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Serious Game Design and Research

Graduate Certificate

Hybrid

Course Delivery

9

Total Credits

$7,355

Tuition

8 Months

Minimum Duration


Program Overview

Serious games, whether paper games or digital games, are best known for their unique design focus and anticipated outcomes, such as awareness, education, or direct action. As an approach to facilitate serious games, Michigan State University offers a carefully crafted three-course, transcriptable, university graduate certificate in serious games which can be completed either fully online or on campus through hybrid courses which meet in the classroom with an online option. The program is designed to give game designers, business people, teachers, and researchers graduate-level insight into serious game theories, serious game design, and more-than-human-centered design.

Our graduate certificate students include Media & Information graduate students, other MSU graduate students including MAET MA students, and doctoral students at other universities interested in serious games and gamification. Our non-MSU students also include game industry professionals, fortune 500 and small business professionals in many different fields, museum designers, corporate trainers, university professors, and K-12 teachers. The program serves a wide range of skills and interests focused on serious games.

Program Outcomes

The Serious Games Graduate certificate courses include Foundations of Serious Games, Theories of Games and Interaction for Design, and Understanding Users. In Theories of Games and Interaction for Design, students engage in various approaches to game design through readings and exercises. Students choose one theory to inform a game/interactive experience prototype. Prototypes can either be analog or digital, ultimately building up to either an analog or digital final product.

Career Outlook

Successful graduates finish out the program with hands-on experience in exploring theories about serious games by designing and researching serious games. In doing so, they gain knowledge in this important domain, including meaningful games and more-than-human-centered design. The program informs a game prototype, such as a board game for a classroom, an app for training, or other forms of digital or analog serious games.

 

A Top-Ranked Education

  • 32nd among Best Public Universities in America — U.S. News & World Report
  • A Top 100 Global University — Times Higher Education and U.S. News & World Report

 

Elizabeth LaPensee headshot

Elizabeth LaPensée

Assistant Professor and Director of Serious Games Graduate Certificate

Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. is an award-winning designer, writer, and artist of games, emergent media, and comics. She is Anishinaabe with family from Bay Mills, Métis, and Irish. She is an Assistant Professor in Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures and Director of the Serious Games Graduate Certificate at Michigan State University. She was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2018 and inducted into the Global Women in Games Hall of Fame in 2020. She designed When Rivers Were Trails, a 2D adventure game about land allotment in the 1890s which won the Adaptation Award at IndieCade 2019. She also designed and created art for Thunderbird Strike, a lightning-searing side-scroller game which won Best Digital Media at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2017.

Course Information

MI 830 - Foundations of Serious Games (3 credits)

MI 831 - Theories of Games and Interaction Design (3 credits)

MI 841- Understanding Users (3 credits)

 
 

Admissions Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  • A bachelor's degree
  • TOEFL/IELTS if English is not your native language
  • A written personal statement and academic statement detailing your professional interests and goals
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all previous schools

To apply to this program:

  • Complete a university graduate application.
  • No GRE required.

Key Dates

MSU Students:

Rolling Applications

 

Non-MSU Students:

Application Deadline

Fall Semester - June 1st

Spring Semester - October 1st

 

 

Tuition & Fees

 

In-State Tuition
Out-of-State Tuition
$7,355
$9,425

 

The university reserves the right to make changes in the types, structures, rates for fees, and tuition. Every effort will be made to give as much advance notice as possible.

Program Overview

Serious games, whether paper games or digital games, are best known for their unique design focus and anticipated outcomes, such as awareness, education, or direct action. As an approach to facilitate serious games, Michigan State University offers a carefully crafted three-course, transcriptable, university graduate certificate in serious games which can be completed either fully online or on campus through hybrid courses which meet in the classroom with an online option. The program is designed to give game designers, business people, teachers, and researchers graduate-level insight into serious game theories, serious game design, and more-than-human-centered design.

Our graduate certificate students include Media & Information graduate students, other MSU graduate students including MAET MA students, and doctoral students at other universities interested in serious games and gamification. Our non-MSU students also include game industry professionals, fortune 500 and small business professionals in many different fields, museum designers, corporate trainers, university professors, and K-12 teachers. The program serves a wide range of skills and interests focused on serious games.

Program Outcomes

The Serious Games Graduate certificate courses include Foundations of Serious Games, Theories of Games and Interaction for Design, and Understanding Users. In Theories of Games and Interaction for Design, students engage in various approaches to game design through readings and exercises. Students choose one theory to inform a game/interactive experience prototype. Prototypes can either be analog or digital, ultimately building up to either an analog or digital final product.

Career Outlook

Successful graduates finish out the program with hands-on experience in exploring theories about serious games by designing and researching serious games. In doing so, they gain knowledge in this important domain, including meaningful games and more-than-human-centered design. The program informs a game prototype, such as a board game for a classroom, an app for training, or other forms of digital or analog serious games.

 

A Top-Ranked Education

  • 32nd among Best Public Universities in America — U.S. News & World Report
  • A Top 100 Global University — Times Higher Education and U.S. News & World Report

 

Elizabeth LaPensee headshot

Elizabeth LaPensée

Assistant Professor and Director of Serious Games Graduate Certificate

Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. is an award-winning designer, writer, and artist of games, emergent media, and comics. She is Anishinaabe with family from Bay Mills, Métis, and Irish. She is an Assistant Professor in Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures and Director of the Serious Games Graduate Certificate at Michigan State University. She was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2018 and inducted into the Global Women in Games Hall of Fame in 2020. She designed When Rivers Were Trails, a 2D adventure game about land allotment in the 1890s which won the Adaptation Award at IndieCade 2019. She also designed and created art for Thunderbird Strike, a lightning-searing side-scroller game which won Best Digital Media at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2017.

Course Information

MI 830 - Foundations of Serious Games (3 credits)

MI 831 - Theories of Games and Interaction Design (3 credits)

MI 841- Understanding Users (3 credits)

 
 

Admissions Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  • A bachelor's degree
  • TOEFL/IELTS if English is not your native language
  • A written personal statement and academic statement detailing your professional interests and goals
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all previous schools

To apply to this program:

  • Complete a university graduate application.
  • No GRE required.

Key Dates

MSU Students:

Rolling Applications

 

Non-MSU Students:

Application Deadline

Fall Semester - June 1st

Spring Semester - October 1st

 

 

Tuition & Fees

 

In-State Tuition
Out-of-State Tuition
$7,355
$9,425

 

The university reserves the right to make changes in the types, structures, rates for fees, and tuition. Every effort will be made to give as much advance notice as possible.

The MSU Value Promise

You can be ensured a return on your investment at Michigan State University.

As one of the top research universities in the world, Michigan State University has advanced the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years.

MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community.

MSU has been offering online degree programs for over 20 years. Our maturity is evident in the high quality of the learning experience enjoyed by our online students.

MSU provides programs and initiatives that support and enhance diversity. We will expand our campus and external partnerships to put in place inclusive recruitment and retention practices. We nurture and promote individuals’ varied experiences and perspectives, ensuring structures and processes make possible full participation by all members of our community.

MSU actively collaborates with campus and external partners to innovate across all dimensions of graduate education. We create and support networks that increase collaboration and improve educational opportunities for our online students.

MSU’s nationally recognized online programs foster student growth and well-being throughout their academic career. We will expand inclusive mentoring practices and accelerate improvement across units to implement evidence-based practices to ensure our students complete successfully.

Continuing education can be one of the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding experiences you undertake in your life. We hope you consider becoming a Spartan, to learn online and reach your career goals. With highly ranked online programs and exceptional professors, we educate students who advance the common good with uncommon will.