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About The Program

The Game Scholar Certificate is designed for students who have an academic and scholastic interest in games. The certificate is designed to deepen your understanding of games and fun on a meta-level, improve your ability to analyze and critique games, and provide you the opportunity to tap into current topics of interest in the game community.

Student outcomes

  • Analyze games in multiple contexts such as artistic media, instruments of learning, reflectors of race and identity, and vehicles of fun 
  • Apply theories of representation, intersectionality, race and racism, avatar creation, ethics, identity tourism, and character creation in video games 
  • Discuss how fun, play, and games have evolved throughout human histories and their role in influencing and being influenced by culture

Courses and Requirements


Required Courses

This course is an introduction to the vast and interdisciplinary field of game studies and game design. Students in this course will explore how games can be art, math, story, identity, political systems, ethical systems and more. Topics covered may include the history of video and tabletop games; the current landscape of the video game industry; future projections for game industry; an introduction to Game and Narrative Design; toxicity in the games community; race, gender, and identity in games; game design schemas, and an intro to theories of interaction design. Students will demonstrate this knowledge through creating a paper prototype of a tabletop game as part of a development team. No programming knowledge assumed.

Full course description for Introduction to Game Design

This course explores the concept of race, racism, and identity in the games industry, games community, and game studies. Because of games' role in both reflecting and creating cultural, racial, and identity norms, they are a rich source for investigating the ways interactive and immersive technologies influence cultural and social perspectives. In this course, students explore topics through a lens of race such as the history and evolution of video games, values in play, avatar identity, visualizing racial characteristics, analyzing gaming communities, and interrogating racism in the game industry. Intersectionality is used to explore how race and racism impact digital and nondigital bodies. No prior programming knowledge is assumed.

Full course description for Race and Identity in Video Games

This theory-based course dives into the role of fun, play, and games in society. Students will look at ancient theories of fun as well as learn about some of the earliest games ever played and examine their influence on modern games. Current tabletop and video games will also be analyzed by students through theories learned in class. Major topics covered may include: the magic circle, game rules, social games, definitions of fun and play, playing to order, edugames, serious games, chocolate-covered broccoli, cheating, spoilsports, variable ratio rewards, timed rewards, loot boxes, games for change, dark play, uncertainty, and more!

Full course description for Theories of Fun and Play