Video Game Development with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)

Interactive entertainment and video games development are key sectors for contemporary culture, economic growth and employment, whether that be locally, nationally or globally....

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  

 

Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

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

Overview

Interactive entertainment and video games development are key sectors for contemporary culture, economic growth and employment, whether that be locally, nationally or globally.

The three year BSc (Hons) Video Game Development course with Foundation Year responds to this growing and innovative sector by developing skilled, team-orientated, reflexive graduate professionals ready to succeed in the sector. On the course you will learn the most important programming languages for game development, as well as industry-standard game development tools such as Unity and Unreal.

This course gives you a guaranteed video game development placement in our in-house studio, taking place over the summer term in the second year of the course.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Developing you as a professional developer

The course covers core programming languages and video game development tools, as well as contemporary agile software development techniques to make you a competent and adaptable programmer, 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 language and software development 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.

Putting you in control of your final project

Throughout the three years you will be provided with a structured programme of learning, in line with your chosen specialism of video game development. The course culminates with a project you define yourself which uses a specific programming language and technology you have learned on the course, such as JavaScript, C#, C++, Three.js, SFML, Unity and Unreal.

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.

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 your 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.

Why Choose Us?

  • Guaranteed placement in our summer development team.
  • 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.
  • On the course you’ll learn a range of new skills and programming disciplines relevant and appropriate for careers in the field of video game development such as gameplay, tools, VFX, AI and UI programming.
  • 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. On our Masters courses, you’ll get intensive, practical training from our top industry-experienced team, you’ll tackle real game briefs set with input from globally recognised developers/publishers, and you’ll experience all stages of the games development process, ultimately providing you with a great portfolio of work to get a job in AAA Video Game Development.

Entry Requirements

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

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details.
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Maths at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

AS and AS VCE

Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts

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.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
MMP

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

  • Pass
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts

IBO Certificate in Higher Level

  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 80 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted

International Baccalaureate Diploma

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

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language and Maths taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016.

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

MMP

Scottish Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 80 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 DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).

T-Levels

  • Pass overall (C or above on the core).
  • Digital production, design and development T Level considered for BSc (Hons) Video Game Development and BA (Hons) Video Game Design courses.

UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design

Merit overall

UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology

Merit overall

UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts

Merit overall
Other qualifications
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.
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

  • International students

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • TBC

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

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.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

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

UCAS

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
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Portfolio Guidance

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):

The purpose of this module is to give students the opportunity to gain an understanding of the basic foundations of game design to develop an analytical mindset. By learning the fundamentals of game design and utilising analytical frameworks, we will discuss looking at games layer by layer through various lenses to propose structured and cohesive systems that will provide an engaging user experience.

The purpose of this module is to give students the opportunity to get to grips with an easy-to-use programming language and manage to handle input from the keyboard and output to the computer screen. This will allow students to gain an appreciation of how logic works within software to be able to deliver an interactive experience to the user.

The purpose of this module is to assist students in developing the academic skills needed to succeed in higher education.

The purpose of this module is to assist students in developing the research and prototyping skills needed to support their ambitions to be a game developer. This module also enables the development of communications skills which are key employability skills, how to present work effectively, how to draw on existing research to support ideas, how to organise and plan projects, and how to write reflectively about the experience.

The purpose of this module is to enable students to draw on their own creative strategies to facilitate the development of a project that is appropriate for progression onto their chosen BSc (Hons) or BA (Hons) course. This is achieved by utilising and building upon research and planning conducted towards the development of the vision of the video game. This is further enhanced by reflecting upon academic and professional skills progression, demonstrated over the course of the foundation.

Year one

During the first year, modules 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. 

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

The purpose of this module is to give you, the students, the opportunity to get to grips with the basic foundations of computer-science and understand program-flow such as conditions and loops. It will also allow you to gain an appreciation of what video games are and how they generally work, from a high-level perspective.

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to learn the C# programming language, and to gain a deeper understanding of programming concepts such as object-orientation.

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to learn about some of the mathematics required to create games in a 3D world.

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to learn about Physics and Physics engines required to create games in both 2D and 3D worlds.

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines. You will be tasked with completing a project over a short development / production period. This project may be set either by an academic or course industry-partner.

Year two

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

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to learn about programming in the High Performance language C++.

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to learn about and apply a C++ Library to help with the development of a software artefact.

The purpose of this module is to give you experience in the field of using a 3D library to aid the development of a 3D software artefact using the High Performance language C++.

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration &/or your own professional practice. The module enables you to create either an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines or your own self-defined project.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.

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 modules and studio-based project modules.

Taught Modules

In the taught modules the focus is on your personal development as a professional coder. You will take modules which focus on your individual development as computer programmers for interactive software, for example; Computer Science fundamentals, object oriented programming, maths for game development, physics,  using existing software library & software development practices. It is during these languages you’ll learn the programming languages, JavaScript, C# and C++.

Guaranteed in-house placement (Project Modules)

The video game development course is all about providing you with crucial experience-based learning you'll need for your career. To this end during the summer term 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.

Assessment

This is a two year accelerated undergraduate degree course, with an additional foundation year, with professional game development 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 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.

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.

End of year showcase

The end of year summer showcase gives you the chance to showcase some of the work you’ve completed over the past academic year to high profile industry guests. 

Employability

Experience on the course

Courses within the School of Games, Film and Animation are built upon workplace simulation and industry-standard work, ensuring you behave less like a student and more as a professional, gaining the workplace experience and attributes you need.

As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.

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. Previous, projects have included a ‘Doctor Who’ interactive comic book project with the BBC and Red Bee Media, an integrated web and mobile suite of mini games with The Wellcome Trust and Xtreme Drone Racing with Sony PlayStation First.


Working on live projects

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

During the summer on the first year of your course 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.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

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.

International Students

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 and Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings
NTI-facilities-2
NTI-facilities-3

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

Zafar Qamar

Senior Lecturer/Technical Director for Gamer Camp and Interactive Entertainment

Zafar Qamar is a Senior Lecturer and the Technical Director at Birmingham City University’s School of Games, Film and Animation, working as part of the Gamer Camp team teaching the MA/MSc in Video Games Development and BSc in Interactive Entertainment (Games Development).

More about Zafar

Venita Pereira

Lecturer

Venita has previously worked on a number of titles on a variety of platforms including the mobile hit Sonic Dash and at many games studios from nDreams, SEGA and Jagex going all the way back to old veteran studios such as Team17 in Wakefield.

More about Venita