Game Theory


Stanford School of Engineering



Popularized by movies such as "A Beautiful Mind," game theory is the mathematical modeling of strategic interaction among rational (and irrational) agents. Beyond what we call `games' in common language, such as chess, poker, soccer, etc., it includes the modeling of conflict among nations, political campaigns, competition among firms, and trading behavior in markets such as the NYSE. How could you begin to model keyword auctions, and peer to peer file-sharing networks, without accounting for the incentives of the people using them? The course will provide the basics: representing games and strategies, the extensive form (which computer scientists call game trees), Bayesian games (modeling things like auctions), repeated and stochastic games, and more. We'll include a variety of examples including classic games and a few applications.
You can find a full syllabus and description of the course here:
You can find an introductory video here:


Matthew O. Jackson, Professor of Economics, Stanford University

Kevin Leyton-Brown, Professor of Computer Science, The University of British Columbia

Yoav Shoham, Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University

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Delivery Option:
Online Course Free

The course consists of the following materials:

  • Videos.  The lectures are delivered via videos, which are broken into small chunks, usually between five and fifteen minutes each. There will be approximately one and a half hours of video content per week. You may watch the lecture videos at your convenience. Lower-resolution videos are also available for those with slow internet connections.
  • Slides.  We have made available pdf files of all the lecture slides.
  • Quizzes.  There will be non-graded short "quiz" questions that will follow some of the videos to help you gauge your understanding.
  • Online Lab Exercises  After some of the videos, we will ask you to go online to play some games. These are entirely optional, and are designed to illustrate some of the concepts from the course.
  • Problem Sets.  There will also be graded weekly problem sets that you will also answer online, but may work through offline; those must be completed within two weeks of the time that they are posted in order to be graded for full credit. If you miss a problem set deadline, you may complete it before the end of the course for half credit. You may discuss problems from the problem sets with other students in an online forum, without providing explicit answers.
  • Final Exam.  There will be an online final exam that you will have to complete within two weeks of its posting. Once you begin the exam, you will have four hours to complete it.
  • Screen-side Chats.  A couple of times during the course, we will hold a brief online chat where we answer  questions and discuss topics relevant to the course.

Time Commitment

About 2 hours a week to watch the videos, complete the quizzes, and post online. 

Statement of Accomplishment

Participants will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor. It will designate whether the participants met the requirements that demonstrate literacy in organizational analysis. Stanford University does not award certificates or other credentials for participants' work in this course.

Coursera Course Certificate Available for a Fee

You can earn a Course Certificate for this Coursera Course. A Course Certificate is proof that you completed and passed the course.

In order to get a Course Certificate, you must:

This course may not currently be available to learners in some states and territories.