a process that requires technical as well as creative skills. Those pursuing game design degrees will learn graphics programming, character design and game mechanics, as well as the mechanics of in-game physics and artificial intelligence.

Programs Undergraduate certificate programs, graduate certificate programs
Courses C++ programming, 2D design, code debugging, game mechanics, DirectX programming software, in-depth story and character development
Schools 2-year community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities

What Game Design Certificate Programs are Available?

If you have no previous experience in computer programming or design, you can enroll in an undergraduate certificate program in game design or game development. These programs can be completed over the course of multiple years or in as little as one semester.

Graduate certificate programs in game design may be completed in one year or less, and you'll typically need a bachelor's degree to enroll. If you're currently pursuing a master's degree in computer science or a related field, you might consider a earning a graduate certificate. Certificate programs may be taken in conjunction with other graduate programs or may offer transferable credits towards a master's degree.

How Can I Choose a Program and College?

Game design certificate programs vary widely in subject matter and length, so you should review prospective programs while keeping your professional goals in mind. You might prefer schools that offer courses working with specific programming software, like DirectX. Or, if you're more interested in the character side of game design, you could look for a school offering in-depth story and character development courses.

Colleges with on-site computer laboratories featuring the most modern game programming hardware and software will be the most useful. Programs that culminate in a final project or portfolio that demonstrates your design skills could be helpful for seeking employment, since you'll have a sample of your work to show employers. If you have personal or professional scheduling conflicts, you can look for a certificate program that offers distance education options through online assignments, courses and lectures.

The following are just a few of the many schools that offer game design certificates:

  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Northeastern University (Boston, MA)
  • Concord's Community College (NH)
  • American University (Washington, D.C.)
  • University of Washington (Seattle)

What Will I Study?

Game design is a technical and creative process, so most certificate programs offer instruction in both areas. Despite the differences in prerequisites for admission, you may find that undergraduate and graduate certificate programs commonly offer similar coursework. Graduate courses typically go more in-depth or offer a more advanced look at course topics; for example, you might study the basics of artificial intelligence in an undergraduate class, then explore more advanced concepts, like machine learning, in a graduate class.

You may take courses designed to teach you what makes games fun and how to shape the plot and flow of a game, as well as how to design the in-game physics. You might also cover some of the following topics:

  • C++ programming
  • Animation timing
  • 2D design
  • Code debugging
  • Graphics programming
  • Character design
  • Game mechanics
  • Marketing techniques
  • Testing procedures

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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