The support from staff and students from other years on Games Design has created a community in which everyone can share strengths, skills and improve on their weaknesses.


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4 years

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Games Design teaches you the key technical and creative skills needed to produce indie videogames for computer, mobile and console.

You’ll gain an in-depth knowledge of games-design tools (such as GameMaker Studio), design and development processes, aesthetics, and the relationships between industry, players and designers.

The foundation year will help you take your first step into higher education, broadening your industry knowledge and enabling you to progress to an undergraduate degree. It aims to help you develop a strong foundation of game design, alongside academic and transferable skills, to ensure you get the most out of your degree-level studies.

The course is taught in the Daphne Oram building, our exciting new Creative Arts facility, where you’ll have access to industry-standard software to produce a range of games.

Dr Alan Meades, an internationally renowned games scholar, leads a team of games industry practitioners and academics who are all as passionate about gaming as you are.

Why study Games Design with Foundation Year?

Games are a vital component of modern society. We play console and computer games to relax at home, mobile phone games and apps to fill the time during our daily commutes, and play tabletop and card games at social gatherings.

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have 32 UCAS Tariff points. We will also welcome applications from students with few or no formal Level 3 qualifications who wish to return to education and applicants may be asked to attend an interview.

You do not need to have significant prior knowledge of Arts and Humanities related subjects but should be motivated to study the subject.

More information about entry requirements.

UCAS Points

All about the course

During the foundation year you'll develop academic skills and learn about core elements of games design, so you're prepared for studying a degree level.

Students on BA (Hons) Games Design are given a gaming laptop to ensure that they have the tools to design games while on and off campus. This helps students to play and study games, many of our students play multiplayer games with their peers. The laptop is yours to keep at the end of the course.

Module information

Please note that the list of optional modules and their availability may be subject to change. We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. Modules will vary when studied in combination with another subject.

Core/optional modules

How you’ll learn

You'll typically be taught through a combination of technical and creative workshops, lectures, interactive seminars, individual tutorials, demonstrations, and exercises, though the balance between these elements will vary depending on the specific module content (such as the different balance between theory and practical delivery in a module).

This varied approach is designed to support you with learning how to use and apply software, but also to think about games design as a creative and commercial practice. There are times when working on projects is beneficial, and other times where listening to presentations from games designers and researchers will support your growing skills. You'll be asked to apply the skills you have acquired, generally in the form of a practical project (a game, a prototype, a demonstration, a presentation, written evaluation, or occasional essay). These become increasingly complex as the course progresses and your confidence and expertise increase. In addition, you'll be surrounded by a community of games makers, researchers, and players, and other creative practitioners. The expectation is that as a games design student you will actively seek out collaboration and input from staff and peers, and in doing so improve your work and contribute to the games design community. You will typically have around 12 contact hours per week; however, your actual contact hours will depend on the optional modules you select.

You will use industry-standard software, notably YoYo Games’ GameMaker, Unity 3D, Unreal Engine, 3D and 2D animation software and the Adobe Creative Suite, for much of your digital work. You will have access to a wide range of specialist facilities such as screen printing, oversize print services, laser cutting and 3D printing throughout your course to further support your output.

All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2022.

It is expected that you will spend 24 hours per week outside class time working on projects individually and in teams.

While your workload will shift in response to deadlines you should see your studies as a full-time job of at least 36 hours per week.

The teaching team consists of highly qualified academics and practitioners with a wide range of expertise and experience.

Members of the teaching team are qualified to postgraduate level and are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You should note members of the teaching team might change.

Guest speakers from industry as well as postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching and assessing some modules. However, experienced academics teach the vast majority of lectures and seminars.

 The programme is led by Dr Alan Meades, an internationally renowned games researcher. Alan holds an MA by Research in Electronic Arts and a PhD in Game Studies. He wrote the 2015 book Understanding Counterplay in Video Games after spending five years studying hacking and modding communities on the Xbox 360. Alan is currently working on the Arcade Tales project (, which tells the unheard history of the British arcade.

Games Design is ideal for anyone who wants to make games, even with no previous experience. We provide students with personal laptops for work and research and teach them valuable skills demanded by the games industry and beyond.

Alan MeadesGames Design Programme Director

How you’ll be assessed

Games Design is assessed through the submission of practical assignments normally consisting of a practical response to a brief (such as a game), and a supporting set of materials (such as a PDF collection of sketches and planning, and/or a written or video-based evaluation). The requirements of each module will be made clear in their handbooks / briefs. There is one module per year that is assessed using essays, but this is primarily a practical degree programme. There are no formal exams. Each module contains several opportunities for 'formative' assessment also known as the “crit” for which you receive feedback from your tutor and peers.


Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

Portfolio-based practical submission and essays will typically be used to assess the Games Design course. You will be responding to a number of creative briefs that enable you to propose and develop solutions using the skills, approaches and disciplines that you deem appropriate. You are assessed against module-specific Learning Outcomes and School-level marking criteria which are made available to students during their studies.


You will receive formative feedback on all practice assessments and summative feedback on end of module assessment hand-ins. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor. In addition to summative feedback (normally returned 15 working days after submission), you will have frequent opportunities to present and receive feedback on your progress as part of the teaching.

80% practical coursework
20% essay

Your future career

A degree in Games Design would help you to enter the games design and development industry, which is a growth sector in the UK. The skills you develop on the course would also open up opportunities in advertising, marketing, events, museum and exhibition design, and the creative sector more generally.

It doesn’t matter what previous knowledge you have, this course builds everyone's skills from the ground up. Finding a course as supportive as this is incredibly difficult, and I feel that the course is really helping me to follow my dream to become a Games Designer.

JamesGames Design student


The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £7,050 £9,910
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £13,000

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fees of £9,250 / £13,000 relate to 2020/21 only. Please read the 2020/21 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2020/21 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

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4 years

UCAS code:



Apply via UCAS
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