Games Design MA

UCA Farnham - 2021

Length of study:

One year full-time


UCA Farnham

Entry requirements:

Honours degree and/or relevant work experience

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Course entry options:

September 2021

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Course overview

MA Games Design will challenge and expand your critical understanding and experiential design techniques for the dynamic games of tomorrow. You will explore different perspectives on game-play, developing compelling and exciting new work to take you to the next level.

You will have the opportunity to examine audience engagement through a variety of approaches to the widening field of games. You will also explore games through the expanding possibilities of interactive experiences.

You will investigate the context of contemporary games and games culture. You will also consider games in other contexts, such as Applied Games (also known as Serious Games), as well as research, education and healthcare together with how it can inform other creative disciplines like film and architecture.

You will apply your skills beyond just creating entertainment and explore other areas, such as avant-garde and games with purpose. You will explore the game mechanics of interaction and immersion, employ new technologies and creative approaches (Expanded Reality - XR), and build upon your existing digital design skills and technical knowledge. You will also be encouraged to take part in UCA Game Jams, as well as attending many external games events and festivals.

You will be taught in outstanding studios, with dedicated industry hardware and software. You will also have access VR development facilities, allowing games to be deployed to a variety of platforms, and have access to our unique library of console, PC, board and card games.

Delivering the course is a team of lecturers with games development experience and experience from related creative and research backgrounds. You will also have talks by and meet visiting lecturers from high-profile gaming companies and backgrounds.

The South East of England, where UCA Farnham is uniquely positioned, is home to a significant proportion of the UK games industry – including Rocksteady Studios, Supermassive Games, EA, Rebellion, Fireproof Games, nDreams, Two Point Studios, Gears For Breakfast, Supergonk, Failbetter Games and Weather Factory – offering many opportunities for off-site visits and trips, games networking events and other cross-course activities.

The campus is only 20 minutes away from Guildford – dubbed the Hollywood of computer games – and just 55 minutes from London, locating two of the three largest games industry hubs in the UK, as well as up-and-coming Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) industry. Studying so close to Guildford and London will give you access to the UK’s largest technology incubation and games industry start-ups. 

Accredited by:

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Course details

  • Term one

    Thinking, Prototyping and Practice
    You will examine advanced, specialist tools, methods, concepts and processes relevant to games, and develop your interactive development skills in order to prototype games, while exploring the interplay between concept and outcome. You will be encouraged to explore and challenge the expanding discipline through a range of practice-based projects.

    Narrative and Play
    You’ll learn about the application of traditional story and narrative design and how it applies to games design and gameplay. This unit gives you an introduction to the art and craft of producing interactive fiction and storytelling techniques and structures for innovative games. It will provide you the opportunity to develop unique narrative and playable experiences for to expand the possibilities for gameplay using the tools and approaches available through Games.

  • Term two

    During term two you will experiment and develop game experiences with VR and AR technologies, exploring different prototype outcomes and, begin developing your MA project.

    Real and Virtual Worlds
    This unit examines the relationship between the real and virtual world and you will use different tools, methods, concepts and process to create your own virtual or mixed reality world. You will design unique and fully immersive and spatialised experiences specific to chosen audiences and consider the transition between worlds.

    Audiences and Experiences
    Through seminars, projects and supporting workshops, you will critically examine gameplay, rules and mechanics and design experiences for specific audiences, having evaluated contemporary games culture in reference to a specific audience, their needs and interests. These experiences might entertain, educate, inform, augment or challenge your audience, with some of the themes explored through this unit being further developed later in the course.

  • Term three

    In the third term of the course, you will apply the knowledge gained through your research to create a final body of work and exit portfolio.

    Realisation and Dissemination
    This unit is the culmination of your studies and an exposition of the skills, understanding and creative approach you have developed through your MA. It leads directly from the previous unit, through which you have already defined your interests, tested your ideas, and planned the production of a body of work for this unit. Through this unit you will demonstrate your in-depth subject knowledge, understanding of context, creative independence, applied ideas and innovation, technical skills, resolution (appropriate to your intended audience) and personal strategy for presenting work.

  • Fees and additional course costs

    Tuition fees
    The course fees per year for 2021 entry are:

    • UK students full-time - £10,400
    • EU students full-time - £10,400 (see fee discount information)

    • International students full-time - £17,500 (standard fee)
    • International students full-time - £16,800 (full early payment fee)

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2021 entry.

    Further information
    Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

    These fees 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.

  • Fee discounts and scholarships

    To support all of our current students and our recent UK and EU 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.

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UK applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

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International & EU applications

If you are applying for more than one course in the UK please apply via UCAS, to apply direct to UCA please use the links below:

Apply for full-time study - Year 1 - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2021:

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa

If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or

When to apply:

You can apply throughout the year but we recommend you try and apply as early as possible so you have time to arrange accommodation and visas, if required.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

  • 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.

International and EU entry requirements

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Pick Your Country

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

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

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

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

Your portfolio

For this course, you’ll be required to submit an online portfolio via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information on how to compile and upload your portfolio will be provided once you have applied. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Offer Holder Webinar where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

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