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Game Lab student working on laptop.

Design a New Future

Create and code your way into a new career path with a certificate in game design. It's the perfect opportunity for those who want to use games as a platform for something greater. The game design certificate program combines game design and game development, merging the strengths of the School of Communication and College of Arts and Sciences. It is crafted to develop the intellectual capacity of students as designers, developers, critics, and leaders.

Game design certificate students bring to the program their own experiences and passions — politics, science, art, history, international studies — and marry them to game design skills and concepts to develop new approaches to business challenges.

Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers, Washington, DC, offers game design master’s students unparalleled access to private and public sector opportunities. 

Take advantage of institutional relationships with government agencies, locally based companies, and not-for-profits alike. Clients you may contract with include the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), and WAMU 88.5.  

Connect through renowned DC-held events, such as Indie Arcade at the Smithsonian Museum, Global Game Jam, Games+, and more. 

Whether your next career step is local or global, you’ll gain the skills and network you need to succeed.

With more than $60 billion in annual revenue, the game industry is bigger than Hollywood and almost surpasses the music industry.

The industry is constantly growing and shifting in different directions. Here are some quick facts about the gaming industry you might not know about:

  • At least 155 million Americans play video games!
  • The video game industry made 2.5 billion dollars in revenue in 2015.
  • There is a projected 30% increase in employment for game designed careers for 2018.
  • 23 game companies call the Washington, DC area home

The certificate in game design is focused on understanding how to leverage the power of games. 

The required courses for the program are: Games and Society; Game Research Methods; Game Development; and, Games and Rhetoric. Beyond that, students are able to augment their certificate with 3 credit hours of electives that can come from game or non-game courses.

Complete Certificate and Course Requirements

Purple and blue computer and video game consoles over a white background.

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AU Game Lab Student Brings Avatars to Life for ETS

It's really about freedom and critical thinking.

During the summer of 2017, MA in Game Design student Kirby Cofino interned with the DIAMONDS research group in the San Francisco office of Educational Testing Service (ETS) on a speech system called HALEF, a "multimodal dialogue system." It's a computer program that allows a person to talk to a computer, and the computer responds. Cofino’s role in the development of HALEF was to create 3D virtual human avatars that synced up with the computer’s responses.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no typical Game Lab student! Students bring their unique backgrounds and passions to the program, having addressed diverse topics such as mental health, social justice, journalism, politics, money management, and advertising. The program can lend itself to your particular area of interest.

You do not need to have a background in coding to become a Game Lab student, just a love for games and the desire to learn.

The Certificate in Game Design is a shorter program, typically attainable in only one year and offering a more flexible class schedule for the working professional. The MA program is a full-time, two year Master's program offering students a robust foundation for pursuing a career in game design or development.

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