BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — As the world continues the transition to online and virtual options, Western Kentucky University has added a program to help students level up in the gaming world.

What You Need To Know

  • WKU offers new game design certificate

  • Program will become available this fall

  • Curriculum will involve programming, art and design, animation

The new WKU Certificate of Game Design was created to give students a competitive edge in the gaming field by combining curriculums. The certificate is a collaboration between the department of arts, computer science and communications.

Working together to create an interactive and comprehensive program the past year and a half, Certificate Coordinator Kristina Arnold says it will give students a well-rounded education.

“This will give students the background knowledge in programming, in animation, in art and design and will give them some real skills that will give them some hands-on programming and gaming experience that they can put on their resume that they can roll into positions in the industry,” said Arnold. 

The program has been a grassroots initiative since the beginning with students and faculty working together to offer a certificate. The certificate can stand alone or be paired with an existing major.

The program will include classes like scene creation and programming. Majoring in ceramics, Kendall Gott is one of the students who is excited for the program come this fall. The program also offers students one elective, which Gott says she is excited to explore to push her creativity even further.

“There's all kinds of things that can branch off from it, especially with the elective classes that are offered so if I wanted to take an elective in creative writing I could create with storyboards and help with that side of programming and gaming world so there’s all kinds of different like paths that it could bring depending on what side is really a person's interest,” said Gott.

A transfer student, Gott says this program is one of the many reasons she chose WKU. Hoping to merge her passion for claymation with the math and science of programming, she says this gives students the skills and knowledge to receive jobs while still expressing themselves creatively.

“The collaboration is really special because it really shows that it's not STEM, it's STEAM and how art can enhance programming and computer sciences as well as computer sciences can help art students get jobs and further themselves in the workforce,” said Gott.

The certificate is an 18 credit hour program, giving students a chance in the $150 billion industry. Along with traditional coursework, Arnold says the pandemic has given them a chance to explore platforms like Zoom and invite various game design professionals into the classroom. 

As the world continues to grow and change, Arnold says this program will give students the proper skills to perform their passion professionally.

“As folks have been kind of stuck in their homes gaming has exploded even more so this something like I said, we enjoy doing and then learning to be able to take a passion for an interest and make that into a career, it's a great opportunity for our students to be able to do,” said Arnold. 

WKU plans to offer the certificate in the fall and will be a combination of in-person and online courses.