About the Program

The purpose of the certificate program in game design is to provide interested students with the theoretical knowledge and practical experience needed to program computer games at the professional level. The core courses included in this program are taught from a software engineering perspective and also include game programming techniques. The elective courses are intended to allow students to strengthen their software engineering backgrounds and to explore advanced areas of computer science important to game programmers. (12 credit hours)

The certificate can be completed entirely on campus, entirely online, or through a combination of on-campus and online courses.   

Required Core Courses

CIS 587: Computer Game Design

This course deals with the study of the technology, science and art in the creation of computer games. The focus of the course will be hands-on development of computer games. Students will study a variety of software technologies relevant to computer game design including programming languages, scripting languages, operating systems, file systems, networks, simulation engines, and multi-media design systems. Lecture topics will be taken from several areas of computer science: simulation and modeling, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, real-time processing, game theory, software engineering, human computer interaction, graphic design and game aesthetics. (3 credits)

CIS 588: Computer Game Design and Implementation II

This course is a continuation of the materiel studied in CIS 587. The focus of the course will be hands-on development of computer games and computer game development tools (e.g. game engines). Students will study a variety of software technologies relevant to computer game design, including: data-driven game design, multiplayer game programming, game AI, game theory, game content development, and game aesthetics. (3 credits)

Course Descriptions

Complete 2 courses from the following (6 credits):

CIS 515: Computer Graphics

Basic geometrical concepts: graphics output primitives, two-dimensional transformations, windowing and clipping, three-dimensional viewing, visible surface detection methods, and graphical user interfaces. (3 credits)

CIS 535: Programmable Mobile/Wireless Technologies and Pervasive Computing

This course covers contemporary technologies for programmable mobile and wireless intelligent hand-held devices. Students will get an overview of mobile operating system concepts/techniques and will learn how to develop software for mobile/smart devices, with particular emphasis on the constraints intrinsic to such devices. Topics in location-based services and pervasive computing will also be covered. Participation in a project is a requirement in this course. (3 credits)

CIS 552: Computer Animation

This course covers the fundamentals of computer animation, animation systems and animation hardware. Applications, car crashes, robot motion, and manufacturing systems will be simulated and virtual reality will be introduced. (3 credits)

CIS 553: Software Engineering

This course covers program design methodologies; control flow and data flow in program; program measurement, software life cycle; large program design, development, testing, and maintenance. In addition, software reliability, fault tolerance, and evolution dynamics of software are also discussed. (3 credits)

CIS: 577: Software User Interface Design and Analysis

Current theory and design techniques concerning how user interfaces for computer systems should be designed to be easy to learn and use. Focus on cognitive factors, such as the amount of learning required, and the information-processing load imposed on the user. Emphasis will be on integrating multimedia into the user interface. (3 credits)

CIS 579: Artificial Intelligence

This course introduces students to basic concepts and methods of artificial intelligence from a computer science perspective. Emphasis of the course will be on the selection of data representations and algorithms useful in the design and implementation of intelligent systems. The course will contain an overview of one AI language and some discussion of important applications of artificial intelligence methodology. (3 credits)

ECE 5251 Multimedia Design Tools I

This course will introduce students to multimedia design tools. Basic concepts of digital images will be reviewed, such as resolution and color theory. Various methods of image editing and enhancement will be covered including masks, gradients, filters, and image compositing. The basic concepts of vector graphics will be introduced, including Bezier curves, groups, and symbols. Also, basic concepts in fonts and print media will be discussed. Basic design principles will be utilized through the course, such as grid schemes, layout, and color mixing. Part of the coursework involves a project of communication technical information. (3 credits)

Learning Goals and Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to apply mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, and computer science theory in the modeling and design of computer-based systems in a way that demonstrates comprehension of the tradeoffs involved in design choices.
  2. Students will be able to analyze a problem and identify and define the computing requirements appropriate to its solution.
  3. Students will be able to design, implement and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needs.
  4. Students will be able to apply design and development principles in the construction of computer-based systems of varying complexity.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must possess an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Tentative Course Schedules

CIS 587


CIS 588


CIS 515


CIS 535


CIS 552


CIS 553


CIS 577


CIS 579


ECE 5251


CECS Graduate Education Office

Professional Education Center [PEC]
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