MA Games Design

Please Note

Applications for 2016/17 entry are now closed and will re-open in Autumn 2016 for 2017/18 entry.

Rooted in experimental practice, MA Games Design ensures that students are equipped with both the technical and critical skills that allow them to produce a broad portfolio of innovative game prototypes. They also explore concepts of goal, challenge and obstacle through critical evaluation in order to understand the motive forces of play that operate in game design.

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.

Additional costs: In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. We strongly suggest you read the information on our Additional Costs page.  

Programme Director Ben Stopher discusses the new MA Games Design course on the LCC Blog.
Image © Lewis Bush

Watch // Students and mentors take part in a 2 day Game Jam

LCC staff and students pose for a photo at the MA Games Design stand.

Funding opportunities

Find out about the range of funding options available for postgraduate study.

Use UAL's fees and funding calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Facts

Course Leader

David King (Acting Course Leader)

Course Location

London College of Communication 
Elephant and Castle
Find Us

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)
Home/EU Fee

£8,250 (to be confirmed for 2017/18)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount.
Course fees may be paid in instalments.
A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL. 

International Fee

£17,230 (to be confirmed for 2017/18)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount.
Course fees may be paid in instalments.
A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

Start Date25 September 2017
Application Route

Applications for 2016/17 entry are now closed. Applications for 2017/18 entry will open in Autumn 2016.

Content and Structure

Content

MA Games Design critically examines the concept of play to conceptually frame the practice of games design. You will produce playable prototype gaming experiences and use games design as a means to test critical ideas from broader culture.

The course is particularly interested in how games design principles are being used more generally and how these ideas impact upon our increasingly digital culture. MA Games Design will enable you to understand and articulate the unique value of game experience to an increasingly interested design industry and allow you to understand the value of your game experience prototypes.

Building on LCC's resources, in digital, time-based and interactive media alongside printmaking, graphic design and visual communication, the course encourages experimental and reflective practice that echoes the cross media nature of the design, communication and media industries.

The course also supports progression to research at MPhil/PhD level as well as to advanced self-directed experimental practice.

Structure

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves six units, totalling 180 credits.

You will respond to briefs that are set to test the learning in the units described below:

Autumn, Term 1

Units Summary:

  • Design and Prototyping (40 credits)
  • Understanding Gaming Experience (20 credits)

In Term 1, students explore a range of both technical and conceptual approaches to games design and development, and work with a range of technologies by producing playable prototypes.

Students will engage in critical study that significantly expands their understanding of what gaming experience is and how it operates at both the level of the individual and society. This phase is the technical and conceptual basis for the subsequent phases of the course.

Spring, Term 2

Units Summary:

  • Critical Play and Experimental Development (40 credits)
  • Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

In Term 2, students specifically develop games that reflect the critical context set in term one and test these issues through the design and production of critical games. 

This practice is underpinned by a programme that gives students the technical skills to be able to experiment widely with various games design technologies and platforms when prototyping their critical games. Term 2 specifically contains a cross-College collaborative unit.

Summer, Term 3

Units Summary:

  • Critical Play and Experimental Development (continued)
  • Final Major Project and Thesis (60 credits)

In Term 3, students synthesise the knowledge, skills and experience from the first two terms of the course in the production of a self-directed project and associated thesis.  

Autumn, Term 4

Units Summary:

  • Final Major Project and Thesis (continued)

If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.

Course Structure

The information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.

Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.

In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.

Staff

The course is delivered by a range of full time, part time and visiting staff all of whom are experts and practitioners in their fields.

Acting Course Leader: David King

Associate Lecturer: Professor Karen Cham

Careers

Career pathways

Graduates of the course will be equipped to work in an increasingly technologically informed and interdisciplinary design world with in-depth skills in the following areas: game design and production both 3D and 2D visual communication for games, narrative and sequential image making and time-based design as well as having a portfolio of personal work to enable you to seek work across the games sector.

A significant proportion of graduates of MA Games Design may also want to practice as commercial games designers.

Student Jobs and Careers at UAL

We are here to help you establish your career and achieve success in your chosen field. Our strong relationships with industry give our students exclusive opportunities and access to networks and funding.

Careers and Employability is dedicated to helping students build up work-relevant skills, knowledge, experience and networks throughout your time here. 

Creative Opportunities is the UAL job and work placement website for students and graduates, advertising hundreds of creative opportunities each month. This includes ArtsTemps in-house recruitment agency, placing students and graduates in paid temping roles within the University.

UAL houses a number of organisations which promote aspects of career development in the arts and media, and which hold regular workshops and careers fairs. These include:

  • Own-It (intellectual property issues)
  • ArtQuest (career development resource for artists and designers)

Entry Requirements

Recruitment and admissions

Applicants will need to demonstrate sufficient prior knowledge and detail experience of and/or potential in games design, and/or coding and design practice to be able to successfully complete the programme of study. Applicants also need to demonstrate a good knowledge of visual culture and be able to engage in critical discussion.

Entry requirements (Home/EU/International)

Applicants are expected to have an honours degree in a subject such as games design, animation, illustration, visual communication or graphic design or a closely related area, and present a portfolio of image-led work and project proposal.

The course aims to appeal to art and design graduates who are interested in expanding their experience by investigating emerging areas of games design practice. However, we will consider applicants who have graduated from other related disciplines. 

Coding experience

Entry onto the course requires that you have some experience of coding. This maybe HTML/CSS/JavaScript or others such as actionscript, Java, C++ etc. Your level of experience can be quite low, as we will upskill applicants where needed, but you need to be comfortable with learning code and understand key concepts such as 'for loops' and 'conditional if' statements. 

This level of experience would have been gained by studying an undergraduate multimedia course in art and design, pre-university qualifications in computer science, multimedia and/or web authoring or advanced self-taught practice of coding through free services such as codecademy.com.

Alternative entry routes

We welcome applicants with relevant professional and vocational qualifications, or mature students who do not have formal qualifications but do have relevant experience in industry. Students applying to this course will be expected to demonstrate a specific interest in this area of study and should have a commitment to engaging with games design. Students applying on the basis of their previous experience or wish to enter the course through the Accreditation of Experiential Learning (AEL) or Accreditation of Certificated Learning (ACL) processes and will be guided by our admissions staff.

Language requirements (International/EU)

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability when you enrol.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent), with no less than 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • You can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

Portfolio advice

All applicants must submit portfolio of work with their application. You can supply your portfolio electronically via a website, or on CD, or as a PDF with links to web projects and media assets.

Applications will be shortlisted and those candidates will be invited for an interview at the College. Telephone or Skype interviews can also be arranged if you live outside of the UK.

Your portfolio must include:

  • Examples of image-led and visual work from either previous education or professional practice. 
  • A minimum of five projects and self-initiated projects are also encouraged. 

Project Proposal (400 - 800 words)

You will be expected to outline an idea for your major project in your application. This should describe your area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of your intended project.

Your proposal should also include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and the methodology.

It is important to recognise that these ideas will inevitably develop and change across your year of study on the course and only serve to inform your application at this stage.

Funding

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

If you need more information about funding please email funding@arts.ac.uk or visit Postgraduate Funding page.

How to Apply

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires two references). 

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Personal statement

Please say why you are applying for this course.

Portfolio

Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

Further information will be available shortly.

Project Proposal (400 - 800 words)

You will be expected to outline an idea for your major project in your application. This should describe your area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of your intended project. 

Your proposal should also include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and the methodology. 

It is important to recognise that these ideas will inevitably develop and change across your year of study on the course and only serve to inform your application at this stage.

Start your application now

Applications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

Make an enquiry