Earn a Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Certificate in Silicon Valley at Cogswell College in San Jose, CA

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Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) Certificate Program

Cogswell Polytechnical College is pleased to announce the launch of a new VR/AR certificate program, which addresses the development of content for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). VR is a new human-user interaction paradigm utilizing computer-generated immersive environments. Users participate in VR using headsets which project images within a closed visual space, special immersive sound technologies, and optionally, articles of clothing that provide tactile sensations that increase the sense of “presence.” AR overlays interaction with the physical world with computer-generated three-dimensional visual and auditory sensory information to provide an enriched experience without excluding the surrounding environment.

This program is a six-course set of specialzed classes that will be offered weekday evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of industry professionals. The purpose of this certificate program is to provide professionals in the computer graphics industry the opportunity to join development teams that create VR or AR content.


$699 per course.  

Complete all 6 courses to earn a certificate.

Time to Complete Certificate

Average time of completion is one year.

Students in this certificate program will learn:

  • Cognitive and perceptual aspects of VR/AR experience
  • Human/computer interface and interaction (HCI) design
  • VR design principles
  • Applications of VR/AR in storytelling in a project-based learning environment

Who should apply:

  • Computer graphics (CG) professionals
  • Computer Engineering professionals
  • Professional Digital Artists
  • Recent graduates in Digital Arts or Engineering Programs
  • Current students in Media Art or Game programs
  • Students who have completed courses in 3D modeling.

How the certificate is earned

The first four requirements are subject courses that are taught in a traditional lecture/lab format and last 7 weeks each. VRAR400 (Perception, Cognition and Presence in VR) is the entry-levelc course, although VRAR450 (Human Computer Interface & Interaction Design) may be taken concurrently. VRAR500 (VR Design Principles 1) is taken next, followed by VRAR525 (VR Design Principles 2). With all of these requirements completed students may then enroll in the two-course VR/AR Studio Project (VRAR550) & (VRAR555). Following the completion of the studio project, the certificate program is complete and students will be awarded their certificates.


VR and AR Courses Include:

  • VRAR400 Perception, Cognition and Presence in VR/AR - starting Summer 2016

    The experience of virtual and augmented worlds depends upon the mediation of perceptual faculties that can be cognized as 'being in' a virtual or augmented space. This course will first present the perceptual and cognitive fundamentals of sight, sound and touch and then present ways in which these faculties are mediated by technology to create a sense of 'presence,' i.e, of being in that world. The course will include theories of presence as well consider health-related impacts of sensory mediation in VR & AR.

    Prerequisite: None

  • VRAR450 Human Computer Interface & Interaction Design - starting Summer 2016

    Human Computer Interface design addresses problems of usability in VR and AR systems. This course will begin with fundamental techniques of interaction and address progressively more challenging problems. The course will engage both theory and practice of HCI with hands-on projects. It will include an introduction to spatial audio relevant to VR and AR for non-audio specialists.

    Prerequisite: None

  • VRAR500 VR/AR Design Principles 1

    Moving beyond design principles for 2D and 3D art, VR Design Principles 1 addresses semantic vs. responsive gestures, the reactivity of objects in virtual space, interactive element targeting, ergonomics, economy of gestures and other factors specific to VR and AR. This course integrates theory and practice with many hands-on projects.

    Prerequisite: VAR400

  • VRAR525 VR/AR Design Principles 2

    Following on the foundations established in VR Design Principles 1, VR Design Principles 2 addresses locomotion, optimization for VR tracking, hand and body design, space and perspective. The course will integrate introduce elements of storytelling in an immersive virtual space.

    Prerequisite: VAR500

  • VRAR550 VR/AR Studio Project 1

    The capstone of the VR/AR certificate program is the VR/AR studio project, a multidisciplinary collaborative project that will engage the efforts of engineers, VR/AR content designers and audio specialists. All of the theory and practice of previous courses will come together in the implementation of projects inspired by 'real world' applications and in some cases commissioned by actual clients. Industry professionals will be brought in at intervals to provide expert feedback and to inspire best practices.

    Prerequisite: VAR525

  • VRAR555 VR/AR Studio Project 2

    Part Two of VR/AR Studio Project extends the timeframe for completion of a multidisciplinary collaborative project to accommodate more complexity and/or depth. Students will give a formal presentation completed work at the end of the session.

    Prerequisite: VAR525