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Video Game Design - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

Our BA (Hons) Video Game Design undergraduate course responds to the growing and innovative sector by developing skilled, team-orientated, reflexive graduates ready to succeed in the field. Interactive Entertainment and Video Games development are key sectors for contemporary culture, economic growth and employment locally in the Midlands, nationally and globally....

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Games, Film and Animation
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

Our BA (Hons) Video Game Design undergraduate course responds to the growing and innovative sector by developing skilled, team-orientated, reflexive graduates ready to succeed in the field. Interactive Entertainment and Video Games development are key sectors for contemporary culture, economic growth and employment locally in the Midlands, nationally and globally.

This accelerated two-year course gives you a guaranteed video game development placement in our in-house studio. The work-place simulation approach of our department has been championed by the influential 2009 Livingstone, Hope Next Gen Report which cited us as a national best practice example for developing new talent for the games industry.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The course focuses on digital media asset production and communication. You will gain a grounding within the industry’s design and production principles while developing your creative and teamwork skills.

Building upon your design and production skills, in the first year you will be tasked with a specific role within our in-house game development studio over the summer term. This work experience gives you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and professional practices you’ve learn on the course in a safe and supportive environment. 

Throughout the two years you will be provided with a structured programme of learning, in line with your chosen specialism of video game design. The course culminates with a project you define yourself which targets a specific subsector of the video games industry.

So, 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 games developer.

When we all first started, I knew no one and thought I was completely out of my depth. However, I don’t think there could have been a better welcome at the start. I got to know all of my classmates very quickly, as well as the teaching staff, who got us involved in ice-breaker activities.

If you want to get into the video game industry, specifically as a designer or producer, I literally cannot recommend another course. BCU has incredible opportunities and has the best lecturers I have ever had in my educational life. They’re not just teachers; I would go so far as to say that I would consider them all friends because they’re all such incredible people.

Noah Rigden, student

Why Choose Us?

  • This fast-track programme provides a rare opportunity to secure a BA (Hons) degree in only two years.
  • Teaching is delivered by our team of industry practitioners, who collectively have over 100 years of video game industry experience, having worked on franchises such as EA’s ‘Battlefield’, Codemaster’s ‘Formula 1’ and Sega’s ‘Sonic’. They have also taught, trained and mentored students, graduates and practitioners, who are now successful industry developers, working at studios and publishers which include Ubisoft, Microsoft and Rockstar North.
  • During the two-year course you’ll work on numerous projects with periodic input from industry partners. Previous partners and mentors have included Codemasters, Pixel Toys, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, Microsoft’s Rare Studio and Rockstar North.
  • On the course you’ll learn a range of skills relevant and appropriate for careers in video game development specialising in design and production within fields such as component game design, level design, business development and project management.
  • BCU are winners of 'best educational initiative and talent development' at the TIGA Games Industry Awards 2023 and the Innovative Teaching Award at the TIGA Games Education Award 2023.
  • Top 5 in the UK for Animation and Games Design (Guardian League Table 2024).

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. In the week before the event, we’ll post you an event programme to plan your day and find your way.

Next Open Day: 29 June 2024

Book Now

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2024/25.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

Essential requirements

120 UCAS tariff points

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 2 years
  • £17,710 in 2024/25

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK students

UK 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.

Applying through UCAS

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

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.

3) Through UCAS

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.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement 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:

  • Course choice - Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
  • Career plans - If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
  • Work experience - Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
  • School or college experience - Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
  • Non-accredited skills or achievement - 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.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

Year two

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

Download course specification

Download now

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 stakeholder-directed live projects.

Typically, this means modules are split into taught modules and studio-based project modules.

In the taught modules the focus is on your personal development as a professional designer. You will also learn professional project management methodologies to help you deliver your design projects. You will take modules which focus on the development of skills for specific roles within the sector, for example, understanding the history and fundamentals of Game Design, looking at 2D and 3D Game Spaces, and advanced and strategic Game Design.

The Video Game Design course is all about providing you with crucial experience-based learning you'll need for your career. To this end during the summer you will be required to attend an in-house work placement. It is during these modules you’ll be using development tools such as Unity & Unreal.

This two-year accelerated undergraduate degree course has professional game development studio experience embedded as part of your learning journey.

You'll be assessed in a variety of different ways, including practical project work – both group and individual – presentations, written reports and practical portfolios.

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 in-house studio environment.

The course culminates with a project you define yourself which targets a specific subsector of the video games industry, for example; working as a component and technical designer or even managing a project using Agile Project Management methodologies (note this is not an exhaustive list of roles). You have the choice of either proposing your own individual project or collaborating with other students to create another video game project for your portfolio.

Employability

Experience on the Course

Workplace simulation and giving student indicative or real industry-standard work to complete while on their course is a core pillar of the approach and success for Digital Arts courses. 

On top of the course-specific experiences, the University has introduced the BCU Graduate+ programme, which is an extra-curricular awards framework that is designed to augment the subject-based skills that you develop through your programme with broader employability skills and techniques that will enhance your employment options.

Leading up to and upon graduation

At the end of your studies, you’ll complete a final major project, which may lead you to working directly with a client. This direct contact will give you the experience, confidence and freedom to put into action all you’ve learned on your studies. Allied with this course-specific experience you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s careers service, who can help with:

  • Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
  • Career planning and decision making
  • Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
  • Developing portfolios
  • Networking with employers
  • Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship

Placements

During the summer term of your first year, you will have the opportunity to work in a video game development team as part of the in-house placement element of the course.


Working on live projects

Whilst studying with us, you'll have the opportunity work on live briefs with real clients.


Students have also worked along postgraduates to make a mobile version of the PlayStation 4 Xtreme Drone Racing game which is being developed as part of the PlayStationFirst initiative. The mobile versions features racing against 40 drones in a variety of locations in Birmingham, geotagged content and extensive drone customisation.

Graduate stories

Arthur Fostier- employability tab VGDP

Arthur Fostier
Gameplay Designer, Pixel Toys

I’m currently working on a mobile strategy title entitled “Realm War” where I’m responsible for balancing the different units in the game. This involves a deep understanding of all kinds of interactions and mechanics of each unit, as well as being informed in regards to how users are playing the game. The production element of the course has been immensely useful for my role at Pixel Toys, as it gave me a better understanding of how to realistically go through the many steps of content development when I first joined the studio.” 

Find out more about Arthur's role

International

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:

Facilities & Staff

Curzon with Millennium Point and Parkside
Games, Film and Animation facilities
Games, Film and Animation facilities
Games, Film and Animation facilities

Our School of Games, Film and Animation is based in the Curzon Building, a £63 million development, located on our City Centre campus.

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.

Our staff

Sion Lenton

Course Director

Sion Lenton is the Course Director for BA (Hons) Video Game Design for the Games Film and Animation School at Birmingham City University. In addition he also teaches Game Design & Production at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. Prior to joining BCU, Sion taught Game Design at the National Film and Television School and Bucks New University.

More about Sion