course page main image

Video Game Design with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry. Switch to 2023/24 Entry

Our BA (Hons) Video Game Design with Foundation Year undergraduate degree 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 Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Games, Film and Animation
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

This course is:

Overview

Our BA (Hons) Video Game Design with Foundation Year undergraduate degree 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 three-year course gives you a guaranteed video game development placement in our in-house studio.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

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

Developing you as a professional developer

The course covers core video game design methodologies and video game development tools, as well as contemporary agile software development techniques to make you a competent and adaptable game designer, capable of finding employment in the sector or preparing you for further academic study.

Your first position in the video game industry

Building upon your core design skills, in the second 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 learnt on the course in a safe and supportive environment. Typically for these projects you’ll be using industry standard game development tools such as Unity and Unreal.

The work students produce during these summer placements can act as excellent portfolio pieces, which demonstrate their ability as both a professional game developer and effective team member.

Best of class facilities and staff

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 access to the software you’ll need for the duration of the course.

You will be taught by staff with significant experience in the video game development industry, having worked with game developers including Psygnosis, Rage Software, Codemasters, FreeStyleGames and EA Games.

Real experience

By the time you graduate, you’ll have three years of tangible games development studio experience under your belt, ready to launch your dream career as a games developer.

Alternatively, you can choose to apply for one of our one-year Gamer Camp courses, to gain even more in-depth skills, and experience.

The BA Video Game Design course will give you the opportunity to learn all about games design and production, helping you to get your foundation of experience that you will need to decide upon which is the correct career path for you.

Zuby Ahmed – Video Game Design Course Director

Why Choose Us?

  • Guaranteed placement in our summer development team in your second year of study.
  • 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 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.
  • This course will develop you to be able to move into employment, or further study, for example on our Industry-recognised Master’s Courses, Gamer Camp, which is a finishing school for game developers (coders, artists, designers and producers) based at Birmingham City University.
  • 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 meet us in person, hear from our trailblazing academics and explore our innovative £340m facilities.

Next Open Day: 30 September 2023

Register interest

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.

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

96 UCAS Tariff points, from three A Levels or equivalent

Level 2 qualifications
GCSE GCSE English Language or English Literature and GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry requirements under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5 English Language or English Literature and Maths at grade C or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) qualifications

A Level and Advanced VCE

  • CCC / 96 UCAS points 

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3
  • Information, Communication Technology and Business subjects preferred but other subjects also considered

BTEC Extended Diploma

  • MMM

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

  • MMM

Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)

  • Merit
  • Considered with a maximum of three other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 96 points

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum score of 24 overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above, we will accept Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above, we will accept grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level) from the IB Diploma

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

  • Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 96 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects
  • This must include English Language and Maths taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O4) or Higher level (minimum grade H4)

Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 96 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken, you must achieve grades of CDDD

Welsh Baccalaureate 

  • 96 UCAS points
  • Considered with two A Levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications

T-Levels

  • Pass overall (C or above on the core) in Digital Production, Design and Development 
  • UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design
  • UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology
  • UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts

Merit overall

Other qualifications

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

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
  • 3 years
  • £16,085 in 2024/25

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.

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

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Course in Depth

Foundation year

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

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 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 courses at the School of Games, Film and Animation. 

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.


During the summer on the first year of your course after the foundation year, you’ll have a guaranteed placement in an in-house development studio. Our students previously worked directly with The Wellcome Trust on an interactive, online awareness campaign which involved making, video games, web apps, mobile apps and video material to promote The Crunch initiative.


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

Zuby Ahmed

Programme & Creative Director Video Game Design & Production

Zuby is a seasoned game developer and manager, with a career spanning over 20 years, 15 years of which have been focused within the Games Industry. Starting as a freelance writer for Edge, Zuby went onto work for Digital Image Design, Warthog Games, and EA Games.

More about Zuby