Skip to main content
Postgraduate

MA Games Design

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours
Joel Furguson, 2019. MA Games Design, London College of Communication, UAL.
College
London College of Communication
Start date
September 2023
Course length
1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

Rooted in experimental practice, MA Games Design at LCC will equip you with both the technical and critical skills to produce a broad portfolio of innovative game prototypes.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Freedom to explore through practice: respond to live briefs, learn through creating and find your unique position between coding and making.
  • Experiences beyond the screen: make games in the widest sense – including physical, experiential, critical and socially-reflective games across both digital and non-digital – and discover the possibilities of playable experiences.
  • Connect with industry: engage with gaming industry professionals and plug-in to contemporary design practices through our range of guest lectures, events, trips, and visits to conferences.
  • Develop your portfolio: create finished products, exhibit work and graduate with a high quality and diverse portfolio that will prepare you for a career in the games, interaction and wider design industries.
  • Collaborate beyond the boundaries of games design: work with animators, interaction designers, sound artists, graphic designers, filmmakers across UAL’s diverse network of artists, designers, makers and communicators.

Open Evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be announced soon.

Course overview

On MA Games Design, you’ll critically examine the concept of play in relation to your practice. You'll produce playable gaming experiences and use games design as a means to test critical ideas from broader culture.

Your practice will be underpinned by rigorous research, case-studies of existing games and critical reflection of your own practice through academic writing.

What to expect

  • Studio experience, where you’ll work alongside and with other students on independent and small group projects.
  • A combination of taught content and supported independent learning on personally selected projects.
  • A combination of experimental, practical game design projects underpinned with research and writing on game design theory.
  • Freedom to work in a range of genres and different mediums of play while utilising the range of diverse facilities within LCC, such as printmaking, electronics and the 3D workshop.
  • You’ll learn programming and development tools to create small playable experiences.
  • You’ll develop your game portfolio and academic skills to progress into research at MPhil/PhD-level, or advanced, self-directed experimental practice.

Work experience and opportunities

Core to the course design is creating an industry-ready portfolio of games that reflects your personal creative practice.

To diversify and expand the range of the course content, speakers from industry will be invited to provide guest lectures and discussions on a range of subjects in which they have personal and professional experience.

You’ll also have opportunities to take part in exhibitions and events. Past students have exhibited their work at Tate Modern and the V&A Museum, and have gone on to exhibit their games across the world.

Mode of Study

MA Games Design is in Full Time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study.

Course units

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits.The MA course structure involves five units, totalling 180 credits.You will respond to briefs that are set to test your learning, in the units described below:

Autumn, term 1

Design and Prototyping (40 credits)

You’ll prototype a range of playable games in different mediums and genres, focussing on testing concepts and ideas. You’ll also analyse and compare game mechanics and systems from existing games to gain an understanding of specific games design elements.

Spring, term 2

Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

Working with other students from across the College or external partners, you’ll explore the influence of different subject knowledge areas and technical skills on your game design practice, resulting in a playable outcome.

Understanding Play (20 credits)

You’ll utilise both primary and secondary research to gain a critical understanding of game design theory on a subject of your choice, and you’ll consider both the existing academic writing on game design theory and utilising theory from other subject areas.

Summer, term 3

Critical Play and Development (40 credits)

You’ll explore how the mechanics of play can be used in your own practice to express meaning and convey a message by developing a playable game experience. You’ll examine games as a form of literature, which can be deconstructed and critically analysed.

Final Major Project and Thesis (60 credits)

Synthesising the knowledge, skills and experience from the previous units of the course, you’ll produce a self-directed project and associated thesis.

Autumn, term 4

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.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures/large group learning
  • Workshop and seminar learning
  • Academic tutorials
  • Individual and group critiques
  • Individual project work
  • Self-directed learning
  • Assessed assignments
  • Technical workshops
  • Demonstrations

Online Open Day

Course Leader, David King, gives an overview of studying MA Games Design at London College of Communication.

Graduate showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Graduate Showcase

  • Limbs of the Dead
    Limbs of the Dead, Jacky Cheong, 2021 MA Games Design, London College of Communication, UAL
  • 19 Bloesem Street
    19 Bloesem Street, Ya Gao, 2021 MA Games Design, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Chekhov's Gone!
    Chekhov's Gone!, Thomas Martin, 2021 MA Games Design, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Black Box
    Black Box, Luke Head, 2021 MA Games Design, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Methodica (experimental navigation game)
    Methodica (experimental navigation game), Valeria Voronkova, 2021 MA Games Design, London College of Communication, UAL

What is MA Games Design?

Course Leader, David King talks through what MA Games Design is at London College of Communication.

Student work

Course playlist

Student voices: Valeria Voronkova

Valeria's final project is a 3D light navigation exploration game called Methodica.

Student voices: Xingzhi Zheng

Xingzhi talks to us about i-click-you, the game he created for the Postgraduate Showcase.

Student voices: Akshay Jain

Akshay talks us through his final year sports game, Bowl Story.

Tap Dungeon

Game by Ata Weng

All In One-A-Ma-Tron

Game by Ed Naujokas

Too Many Cooks

Game by Jai Bunnag and Chris Li

Facilities

  • Student reading a book in between two bookshelves in the Library
    Students in the Digital Space. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
    Digital Space

    The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

  • A 3D model of a wolf produced by an animation student.
    Image © Lewis Bush
    Animation and Games

    Learn about the resources on offer to students studying Animation and Games Design.

  • Students using the computers in the Digital Space
    Student in Creative Technology Lab, 2020. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Tim Boddy
    Creative Technology Lab

    A multi-purpose space that supports students with: Creative Coding, Physical Computing, Projection Mapping, Games, and Virtual Reality.

Course stories

Visiting and Special Lecturers

Teaching on the course is also complemented by a range of visiting practitioners from the games and wider design industries. Previous and regular visiting lecturers have included:

Fees and funding

Home fee

£12,700

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£25,970

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

An applicant will normally be considered for admission if they have achieved an educational level equivalent to an honours degree in either games design, animation, illustration, visual communication or graphic design or closely related subject, 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, or who have relevant industry experience.

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.

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.

Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • OR a combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

Selection criteria

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Sufficient prior knowledge and experience of and/or potential in games design and/or coding and design practice to be able to successfully complete the programme of study and have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject.
  • Knowledge of the world of visual culture and ability to engage in critical discussion.

Apply now

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • First, they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement, portfolio and study proposal
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal/project proposal
  • Video task

Start your application now

The online application 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 press submit.

Apply now

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Personal statement advice

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Games Design. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in Games Design and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future.

This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

Study proposal/project proposal advice (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.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

The round 1 deadline has been changed to 19 December to give you more time to make your application.

When you'll hear from us

If this course requires a digital portfolio as part of the application process, we will contact you to invite you to submit this through UAL’s online submission tool, PebblePad. For Round 1 applications, you will need to submit your portfolio by 9 January 2023 at the latest and by 20 April 2023 for Round 2.

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in 2 rounds, after each application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about the outcome of your application until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by (at the latest) end of March and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by end of June 2023.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • First, they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement, portfolio and study proposal
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Please note: we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas). Read our immigration and visa information to find out if you need a visa to study at UAL.

You can only apply to the same course once per year. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn. For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal/project proposal

Start your application now

There are 2 ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course:

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not 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.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Personal statement advice

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Games Design. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in Games Design and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future.

This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

Study proposal/project proposal advice (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.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in two rounds. This means that offers won’t be sent to successful applicants until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by 31 March 2022 and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by 30 June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal. Please add @arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.

Please log into the portal, as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, and you can contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

Portfolio and interview information

All applicants will be expected to submit an electronic portfolio as part of their application.

Your portfolio must include (5-10 images):

  • 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.
  • If you have links to web projects or media assets, please note these in your CV.

We are specifically looking to see strong evidence of design, interaction, coding or other relevant skills for games design. Please include, images, videos and ideally links to interactive and playable content. Where the content is not games related, please provide additional context for why you believe that it is relevant.

Not all applicants to this course come from a traditional ‘design’ background and therefore you may not have a developed portfolio of images. If this is the case, please submit any images that you feel demonstrate your creative ability. These could be concepts for games, game artefacts, illustrations or any other visually indicative content that you have produced.

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will be held online, and details will be sent via the UAL Portal.

Video task

  • We'd like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you.
  • Please speak clearly in English and face the camera.
  • Your video task is submitted along with your portfolio via PebblePad. Read our guidance for more information about how to submit your video task and the file types we accept.

As part of your video task please respond to the following direction:

We would like you to identify one project from your portfolio which challenged you and your understanding of Games Design. Explain how this experience has inspired you to apply to MA Games Design at London College of Communication.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Requesting feedback

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview.

We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf. If you would like to request feedback  please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course.

Careers

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.