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Athabasca University

University Certificate in Game Development and Programming

Regulations effective September 1, 2015.

The University Certificate in Game Development and Programming (UCGDP) at Athabasca University is designed to meet the needs of the game industry by providing students with a solid technical base in game development and programming.

No previous programming experience is required for admission to this certificate. Students with previous post-secondary education or programming experience may be able to reduce the total number of credits required for the certificate through transfer credit of challenge for credit. Students can possibly receive credit towards the bridging courses through the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process, transfer credit and/or challenging a course for credit.

Students may specialize in a particular area of game development by taking recommended elective courses, which can be found on the SCIS website.

Moreover, students who complete the certificate program may use the credits towards their future studies if they wish to pursue the Bachelor of Science Major in Computing and Information Systems degree.

The programming language requirement for the certificate is COMP 308 (Java) or COMP 306 (C++), as noted below. Some courses will specify Java as a prerequisite, while others will require C++. Course Coordinators might allow students to use different programming languages, depending on the nature of the course.

Program Plans

Our online program plans can assist you in selecting the courses needed to fulfill your program requirements.

Counselling Services offers an assessment website, "Mapping Your Future: Your Career and Athabasca University." Athabasca University has also developed program learning outcomes that describe the career options that may be available to you upon graduating.

Students complete the program regulations in effect at the time of their admission.

Program Structure
Total credits in the program (includes bridging credits) 42
      Bridging credits 12
      Required credits 21
      Elective credits 9
Residency Requirement. A minimum of 21 credits must be obtained through Athabasca University. 21
Maximum Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) credits (applicable to Bridging Courses only) 12

AU may grant transfer credit for individual computer science courses that were completed more than five years ago if proof of currency in the field is provided in the form of a resumé and letter(s) of employment. The letter(s) of employment need to show evidence of activity in a computer science related field over the five-year period prior to the request for transfer credit. Other evidence may be accepted if the letter and the resumé cannot be supplied.

Specific Regulations

The bridging courses (COMP 200, COMP 268, COMP 272, and COMP 314) must be completed before starting the required courses in the Certificate. This requirement may be fulfilled through transfer credit, challenge for credit, or through the PLAR process. Students can register in elective courses while completing bridging courses if they have completed the necessary prerequisites.

Bridging Courses (12 credits)
COMP 200 Introduction to Computing and Information Systems (3)
COMP 268 Introduction to Computer Programming (Java) (3)
COMP 272 Data Structures and Algorithms (3)
COMP 314 Operating Systems (3)
Required Courses (21 credits)
COMP 308 Java for Programmers (Java Concentration)  
COMP 306 C++ for Programmers (C++ Concentration) (3)
COMP 282 Social Aspects of Games, Leisure and Entertainment (3)
COMP 318 Introduction to Games Design and Development (3)
COMP 347 Computer Networks (3)
COMP 369 Practical Game Programming (3)
COMP 390 Computer Graphics (3)
COMP 495 Computer and Information Systems Projects I (3)
Elective Courses (9 credits)
COMP 214 Interactive Technologies (3)
COMP 230 Storyboard Design and Development (3)
COMP 232 Graphics Design (3)
COMP 283 Effective Use of Myths and Facts in Computer Games (3)
COMP 348 Network Programming in Java (3)
COMP 382 3D Programming with Java (3)
COMP 393 Advanced Graphics with Shaders (3)
COMP 435 Multimedia Technologies (3)
COMP 452 Artificial Intelligence for Game Developers (3)
COMP 486 Mobile and Internet Game Development (3)

Please check with the SCIS Advisor before registering in elective courses for course availability.


Information effective Sept. 1, 2015 to Aug. 31, 2016.

Updated March 21 2017 by laurab

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.