The game design certificate is a 19-credit program jointly offered by the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Art, and Computer Sciences. It is designed to empower students with the skills, understanding, and background to create and produce games independently, to develop a body of work, and to gain critical perspectives on games and game design. The certificate will focus on game design in the general sense: creating, testing, and understanding how to design gameplay to be fun and impactful, across board games, video games, gamification, and even classrooms.

Interested students may wish to consult with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office, 139 Education Building, 608-262-1651, to discuss course sequencing, applying and other issues related to this field of study. Current students can schedule a Student Services appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW.

Declaration Process

To be eligible to declare the Game Design Certificate, students must complete two courses prior to submitting a certificate declaration. One course is required of all prospective certificate students:

CURRIC 277 Videogames & Learning3
The second course may be selected by the student from the following options:
ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms3
COMP SCI 200 Programming I3
COMP SCI 300 Programming II3
Students meeting the eligibility criteria who intend to complete the Game Design Certificate may find the declaration form on the School of Education's Certificate Programs page. The declaration for this certificate program can be submitted at any time during the calendar year.

Requirements of this 19-credit certificate program include both required and elective coursework. All coursework must be taken for a letter grade. If completing the entire certificate as an undergraduate student, at least 10 credits of the certificate must be earned in residence at UW–Madison. Students finishing the certificate as University Special Students must earn at least 12 credits of the certificate in residence at UW-Madison. A maximum of two classes may be taken as a Special Student to complete the certificate.

Students must have an overall 2.5 GPA in Game Design Certificate coursework upon completion of the certificate.

Certificate Requirements

Required Courses
CURRIC 277 Videogames & Learning3
CURRIC 357 Game Design I3
CURRIC 432 Game Design II3
ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms3
Computer Science Elective
Select one of the following:3
Programming I
Programming II
Art Elective
Select one of the following:4
Digital Imaging Studio
3D Digital Studio I
3D Digital Studio II
Total Credits19

Certificate Completion Requirement

This certificate is intended to be completed in the context of an undergraduate degree and for those seeking this certificate that is preferred. For students who have substantially completed this certificate at UW–Madison (at least 12 credits) and may need one or two courses to complete the certificate, they may do so immediately after completion of the bachelor’s degree by enrolling in the course as a University Special (nondegree) student. The certificate must be completed within a year of completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students should keep in mind that University Special students have the last registration priority and that may limit availability of desired courses. Financial aid is not available when enrolled as a University Special student to complete an undergraduate certificate. 

  1. Utilize the design and technical skills necessary to create games.
  2. Discuss the critical and theoretical perspectives necessary to understand the production and reception contexts in/for which they design such games.

Information about faculty, staff, and other contributions to the certificate in game design can be found on the certificate's website.