Professional Certificate in Game Design

Unlock future-ready skills to build a career in game design

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Course Dates

STARTS ON

May 22, 2024

Course Duration

DURATION

6 months, online
15–20 hours per week

Course Fee
Course Fee

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Prerequisites: Participants should have experience with basic coding concepts. Some assignments require the use of the Unity game engine (C#). Links to tutorials in Unity are provided.

Elevate Your Approach to Game Design

The worldwide games market is poised for growth on all fronts. With smartphones making games more accessible and innovative applications emerging in fields such as education and training, the global gaming market is projected to reach $340 billion by 2027. Tabletop games are enjoying a renaissance of their own, with the market expected to reach $30.93 billion by 2028 — more than twice its current value.

With this growth comes a demand for game design professionals who have a more sophisticated understanding of the field. Today’s designers must not only be able to design, develop, and launch games that foster connection and resonate with a diverse audience — they must also know how to scope projects, manage products, and work effectively with teams.

If you are looking to break into game design or advance in the field, the Professional Certificate in Game Design from MIT xPRO will give you the knowledge and skills you need to navigate the challenges of today’s game industry and prepare you to create games for the future.

$340 billion

The value of the global gaming market by 2027

Source: Mordor Intelligence

$93,926

The average salary for lead game designers in the U.S.

Source: Payscale

Who Is This Program For?

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Recent graduates or postgraduates

in fields such as information technology (IT), information technology-enabled services (ITeS), technology, or game development who are aiming to start a career in game design by demonstrating their capabilities through a program designed by renowned faculty from the MIT Game Lab

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Early career game professionals

looking to expand their career opportunities by gaining exposure to game design as a way to advance in a fast-growing field

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Creative professionals

such as graphic or UX designers, sound engineers, production artists, or art directors who have a passion for games of any type and wish to build upon their creative backgrounds to break into the game design industry

Prepare for These Future Job Titles:

  • Content Designer
  • Game Programmer
  • Narrative Designer
  • User Experience Designer
  • Game Designer
  • User Interface Designer
  • Level Designer
  • Producer

Program Highlights

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Distinguish yourself with a certificate from MIT xPRO, and earn 36 continuing education units (CEUs)

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Gain insights from MIT Game Lab instructors and industry experts

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Compile a Game Diary, a portfolio of your work you can share with potential employers

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Complete a capstone project by applying your knowledge and skills to develop a functional game

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Receive one-on-one career support from Emeritus and introductions to hiring partners for eligible participants

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the intricacies of game design by gaining in-depth knowledge of every stage
  • Learn how to communicate effectively with a game design team by clearly outlining your vision and correctly scoping projects
  • Future-proof your career by learning how to design games of tomorrow that are culturally responsive and accessible to all
  • Demonstrate your skills to potential employers by creating a Game Diary, a portfolio that highlights your expertise
  • Learn from MIT expert instructors who actively practice game design and conduct research in MIT's Game Lab

Program Topics

This program is organized into four parts, all focused on the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s game design market.

Part 1:

The Foundations of Game Design

Learn the fundamentals of game design, learn how to analyze game mechanics and complex game systems, and re-create a game prototype in Tabletopia.

  • The Territory of Game Design
  • Games, Rules, and Players
  • Play Communities
  • Building Blocks of Game Design
  • Modes of Interaction
  • Emergent Behavior

Part 2:

Tabletop and Low Fidelity Prototyping

Explore the intricacies of game design, including ideation methodologies, playtesting cycles, and prototyping, and learn how to design a game for impact.

  • Choice and Chance
  • Ideation and Concepts
  • Fundamentals of Prototyping
  • Playtesting and Iteration
  • Usability
  • Cultural Responsibility

Part 3:

Using a Game Engine

Learn strategies for navigating the nuances of today’s market. Then, discover industry best practices that will help you confront common design challenges.

  • Inclusivity and Accessibility
  • Digital Prototyping in Teams
  • Development Practices
  • Game Feel
  • Project Scoping
  • Opening the Black Box

Part 4:

Putting It All Together

Hear industry perspectives on starting a business, game development, and sound design. Then, prepare a pitch and put your learning into practice by designing a game in a final capstone project.

  • Demonstrating Game Ideas
  • Business of Games
  • Industry Voices I
  • Industry Voices II
  • Designing a Game I
  • Designing a Game II

Part 1:

The Foundations of Game Design

Learn the fundamentals of game design, learn how to analyze game mechanics and complex game systems, and re-create a game prototype in Tabletopia.

  • The Territory of Game Design
  • Games, Rules, and Players
  • Play Communities
  • Building Blocks of Game Design
  • Modes of Interaction
  • Emergent Behavior

Part 3:

Using a Game Engine

Learn strategies for navigating the nuances of today’s market. Then, discover industry best practices that will help you confront common design challenges.

  • Inclusivity and Accessibility
  • Digital Prototyping in Teams
  • Development Practices
  • Game Feel
  • Project Scoping
  • Opening the Black Box

Part 2:

Tabletop and Low Fidelity Prototyping

Explore the intricacies of game design, including ideation methodologies, playtesting cycles, and prototyping, and learn how to design a game for impact.

  • Choice and Chance
  • Ideation and Concepts
  • Fundamentals of Prototyping
  • Playtesting and Iteration
  • Usability
  • Cultural Responsibility

Part 4:

Putting It All Together

Hear industry perspectives on starting a business, game development, and sound design. Then, prepare a pitch and put your learning into practice by designing a game in a final capstone project.

  • Demonstrating Game Ideas
  • Business of Games
  • Industry Voices I
  • Industry Voices II
  • Designing a Game I
  • Designing a Game II
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Career Preparation and Guidance

Game designers or those in a related role need both hard and soft skills to succeed. This program offers you guidance for navigating your career path, from crafting your elevator pitch to perfecting your interview skills. These services are provided by Emeritus, our learning collaborator for this program. The program support team includes program leaders who will help you reach your learning goals. The primary goal is to give you the skills necessary to be prepared for a job in this field; however, job placement is not guaranteed.

Career guidance in this program includes:

  • Navigating your job search
  • Preparing for interviews
  • Negotiating your salary
  • Crafting your elevator pitch
  • Optimizing your LinkedIn profile
  • Writing resumes and cover letters

Exercises specific to building your game design career include:

  • Building your personal brand and promoting your skills
  • Understanding the roles and workflow of game design
  • Job searching and interviewing for game design or related positions
  • Communicating game design concepts through a capstone project
  • Reflecting on your skills to determine how to solve problems and become an efficient leader

Program Instructors

Profile picture of Program Instructors, Philip Tan

Philip Tan

Research Scientist, MIT Game Lab

Philip Tan teaches courses in game design and production at MIT. His research translates the joy of expert challenge in scientific, professional, and competitive fields into playful forms that are accessible to anyone... More info

Profile picture of Program Instructors, Mikael Jakobsson

Mikael Jakobsson

Research Scientist, MIT Game Lab

Mikael Jakobsson’s interest in game development began in the 1980s, the age of early home computers. With a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and a Master’s in Informatics, he went on to write his dissertation on social interaction design in virtual worlds... More info

Guest Speakers

Profile picture of Guest Speakers, Heather Albano

Heather Albano

Senior Narrative Designer, Deep Silver Volition, Freelance Fiction Writer

Profile picture of Guest Speakers, Eitan Glinert

Eitan Glinert

Founder and President, Fire Hose Games

Profile picture of Guest Speakers, Richard Ludlow

Richard Ludlow

Audio Director and Cofounder, Hexany Audio

Profile picture of Guest Speakers, Jessica “Jynnie” Tang

Jessica “Jynnie” Tang

Product Manager and Game Developer, Multiverse

Certificate

Certificate

Get recognized! Upon successful completion of this program, MIT xPRO grants a certificate of completion to participants and 36 CEUs. This program is graded as pass or fail. Participants must receive 75% to pass and obtain the certificate of completion.

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FAQs

  • How do I know whether this program is right for me?

    After reviewing the information on the program landing page, we recommend you submit the short form above to gain access to the program brochure, which includes more in-depth information. If you still have questions on whether this program is a good fit for you, please email learner.success@emeritus.org, and a dedicated program advisor will follow up with you very shortly.


    Are there any prerequisites for this program?

    Some programs do have prerequisites, particularly the more technical ones. This information will be noted on the program landing page and in the program brochure. If you are uncertain about program prerequisites and your capabilities, please email us at learner.success@emeritus.org for assistance.


    What are the requirements to earn a certificate?

    This is a graded program. You must complete a combination of individual assignments, quizzes, and a final project. Each component carries a certain number of points, and a cumulative score of 75 percent is required to pass and obtain your professional certificate.


    Will I be guaranteed a job upon completion of the program?

    The primary objective of this program is to give you the skills you need to be prepared for a job in this field. While eligible participants will receive career coaching and support and may receive introductions to our hiring partners, job placement is not guaranteed.

  • How much time will I be expected to devote to this program?

    Each program includes an estimated learner effort per week. This is referenced at the top of the program landing page under the “Duration” section and in the program brochure, which you can obtain by submitting the short form at the top of this web page.


    How will I spend my time in this program?

    You will divide your learning time between viewing recorded coding demos, and video lectures, contributing to class discussions, completing assignments, projects, and knowledge checks, and attending optional live sessions with industry experts and program leaders.


    How is the program administered? Can the program be accessed any time?

    The program is accessed through the custom learning portal. This portal will give you access to all program-related content such as video lectures, assignments, and discussions. Live office hours will be conducted using a webinar tool.

    The video lectures and assignments are accessible weekly throughout the program. In the event you miss a live session, a recording will be made available.


    Do I need to attend live sessions every week?

    Faculty video lectures are recorded, allowing you to watch these on your own schedule. However, participation in optional live sessions and discussion boards is highly encouraged. Live sessions will give you the opportunity to draw on the coding experience of our industry-experienced program leaders to answer your questions and help reach your learning goals. The discussion boards are also an integral part of the learning experience, giving you and your peers the opportunity to learn together and receive guidance from the moderators.


    Can I download the program videos?

    You can download video transcripts, assignment templates, readings, etc. However, the video lectures are only available for streaming and require an internet connection.


    How do I interact with other program participants?

    You can communicate with other participants through our learning platform. You will be able to form groups based on your interests and location. A direct messaging feature is also available through the platform.


    What is it like to learn online with the learning collaborator, Emeritus?

    More than 300,000 learners across 200 countries have chosen to advance their skills with Emeritus and its educational learning partners. In fact, 90 percent of the respondents of a recent survey across all our programs said that their learning outcomes were met or exceeded.

    All the contents of the course would be made available to students at the commencement of the course. However, to ensure the program delivers the desired learning outcomes the students may appoint Emeritus to manage the delivery of the program in a cohort-based manner the cost of which is already included in the overall course fee of the course.

    A dedicated program support team is available 24/5 (Monday to Friday) to answer questions about the learning platform, technical issues, or anything else that may affect your learning experience.


    What is the relationship between Emeritus and MIT xPRO?

    Emeritus and MIT xPRO collaborate to create and deliver educational programs. None of these programs are Title IV-eligible.

  • What are the requirements to earn the certificate?

    Each program includes an estimated learner effort per week, so you can gauge what is required before you enroll. This is referenced at the top of the program landing page under the “Duration” section and in the program brochure, which you can obtain by submitting the short form at the top of this web page. All programs are designed to fit into your working life.

    This program is scored as a pass or no-pass; participants must complete the required activities to pass and obtain the certificate of completion. Some programs include a final project submission or other assignments to obtain passing status. This information will be noted in the program brochure. Please contact us at learner.success@emeritus.org if you need further clarification of any specific program requirements.


    What type of certificate will I receive?

    Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a smart digital certificate. The smart digital certificate can be shared with friends, family, schools, or potential employers. You can use it on your cover letter, résumé, and/or display it on your LinkedIn profile.

    The digital certificate will be sent approximately two weeks after the program, once grading is complete.


    Can I get the hard copy of the certificate?

    No, only verified digital certificates will be issued upon successful completion. This allows you to share your credentials on social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.


    Do I receive alumni status after completing this program?

    No, there is no alumni status granted for this program. In some cases, there are credits that count toward a higher level of certification. This information will be clearly noted in the program brochure.


    How long will I have access to the learning materials?

    You will have access to the learning platform and all program materials (videos excluded) for one full year following the program end date. Access to the learning platform is restricted to registered participants per the terms of agreement.

  • What equipment is needed or the technical requirements for this program?

    To successfully complete this course/program(me) online, you must have access to a device meeting the minimum requirements, found here. In addition, Microsoft Office or similar product and a PDF viewer are required to access documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files, and transcripts in all programs. Technical programs might have additional tech requirements. Please check the learning platform on the first day of class.


    Do I need to be online to access the program content?

    Yes, the learning platform is accessed via the internet and video content is not available for download. You can download files of video transcripts, assignment templates, readings, etc. Video lectures must be streamed via the internet and webinars and small group sessions will require an internet connection.

  • What is the program fee for the program, and what forms of payment do you accept?

    The program fee is shown at the top of this page and payment must be made in US dollars only.

    Flexible payment options, group enrollment benefits, and referral bonus are available.

    Tuition assistance may be available for participants who qualify. Please contact your program advisor to discuss.


    What if I don’t have a credit card? Is there another mode of payment accepted?

    Yes, you can do the bank remittance in USD via wire transfer. Please contact your program advisor for more details.


    Is there an option to make flexible payments for this program?

    Yes flexible payment options are available for this program. We partner with loan providers to offer you flexible and transparent loan options. More information about loan financing is available here. Installment payments are also available—; you can find the options here.


    Does the program fee include taxes? Are there any additional fees?

    Yes, the program fee is inclusive of any taxes with the exception of GST for Singapore residents.


    Who will be collecting the payment for the program?

    Emeritus collects all program payments, provides learner enrollment and program support, and manages learning platform services.

  • What is the program refund and deferral policy?

    For the program refund and deferral policy, please click the here.

Financing Options

We offer several options to help you afford tuition for the Professional Certificate in Game Design Program.

Available opportunities to lower tuition fees include:
Referrals – You and a colleague can each receive $745 off your tuition when you enroll together. Refer now
Group enrollments – A discount of up to 20% is available for group enrollments. For more information, email group-enrollments@emeritus.org

Climb Credit

Immediate repayment, interest-only repayment, and deferred payment options are available. Click here to know more

Sallie Mae

Learn more and apply.
(Select ‘Student’ and ‘Undergraduate Student’ to proceed)

Flexible Payment Options

Monthly payments as low as $1090. Click here to know more.

    What is Sallie Mae?

    Sallie Mae is one of the largest private student loan lenders in the industry.

    What is the process to apply for a loan?

    Once you’ve applied for your program, you can then apply for a loan with Sallie Mae. When approved, you’ll choose your interest rate and your repayment option and sign the loan documents. The lender will send the tuition directly to your school.

    How long will it take until I get a decision?

    You can receive a credit result is as few as 15 minutes.

    Do I need a cosigner?

    If you don’t have a credit history, you will need a cosigner for your loan. A cosigner can be a parent, relative, or any other creditworthy individual. Their good credit history may help you get a loan.

    If my application is accepted, am I committed to using the financing?

    After your loan is approved, you are required to sign the loan terms. Your loan is not confirmed without this signature. You have the right to cancel your private student loan as described in the Final Loan Disclosure before funds are disbursed to your school.

    What are the terms of the loan?

    You can choose between fixed and variable interest for your loan. You can also choose one of three repayment options: Deferred Repayment, Fixed Repayment, and Interest Repayment.

    When does loan payback begin?

    You can make your first payment about one month after your program starts (fixed repayment or interest repayment) or six months after your program ends (deferred repayment).

    How long will I be making payments?

    Most loans have a 10-year standard repayment. When you apply for the loan, you will be given more information on the repayment plan.

    How do I find out how much my monthly payment is?

    You can find your monthly payment on the Monthly Payment Calculator here.

    Are there any circumstances that would allow me to put my loan payments on hold?

    Delinquency occurs when you fail to pay all or part of your monthly student loan payment. You could be eligible for a student loan deferment, which would allow you to temporarily reduce or postpone payments on your student loans in special circumstances.

    Can I pay off my loan early?

    There is no penalty for paying your loan off early or paying extra throughout the life of your loan. You have the flexibility to make early payments of fully pay off your loan without prepayment fees.

    What is Climb Credit?

    Climb Credit is a new kind of student lender.

    Climb believes education is an investment and should be treated that way — we partner with schools offering career-focused education, and then provide accessible and affordable loans to attend these schools.

    What is the process to apply for a loan?

    Simply type your school's name into the search bar after clicking "Apply now" to find a link to the application page. From there, you'll be able to complete our short online application.

    You may also have received a link to apply for a Climb loan from your school’s admissions team, or you can find the link on your school’s website or Climb's website. Apply using your laptop, tablet, or phone.

    You'll want to make sure you fill out an application for the specific school and program you'll be attending. We link our loans to each course, so your school will know you've been approved for a loan with us and that we'll be sending your tuition to them.

    How long will it take until I get a decision?

    On average, 4:01 minutes — and just applying will not impact your credit score. We know that your time is valuable, so we’ve kept our application as short as possible.

    Do I need a cosigner?

    No. Climb only fund loans for students who are attending the program. The program attendee should always be the primary borrower on the application.

    During your application, you will have the option to add a co-borrower. If you have a co-borrower with a better credit score that you, adding them to your loan application can potentially help you get approved and/or receive a lower interest rate offer.

    If my application is accepted, am I committed to using the financing?

    No. Applying for Climb financing is free and comes and carries no commitment until you accept and finalize the loan. The initial application will not affect your credit score, and you are free to decline your loan offer if you change your mind about financing.

    What are the terms of the loan?

    To view the equation used to calculate your interest and monthly payments, check out this article HERE!

    When does loan payback begin?

    Depending on your program, we may offer loans with either an initial interest-only period while in class and for a few months after, a full deferral period while in class and for a few months after, or immediate full repayment.

    For loans with an interest-only period or immediate full repayment, your first payment is due one month after your loan is funded.

    How long will I be making payments?

    Climb's standard loan tenor is 36 months, but you can pay any time before that, as there is no pre-payment penalty. You can repay your 3-year loan in 3 years or in 1 day.

    Climb's goal is to make sure that your monthly payments stay low and affordable, which is why we give you the option to choose your term length when you apply.

    Master’s students can choose between a 2-year or a 3-year repayment term.

    Doctoral students can choose between a 4-year or a 5-year repayment term.

    How do I find out how much my monthly payment is?

    This amount is mentioned in your loan agreement.

    Are there any circumstances that would allow me to put my loan payments on hold?

    In order not to fall behind on your Climb loan payments, you can request a deferral of payments on your loan. A deferment will allow you to temporarily reduce your monthly loan payment amount.

    Can I pay off my loan early?

    Absolutely! You can pre-pay your loan, in whole or in part, at any time with no penalties.

Didn't find what you were looking for? Write to us at learner.success@emeritus.org or Schedule a call with one of our Academic Advisors or call us at +1 315 640 4846 (US) / +44 141 673 6416 (UK) / +65 3138 2327 (SG)

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Flexible payment options available. Learn more.