Developed with leading industry partners, this accelerated full-time two-year degree has been designed to challenge ambitious and talented students and prepare them for a career in in the emerging worlds of digital, mobile, games, and other fields of interactive entertainment.
Throughout the course, team-working, communication and other transferable professional skills are both taught and learned through experience.
If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. Next year’s course will also have a new name: Video Game Digital Art - BA (Hons). We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.
The course covers both core and technical art skills. Core art skills will develop your drawing, composition and visual communication skills. Technical art skills will focus on 2D and 3D graphics, texturing, User Interface Design, game, and art pipelines for interactive products.
Building upon your core and technical art skills, you’ll be tasked with specific roles within live projects giving you the opportunity to specialise your skills further into character art, environment art, visual effects, concept art and other art disciplines.
You will be provided with a structured programme of learning, in line with your chosen specialism of digital art, which encourages an ability to design imaginatively in response to market intelligence and audience insight, while developing efficient production skills and processes to create artwork that also complies with the technical constraints of interactive entertainment hardware.
Teaching takes place in a modern production studio based in Birmingham City Centre where you’ll be provided with studio space to complete projects and a laptop with all the software you’ll need for the duration of the course.
You will be taught by staff with experience in the industry, having worked with game developers such as Free Radical Design, Codemasters, Freestyle Games and EA Games, while Programme Director Zuby Ahmed founded his own company, SmashMouth Games.
This course offers students exceptional learning opportunities both to develop their own personal art practice and learn how to work effectively in an art team. If you are a committed and enthusiastic individual we’d love to hear from you. Oliver Williams, Course Director
Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 11 June 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.
Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
Applicants will also need a good portfolio and example of written work to bring to interview at an Applicant Visit Day. See Portfolio Guidance tab.
At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications and/or experience will be accepted
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2016/17|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBB at A Level, excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking (300 points)|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including merit or higher in 20 credits at Level 3. Media related Access courses only.|
|BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)||D*D* combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 320 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||DDM (320 points)|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 320 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Distinction|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||30 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||300 points, including 4 higher level passes|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||300 points, including 3 higher level passes|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points|
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2016/17|
|IELTS||6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any bands) or equivalent|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||30 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2016/17 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.
To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:
280 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
be predicted DMM profile at BTEC level
You will also be required to attend an interview.
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||2 years||£9,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||2 years||£12,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
We would like you to bring along some of your work which demonstrates your abilities and interest in the specific discipline you are applying for. This will provide valuable support for your application and enable the academic team to make a prompt and appropriate decision. We are looking for commitment with teamwork, innovation with discipline, empowerment with accountability, and finally enthusiasm.
We require you to bring the following:
Please ensure that any work you bring along is clearly labelled with your name and UCAS number.
There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). NTI Birmingham courses aim to connect students with industry locally, nationally and globally, in alignment with student aspirations. Opportunities to engage with industry in an alternative location are always promoted but are never compulsory so students can make a decision based around their individual responsibilities, lifestyle and finances.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
During the first year, you will study five taught modules giving you an introduction to the role of an artist in game development. Teaching methods may include practical sessions, lectures and group debates, featuring input from both University staff and guest lecturers from industry, providing you with a wide range of practical knowledge and insight. On average, these modules feature around 12 hours of teaching time per week.
In addition, you will undertake two project modules, working on specific tasks in partnership with industry. During the project modules, you will be in the studio every day, from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, with some Fridays given to you as “Google Fridays” so that you may work on your own projects. There will be “strategic alignment” periods where you team up with students from the Digital Marketing and Games Development courses to work on the project as one group.
Art Fundamentals (Skills and Appreciation)
This module provides a grounding in traditional art practice, promoting hand drawing skills as a means to capture, nurture and communicate the essence of an idea, structure or form. You will be introduced to graphics software, developing skills in 2D art production, while reviewing others’ work to gain an appreciation of diverse art styles.
Art For Branding
This module looks at designing artwork in response to a defined commercial need; visuals aimed at communicating a particular set of values, and stimulating a planned emotional response and action from the audience. You will be challenged to analyse art styles and review the influence of your choices on audience comprehension of the narrative/message.
This module takes a closer look at interface design and the importance of planning flow, structure and interaction to provide an intuitive and meaningful experience for the user. You will develop GUI design skills, continuing to hone your 2D art production practice through practical application, refining workflow patterns and an understanding of platform requirements.
Concept Development and Visualisation
This module focuses on developing concepts into digital visualisations. You will be introduced to a range of software enabling you to create 3D visualisations using modelling, motion and effects techniques. This will equip you with skills you need to participate in production in your specialist area. You will also learn about pitching ideas to marketers/product owners.
Interactive Entertainment Production for Brands
You will focus on defining and planning art production requirements to satisfy user and product needs, ensuring a consistent and rewarding user experience. You will be introduced to the challenges of production for games including complex GUI challenges, user feedback/testing, art style definition/production planning, game engines, and communicating with marketing and software development teams.
Interactive Entertainment Production: One
This is the first of the production modules that will enable you to put your specialist skills and developing professional skills into practice, working as part of a multi-disciplinary production team. This module looks at the importance of targeting the right audience and creating a user experience that will trigger the right response.
During your second year, there will be a further five taught modules, with more opportunities to learn from guest lecturers. Teaching time during these modules will again be around 12 hours per week.
You will undertake one major project module, where you will go through the process of scoping, defining and pitching the creation of your own project, which may include your own art assets, a new product, or even working with an industry partner to create digital content for them.
If you are creating your own product, you may wish to partner up with the Game Development students, with periodical help from Digital Marketing students, where “strategic alignment” periods will help you to go through the planning, production management and testing phases of product delivery. During the project module, you will be in the studio every day, from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday (again with some Fridays given to you as “Google Fridays” so that you may work on your own projects.).
Professional Art Disciplines, Environment and Character
This module focuses on 3D art production, giving insight into two key game art production disciplines: Environment and Character. You will develop 3D art production skills using a range of software, while being encouraged to evaluate your strengths and potential career choices. You will create your own online presence to demonstrate your digital art skills.
Professional Art Disciplines, Animation
This module focuses on the art production discipline of Animation. You will develop animation process skills including walk cycles, rigging and skinning, using models that were created in the previous module. You will also be encouraged to evaluate individual strengths and potential career choices.
Product Development: Concept and Vision
This module builds on previous knowledge and practice of concept art, to look at ‘concepting’ as an aid to development processes in complex interactive products, and to support communication in a pitching situation. You will begin to focus your art production towards a discipline area, in line with your career goals.
Product Development: Prototype
This module focuses on defining product specifications and process protocol within a creative development team, and prototyping as a vital development phase. You will develop skills in creating digital asset management documentation and your understanding of artwork requirements for prototyping purposes.
Product Development: Production Planning
This module looks at Scrum, an agile framework for managing developmental projects, and the potential benefits of adopting this self-organising approach for appraising and refining ongoing work practices in relation to a projects overall progress. You will be challenged to review outputs and be responsive to emerging situations and quality issues.
Interactive Entertainment Production: Two
This production module looks at applying gamification and game design principles during the production of a targeted campaign/interactive entertainment product. You will focus on developing the characterisation concepts, producing finished artwork and refining game asset production processes. You will also learn about designing and writing presentations/pitch documents and dealing with external clients.
Product Development: Production Three
This module looks at the feasibility of bringing a complex interactive entertainment product to market, taking you through the process of scoping, defining and pitching a new game through to the planning, production management and testing phases. You will focus on producing quality digital art assets in line with the product’s strategy and target audience.
This is a two year accelerated undergraduate degree course with professional digital art studio experience embedded as part your learning journey.
You'll be assessed in a variety of different ways, including practical project work – both group and individual – presentations, written reports, practical portfolios and oral exams.
Assessment is embedded into the course, which will mean your learning experience isn't constantly interrupted by assessment. You are also assessed on your work within a project delivery team while you are based in our simulated studio environment.
The course is structured around teaching you new skills and allowing you the freedom to experiment and experience putting your new skills into practice through live projects.
Typically, this means modules are split into taught sections and studio sessions.
The Interactive Entertainment courses are all about providing you with crucial experience-based learning you'll need for your career, so you'll be required to attend full-time, 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday during the course to truly simulate the work place and the accelerated through the course in two years.
All students on the programme will be issued with a laptop to use whilst on the course, this computer will be preloaded with all the industry-standard software required to complete the assignments and roles within the studio.
On the course, you'll be taught by established industry professionals with a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm, who are experienced at recognising and responding to the rapidly changing demands within the industry.
You'll be assessed in a variety of different ways, including practical project work – both group and individual, presentations, written and practical portfolios as well as traditional art and oral exams.
You are also assessed on your work within a project delivery team whilst you are based within our simulated studio environment.
Assessment is embedded into the course, which will mean your learning experience isn't constantly interrupted by assessment; allowing you to concentrate on becoming an effective team member.
Students on the Interactive Entertainment degree courses at Birmingham City University work on live briefs with real clients. Here we follow some students on a 10-week project with the Wellcome Trust.
This undergraduate course has been specifically designed to follow on to our the following postgraduate courses at NTI Birmingham:
If you complete one of our MAs after your degree, you'll gain further valuable studio experience, industry connections and a Master’s qualification in the same length of time most students take to gain an undergraduate degree!
Alternatively, Birmingham School of Media at Birmingham City University offers a wide range of MA courses, allowing you to specialise in such areas as online journalism, social media, photography or event management. Master’s courses within the School of Visual Communication and Birmingham School of Art are also available.
Within the wider School of Media, we also invest significantly in our postgraduate provision as we recognise that more specialist and professional courses are required across the media industry.
By the time you graduate, a whole year before most students, you’ll have two years of tangible, games development studio experience under your belt, ready to launch your dream career as a digital artist.
On successful completion of the programme, you will be able to:
Our track record for graduate employment at NTI Birmingham and Birmingham School of Media is excellent, with the majority of graduates going into a media/advertising/games-related role.
Teaching staff identify periodic job placement opportunities throughout the course. In addition, ‘Gamification’ systems are built into programme delivery, allowing students to earn the chance for work placements.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.
The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.
So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.
Overall measures: ranked positions
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
The New Technology Institute (NTI) is a part of Birmingham City University's City Centre Campus at University House.
We help you learn a specific discipline such as digital marketing, programming or art and put that discipline into practice by offering flexible teaching space, dedicated development studios and open access work areas for group projects, as well as course-specific facilities.
Iain Harrison is a Senior Lecturer and Studio Manager at Birmingham City University’s NTI Birmingham, working as part of the Gamer Camp team teaching the MA/MSc in Video Games Development.
Graduating from Coventry University in 1997, Iain joined the team at the end of August 2011 and oversees the development of game artists on Gamer Camp. Currently, he is working on providing a more structured development process for trainees; by helping them focus on the skills needed to become a first-class artist.