The University of Southampton
Winchester School of ArtPostgraduate study

MA Games Design (1 year)

Meeting industry demand for games designers with a combination of creative flair and technical skill, this degree offers the opportunity to develop, innovate and explore your own games design ideas while gaining essential professional skills.

Introducing your course

Based within an art school rather than a computer science or technology department, this course encourages a creative approach to games design alongside the development of technical skills – a combination that is sought after by the games industry. You’ll learn to create graphic assets and develop your own games using a variety of tools and programming skills. You’ll also gain a comprehensive understanding of current issues in games design, and the essential business and marketing skills to help you advance your career or take forward your own business venture. The course is taught by active researchers with professional experience and specialist expertise in expanding fields such as serious games (the use of gaming in areas such as health, education and business). They work with colleagues from the University’s world-renowned computer science team through the interdisciplinary Games Design Hub, and bring the latest research findings to your learning. Lectures and workshops with top professionals and visits to game companies will give you insights into today’s sector and help you grow your networks.

Overview

This course is ideal for graduates with an art or design background who want to pursue a career in games design and related industries. It requires some prior knowledge of programming and design software packages.

Programme Structure

This is a one-year, full-time masters degree. You’ll take taught modules over two semesters, followed by a period of independent study for your final project. 

In studio practice modules you’ll work on hands-on projects that explore different aspects of games design and development. You’ll create games art using a range of industry-standard software and use programming skills bring them to life. Classes and practical workshops will introduce you to areas such as art production and high-tech iterative design

The course also covers contemporary issues in the gaming industry, for example examining how new virtual reality and 3D technology is impacting on games design and the growth of serious gaming. 

In addition, you’ll learn about the business side of games development, learning about development strategies, marketing and finance, so that you are equipped with the skills you’ll need to join an established company or take forward your own business ideas

You’ll be able to personalise your course to suit your interests and career aspirations by choosing an optional module, enabling you to focus on a particular area such as entrepreneurship, marketing or branding in more detail. 

Final project 

Your studio work will culminate in the development of your own game idea through the creation of a portfolio of ‘vertical slices’ (examples that demonstrate proof of concept). You’ll be encouraged to take advantage of your tutors’ extensive professional networks to help you commercialise your idea. 

Industry links 

Throughout the course, exposure to external industry professionals will ensure you are up to date with the latest issues in gaming, as well as giving you insights into potential career paths and the opportunity to build your networks

Through our academics’ industry links and membership of networks such as TIGA (the games industry association) they are able to involve top games design professionals in the course, through guest lectures and workshops on topics such as game design, business planning, creative entrepreneurship and managing a web presence. We also arrange visits to games companies, enabling you to talk to designers and managers about their approaches and strategies. 

Research-informed education 

The course content is underpinned by the latest research in games design. All our academics are active researchers and bring the latest findings to your learning. They also have extensive industry experience. For example, Dr Ashok Ranchhod, who teaches marketing and games development, has published more than 50 papers on marketing and branding, and also conducts research interest into the use of games in health management and education. He is the author of Marketing Strategies: A Contemporary Approach, and his professional experience includes consultancy and managing director roles. Adam Procter is a highly experienced design educator, having taught design in higher education for more than 15 years. He keeps his practice current by working with organisations to help foster digital design solutions in the form of games, apps, and how to improved user experience as a designer, researcher and practioner.  The teaching team also includes specialists in computing Dr James Stallwood and games design, Dr Vanissa Wanick and execution,  and crowdfunding, Chris Buckingham. 

Many of our academics are involved in research projects within the Games Design Hub. The Hub is a joint venture bringing together the University’s outstanding expertise within Winchester School of Art and Electronics and Computer Science, with a focus on serious games and their use in sectors including health, social outreach, business and education.

Key Facts

Develop your creative talents and your technical skills to give you a competitive edge in the games design job market.

Learn from leading academics with industry and research experience in graphic design, computing and business skills.

Course content is informed by the work of the Games Design Hub, a collaboration between the Winchester School of Art and the University’s world-renowned Electronics and Computer Science department.

Includes a distinctive focus on serious games, a field attracting growing interest from a wide range of organisations.

Visiting industry speakers and visits to games design companies will expose you to the latest sector issues and give you an insight into potential careers.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

MA Games Design at Winchester School of Art is both practice and theory based. It is important that you demonstrate your artistic ability in a portfolio, as this will be the determining factor for entry. Your portfolio should include evidence of interest in the visual area demonstrating some ability in drawing, sketching and possibly digital 3D work, evidence of some flair for developing simple games and apps with prototypes, and evidence of character depictions, ideas and narratives, examples of the development of an idea through a storyboard, and any examples of digital animation development. Please include a variety of projects in your portfolio. Your portfolio should not exceed six pages in length or ten megabytes in size.

The admissions policy for MA Games Design and Art is based on students having a good honours degree in a relevant subject of games, arts or design discipline (2.1 or above) or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

If you would like the opportunity to discuss any details of the course in more detail, please email Pgapply.FBL@southampton.ac.uk

If you have professional experience, or credit through prior learning at another institution, you may be eligible to use this experience against some of the programme requirements for period of study. You will need to present evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of the programme. Full details can be found in the University’s Policy on the Recognition of Prior Learning .

English Language Requirements

International and EU students applying for this programme are required to have a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each component or equivalent, prior to starting the programme. For a full list of English language tests accepted please see here

The University also runs a number of English language courses to prepare students for study, details can also be found here for more information about the WSA pre-sessionals.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Modules

Typical course content

MA Games Design students study compulsory and optional modules aimed at honing their own artistic practice.

Year 1

This programme is studied over one year full-time and is divided into five modules, two are taken in semester 1, and two in semester 2 (one of which is an optional module selected from the list below). The last module (started in semester 2) is your Final Project and continues through the summer period (semester 3).

Semester One
Compulsory
ARTD6087Credit: 20
ARTD6076Credit: 40
Semester Two
Compulsory
ARTD6080Credit: 40
Optional
ARTD6063Credit: 20
ARTD6064Credit: 20
ARTD6071Credit: 20
ARTD6072Credit: 20
ARTD6091Credit: 20

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Career Opportunities

The MA Games Design and Art will provide you with a combination of creative, technical and business skills that will be attractive to potential employers. You’ll be in a good position to find a job in games development, in roles such as programmer, concept artist, developer or games animator. You’ll also have the skills to take forward your own business venture.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Winchester campus

Winchester campus

Winchester School of Art is set in pleasant, green surroundings close ...Find out more

Share this course Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×