Serious Game Design Certificate Application Criteria

How to Apply - Certificate-Only Students

How to Apply (for fully online certificate students not otherwise enrolled at MSU)

If you are interested in applying to our online graduate certificate program, please contact the Serious Game Certificate program faculty coordinator, Professor Carrie Heeter. Up to 20 students per year will be accepted into the certificate-only game design program.

*The deadline by which applications must be processed and complete for admission in Spring 2018 is November 15, 2017.

Certificate Tuition and Fees

To calculate your estimated tuition and fees for the semester, visit the tuition calculator and choose the current semester. Graduate Student costs approximate what graduate certificate students would pay. Choose in-state (Michigan) or out-of-state, and International or not. Enter the total number of credits for the program (9).

View Tuition and Fees Estimates

How to Apply - Traditional Students

Before you start the application process for our game design program, you are encouraged to email Dr. Carrie Heeter at to describe your background and interest in enrolling in the Certificate Program.

All three courses can be taken as fully online classes. In order to enroll in these classes and earn the certificate, prospective international and domestic students will need to enroll in Michigan State University as “graduate certificate” students and to enter the program code 1497 for the Graduate Certificate in Serious Game Design and Research.

Apply as a Graduate Certificate Student

Enrolling in the Certificate Program

On the Application & Request Info page, choose your status (Domestic or International) and choose Graduate Certificate. Complete the application and submit with $65 payment. Be sure to enter the program code “1497 Graduate Certificate Program in Serious Game Design and Research”. It will appear in a pop-up list under Other Information on about page 3 of the application.

IMPORTANT: The application form currently includes many fields that are not required. If you are a distant student who does not intend to move to campus, it is OK to skip or leave the following blank:

  • When it asks for Current Visa Application, say “On-line certificate”.
  • When it asks for intended Visa classification for study at MSU also say, “On-line certificate”.
  • There is no need to enter the name of the parent or guardian nor their address.
  • For your major preference say 1497 (that’s the code for serious game design).
  • You do not need to enter the number of credits for your prior degrees.
  • You do not need to answer whether you have taken or planned to take any courses in any college before entering MSU.
  • You do not need to answer how many college credits you will have attempted before entering MSU.
  • A personal statement - The personal statement is your opportunity to tell the M.A. Director and Director of the Serious Game Graduate Certificate program about yourself, your background (e.g., cultural, ethnic, etc.), your passion and professional interests and aspirations including why you are interested in the serious game design and research graduate certificate program. In addition, this is the opportunity to communicate to the M.A. Committee any factors that may have contributed to any prior academic underperformance and you would wish for the M.A. Committee to take into consideration during the review of your application.
  • An academic statement -Your academic statement should indicate that you are applying to the Serious Game Design graduate certificate, and why you believe this certificate is a good fit to the professional goals and career paths of interest.
  • TOEFL or IELTS test scores for international students -International students from countries where English is not the native language will be required to take the TOEFL test. However, you don’t need to enter the scores when you complete and submit your initial application. You do need to have the results sent directly to the Serious Games Graduate Certificate Program Coordinator (see address below).
  • TOEFL - The Department requires a minimum of 91 IBT with no sub-scores below 22, or a 237 CBT with no sub-scores below 22 or a 580 PBT with no sub-scores below 55. Reported scores must be no older than 2 years. The Department requires a minimum of 6.5.
  • You do not need to enter dependent information.

After you have completed your admissions application, you should automatically be taken to the Graduate Admissions Management System (GAMS), where you will create an account, select the Serious Game Design certificate code option and fill out the GAMS app as instructed.

Note that, like the University admissions form, there is a prompt asking students to submit letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are NOT required for admission into the Serious Game Design program. As a workaround, please click the optional statement “letters sent to the department directly” which will override that part of the application.

Request an official and original Degree Granting Transcript (confirming completion of bachelors degree) be sent directly from the granting institution to the following address (below). The transcript must come directly from the degree granting institution to MSU.

Serious Games Graduate Certificate Program
Rachel Iseler, Academic Programs Coordinator
Communication Arts and Sciences Building
404 Wilson Road, Room 425 East Lansing, MI 48824-1212

Once the department receives the application and transcripts, they will be reviewed by the Graduate Studies Director.

A Graduate Certificate Recommended Action Form will then be completed, and along with your transcripts, it will be sent to the Office of Admissions for processing. Once reviewed and approved by the Office of Admission, you will be formally notified of your acceptance by Michigan State University and provided with information on how to enroll in courses. After you receive your formal admission notice you will be able to enroll for the courses.

Requesting your Certificate Transcript

Once you have completed the certificate requirements, apply for graduation.

  • A program certification form for the certificate will be processed and sent to the TISM department for review and approval and sent to the Degree Certification for processing.
  • Once confirmed and processed by the Degree Certification Office, the certificate program will be noted as complete and appear on your final program transcripts.

If you decide to pursue a graduate degree from Michigan State University, including an M.A. Media and Information or an M.A. in Educational Technology, you may transfer up to 9 credits of lifelong learning towards the degree. All three Serious Game departmental certificate courses would count towards the requirements of either program.