Turn Gaming Passion Into a Profession
Next start date
October 10, 2017
If you grew up obsessed with board, card and video games, becoming a professional game designer might be your dream job. But being an avid gamer isn’t enough of a credential to break into the industry. You’ll need to show that you have specific knowledge of game systems and game design, as well as broader awareness of the development process and how major game studios operate.
In this three-course certificate program, we’ll examine the key principles of modern game design. You’ll learn about focus groups; balance and playtest different types of games; and explore the factors that engage players and keep them coming back for more. Prepare to play an important role in this exciting, rapidly expanding field.
Designers, developers, entrepreneurs and those who want to enter or advance in the game industry.
If you're not a native English speaker, you’ll need to have at least basic English language skills to enroll. To learn more, see English Language Proficiency Requirements.
To enroll, international students must have a visa that permits study in the United States. This program does not enable students to obtain or maintain F-1 visa status. For more information, see Admission Requirements for International Students.
You must have access to a computer, and we recommend a high-speed internet connection.
You earn the certificate by successfully completing all required courses. For more information, see Completing Your Program.
Complete the courses listed below to earn the certificate. You may be able to take individual courses without enrolling in the certificate program; check the course pages for details.
Fundamentals of Game Design
Game Mechanics & Systems Design
Game Studio Roles & Development
Certificate in Game Design
Approved by the UW Bothell School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics and developed in partnership with the UW Bothell Digital Future Lab.
View this program's advisory board.
Each of our programs uses an advisory board to review content, guide design and recommend updates to ensure the program remains current as the field of study evolves. By tapping the minds of the top thinkers, doers and leaders in the field, we offer a transformational learning experience. The following individuals serve as the advisory board for this program.
Erik Bansleben, Director, UW Professional & Continuing Education
Scott Berfield, Executive Producer, UW Bothell Center for Serious Play
Rovy Branon, Vice Provost, University of Washington Continuum College
Carolyn Brennan, Assistant Vice Chancellor, UW Bothell
Andy Collins, Lead Story Designer, Secret Identity Studios
Skaff Elias, Vice President, Three Donkeys LLC
Richard Garfield, President, Three Donkeys, LLC
Wanda Gregory, Director, UW Bothell Center for Serious Play
Stephen van Horn, Principal, Dutchman Games
Barbara Mones, Creative Director, UW Animation Research Labs
Alex St. John, president & CTO, Hi5
Brian Tinsman, Senior Game Design Managers, Wizards of the Coast
Jordan Weisman, CEO, GoGo Kiddo
Attend classes part time at one of our convenient locations in the Puget Sound region. You’ll engage face to face with your classmates and instructors as part of a highly interactive curriculum. Learn More »
Download the application form (PDF)
Apply online, or submit an application packet that includes:
We’re currently accepting applications and will be reviewing them in the order they’re received. We’ll accept applications until the program closes.
We’ll contact you within two weeks of receiving your application materials to let you know if you’ve been accepted to the program.
If you’re accepted, we’ll send you details about your first-term course, including information on paying your course fee. Your course fee is due four weeks before the first class.
With the exception of the one-time application fee, certificate program fees are charged on a quarterly basis. Payment is due when you register.
Course fees do not include any costs for class materials such as textbooks and software.
Drops, Withdrawals & Refunds
If you’re thinking about heading back to school, you’re probably also wondering how you’ll pay for it. To help you figure that out, we’ve put together a list of ways to help fund your education.
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