Games Design at UCA

MA Games Design 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. 

The curriculum blends technical skills with creative practice and academic rigour. In this sense, it is a 'generalist course' rather than one focused on a technological approach to games design. This course focuses on three areas: skills, project management, and research.  

You will develop your portfolio as a solo developer, or collaborating in a team, culminating in a final major project to produce and complete vertical slice of a digital game product. Not only will you gain valuable experience in games production, but you will also gain a scholarly understanding of the creative industries more generally, and enhance invaluable skills such as interdisciplinary communication, project management, and collaboration. 


Course entry options

Select from the options below to find out more about the different study options available for this course:

Accreditations, partners and industry connections

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The Rookies is a leading platform for digital artists to promote their work and assists members in preparing for industry. It also helps students find a school and course that’s right for them with its directory of accredited schools.

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What you'll study

What you'll

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

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.

Expressive Game Design 
From basic design tools to conceptualizing, prototyping and critically play testing games, you will be able to craft and formalise game systems tailored towards end user engagement. Within this unit you will design and prototype compelling game mechanics for immersive play, which can support a given message, or meaning other than for commercial entertainment. You will also reflect on your own experience of play, while exploring key historical games to identify a poor player connection. These will be analysed and deconstructed with the aim of identifying design solutions that would enhance the game loop, benefiting the end user experience and positively reimagining the product. 

Games Research and Professional Contexts 1 
You will learn to synthesise theoretical research methods and industry practices of game evaluation to provide a critically informed and reflective toolset for analysing and critically assessing games, gameplay experiences, and their practice. There is also a professional practice strand of this unit, that provides you with industry and practitioner-led insights into how game design and art practices are analysed and assessed within the game development process.  

Prototyping Lab: Genre and Affect 
You will have the opportunity to create innovative game design prototypes, which demonstrate an understanding of how games design must take account of, and subvert genre conventions and produce affects (emotion, mood, sensation) in the player.  

Games Research and Professional Contexts 2 
In this unit, you will learn a range of key theories, concepts, and debates relevant to video games including player typologies, cultures, experiences of immersion and affect. It provides a platform for a dialogue between critical, scholarly perspectives and professional practice, and you will be encouraged to produce a reflective synthesis on these sometimes-disparate elements.  

This unit incorporates a Creative Start-up component, where you will have an exciting opportunity to develop your knowledge, skills and attitudes in a real-world business context, and enables you to develop your confidence and strengthen your CV.  

Games Design Major Project 
This is the culmination of the course and enables the synthesis of the knowledge and skills acquired in all the previous units. It will require you to undertake a specialist and challenging project of your interest and choosing in games design, and will demonstrate a professional level of accomplishment. Optionally, the project may also involve collaboration with industry. The project will encompass research, design, development, and evaluation stages, which will be suitably planned and documented and accompanied by a set of digital assets and artefacts produced by the project. 

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.

Fees & funding

Fees & financial support

Tuition fees

  • 2024/25 entry: £10,500

Tuition fees

Tuition fees

  • 2024/25 entry (MA): £18,000
  • 2024/25 entry (Integrated International Pre-Masters course - 30 weeks): £17,500
  • 2024/25 entry (Integrated International Pre-Masters course - 15 weeks): £8,750

Please note: the fees listed here are correct for the stated academic year only. For more detailed information about our course fees please see our fees and finance pages

UCA scholarships and fee discounts

At UCA we have a number of financial support information available to assist you with the cost of your studies.

Current UCA students and alumni may be eligible for a tuition fee discount.

Financial support

There are lots of ways you can access additional financial support to help you fund your studies - both from UCA and from external sources. Discover what support you might qualify for please see our scholarships and fee discounts.

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.


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.

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Games studios, UCA Farnham

VR motion capture studio, UCA Farnham

Games studios, UCA Farnham

Games studio, UCA Farnham

Career opportunities


Our students have previously graduated to find themselves within easily accessible pathways that have guided them to prosperous and fulfilling job roles within the games industry:

  • Concept designer
  • Game designer
  • Games developer
  • Multi-media programmer
  • Multi-media specialist
  • Software engineer
  • VFX Artist

You may also wish to progress onto a PhD or MPhil research degree.

Entry & portfolio requirements

Entry & portfolio

MA course

  • A good honours degree or equivalent qualification in 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.

Portfolio requirements

For this course we will need to see your portfolio for review. You can either submit a digital portfolio or request an in-person portfolio review with the course team. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

MA course

The entry requirements for this course will depend on the country your qualifications are from, please check the equivalent qualifications for your country:

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

You will be required to submit a portfolio for review. Further information on specific portfolio requirements and how to submit your portfolio will be sent to you after we have reviewed your application.

MA course with Integrated International Pre-Masters course

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

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

You will be required to submit a portfolio for review. Further information on specific portfolio requirements and how to submit your portfolio will be sent to you after we have reviewed your application.

English language requirements

To study at UCA, you'll need to have a certain level of English language skill. And so, to make sure you meet the requirements of your course, we ask for evidence of your English language ability, please check the level of English language required:

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry pathways:

Apply now

Please use the following fields to help select the right application link for you: