Aimee McManus & Brett Keable, MA Games Design, UCA Farnham

MA Games Design - UCA Farnham

Games Design MA

Farnham 1 year full-time

Course overview

MA Game Designs at UCA Farnham combines the latest creative practice and academic research, placing you at the cutting edge of the global games industry.

You'll be prepared for the needs of the digital games industry, as we guide you through the various aspects of game development in an industrial context, allied to a rigorous research programme exploring and applying the latest theory in game studies.

You'll develop your portfolio in large teams, culminating in a final major project to produce and ship a complete digital game product. Not only will you gain valuable experience in games production, you'll gain a scholarly understanding of the creative industries more generally, and enhance invaluable skills such as interdisciplinary communication, project management, collaboration and also marketing and public relations skills so you can develop your own professional profile and presence.

A one-year course of advanced study for furthering your research skills and specialising within your discipline.

A year-long preparatory course of study to ready you for your Master’s, developing your specialist skills, research acumen and confidence in working autonomously.

A year-long preparatory course of study to ready you for your Master’s in the UK, developing your English speaking and writing together with your specialist skills, research acumen and confidence in working autonomously.

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Accredited by:

Rookies School Accreditation
Course details

Course details

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

Get ready for your chosen postgraduate course with this preparatory year of specialist study. With a mix of online and face-to-face learning, UCA’s Integrated Pre-Masters is designed to give you insight into the study skills required to complete a Master’s, within the context of your creative subject. You’ll build skills in autonomous learning, forming your own targets and goals, honing your research skills, time management and professional practice.

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Pre-Masters year. On this course you’ll prepare for postgraduate study with a mix of online and face-to-face learning that will give you the study skills required to complete a Master’s, and you’ll also improve your English for academic study.

Game Design
You’ll go beneath the surface of game play to explore the inner workings and construction of a game experience. You will be introduced to frameworks of design such as dynamics, mechanics, and aesthetics and how they intersect with interactive storytelling to examine what makes a game either compelling or uninspiring entertainment.

You will reflect upon your own experience of game play and explore the history of game development to identify games with poor player experience that can be deconstructed and analysed to identify solutions for improvements. Design skills will also be tested through development of small practical prototypes. You will also consider the role and impact that collaborative working has upon game design and develop effective professional approaches to game production.

Game Studies
You will explore the rich tapestry and depth of culture and society to understand how they intersect with the psychology of game play, design, and audience experience. You will be introduced to research methodology that will enable you to investigate a range of historical and contemporary contexts to devise your own hypothesises about the trajectory of game design.

This unit challenges you to question the ethical relationship between the designer and their game world and consider how various strata of game design decisions and issues of representation relating to sexuality, gender, and race intersect with and raise issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion. You will also consider how issues of representation within games shape game cultures and lead to toxic social environments for gamers from a diverse range of identities.

Prototyping Lab 1: Genre
Genre is a fundamental aspect of the digital games industry. The impact of genre intersects with audience expectations and permeates everything from media coverage and marketing to key production decisions around technology, mechanics, narrative and aesthetics.

You will investigate the process and project management tools used in game design production, and you will have opportunities to test the pre-production, production and postproduction cycle from the perspective of a range of developer roles and methods.

Prototyping Lab 2: Affect
The desire to convey mood, provoke emotion and generate atmosphere is driven by game affect. You will get to master the game design cycle by developing game prototypes through the experimentation of game affects and your exploration of how they intersect with player experience.

This unit will hone your application of the game design cycle and understanding of integrating design concepts to create innovative game projects and pitch them effectively in preparation of your final major project.

Human Centred Design
You will develop your appreciation of human-centred design, and in turn create intuitive, enjoyable, and desirable games, while accounting for the diversity of users and generating a critical perspective that queries a monolithic model of a human “user” or “player”.

Final Major Project and Professional Practice
The culmination of your studies is the opportunity to deliver and original game design project that will exhibit the level of accomplishment that you have developed within your practice through the previous units and use it to promote your professional industry presence as a games designer.

You will research and develop an idea to create an original games design project. The project will demonstrate your understanding of the critical theories and debates, including those relating to issues of representation and its connection to the formation of game cultures, that intersect game design and game play.

Alongside the final major project, you will also be developing your understanding of careers within the Games industry, including employers and opportunities that might attract you. You will support this through enhancing your online professional presence.

Tuition fees - 2023 entry

UK students:

  • Integrated Pre-Masters course - £10,500
  • MA course - £10,500

EU students:

  • Integrated International Pre-Masters course - £10,500 (see fee discount information)
  • MA course - £10,500 (see fee discount information)

International students:

  • Integrated International Pre-Masters course (30 weeks) - £17,500
  • Integrated International Pre-Masters course (15 weeks) - £8,750
  • MA course - £17,500

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials. These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. Please see the Additional Course Costs section of your Course Information for details of the costs you may incur.

Further information
For more detailed information about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to please see our fees and finance pages.

The fees listed here are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.

To support our students and alumni to progress to the next level of study, we have developed a new range of fee discounts across a range of courses.


Our outstanding computer games studios have high-end PCs dedicated to games design with games systems and interactivity software including Maya, Photoshop and Substance, and Unity and Unreal games engines. There are also sound production studios, a Foley studio and pro tools suites. There is a modern library with a wealth of books, journals, special collections and online resources.

Games studios, UCA Farnham

Games studio, UCA Farnham

Sound studios, UCA Farnham

Library, UCA Farnham

Explore our Gradshow

Visit our grad show site to see the incredible work created by our graduating students

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

MA course

  • An honours degree or equivalent qualification in the subject or a related discipline


  • Relevant work experience, demonstrating your ability to study at postgraduate level.

Consideration will also be given to applicants who can make a strong case for admission in relation to a particular project and can demonstrate their potential to satisfactorily complete the course.

MA course with Integrated Pre-Masters course

A recognised bachelor degree or 3 year diploma with a strong portfolio in a relevant subject.

Check the equivalent qualifications for your country and the English language requirements:

  • Non-UK equivalent qualifications
  • English language requirements
  • MA course with Integrated International Pre-Masters course
    A recognised bachelor degree or 3 year diploma with a strong portfolio in a relevant subject.

    Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?
    You may be able to enter the course through the following entry pathways:

    MA course
    MA course with Integrated Pre-Masters course
    MA course with Integrated International Pre-Masters course

    For these courses, we’ll need to see your visual or written portfolio for review. We’ll invite you to upload your portfolio online via your Applicant Portal – further information will be provided once you have applied. If you would prefer to meet the Academic Team in person for a review of your work on campus, this can also be arranged for you.

    More portfolio advice

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