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Undergraduate course

Games Design BA (Hons)

Explore game design, game art and programming and learn how to create games you'd love to play.

Games Design student

Let games industry professionals teach you how to design and develop computer games from concept art through to asset creation, animation and level design, leading to fully playable games. This Games Design programme will unlock your potential through an exploration of the ways in which design, storytelling, art and coding come together to create unique and memorable games.

94% of Graphic Design students were satisfied with their course (NSS 2019)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – 620I
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2020, September 2021
  • School – Art, Design & Computer Science

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 per year

    International 2020-21 £12,750 per year

The York St John Experience

Course overview

Games Design is a field which is as challenging as it is rewarding, as varied and exciting as it is competitive. We acknowledge this and focus our course on the work-related skills you’ll need to stand out in the job market and find success in your field.

How will you present concepts to your team or clients? Our year one Introduction to Game fundamentals, project pipeline, art and asset creation has got you covered. In second year the Collaborative Project and Work-related Learning modules will teach the essential communication and collaboration skills you may have missed whilst busy creating characters and narratives, designing playable levels, and investigating immersive tech such as VR and AR. In your third year the Client and Major Projects will let you focus on a specialist skillset and put it to use gaining valuable work-experience with our industry partners, as well as creating a final, playable game artefact. 

Our Games Design course is taught by tutors with many years of experience working with highly-respected developers and publishers. We bring this knowledge to the course and support you to become an accomplished games designer with skills in all aspects of game design, digital modelling, virtual reality, project management and more.

During the course you will engage with industry leaders whilst immersing yourself in the latest technologies in our cutting-edge facilities and collaborating with students from other disciplines to create a rich and varied portfolio of games and artwork. You’ll learn how to develop computer games from initial concepts utilising core and advanced design techniques and industry standard hardware to help bring your ideas to life.

Course Structure

Level 1

Level 1 enables you to develop your creative ideas through a range of different medium and technical practices. You will learn new approaches to game play and nurture both your programming and digital design skills to successfully communicate your creative ideas within game engines.


Modules include:

Introduction to Game Art & Analytical Drawing: Learn perspective techniques, shape and colour theory, and other drawing basics that will help you quickly demonstrate your design ideas to team or client.

Understanding the 3D Digital Pipeline: Understanding the different disciplines is vital to becoming a proficient designer. This module will give you an overview of the pipeline from paper concept to in-game model.

Introduction to Character Rigging: Utilise 3d software to design and rig your character for deployment into a game engine.

Animation Principles: Animate your rigged character with a ‘moveset’ allowing basic in-game actions.

Gaming & Contemporary Culture: An overview of how gaming fits into modern culture that will help inform your design decisions

Level 2

Level 2 allows you to expand and explore on your game design skills. You will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge and understanding of animation and design artwork to produce character modelling and virtual environments. Your skill base will expand building upon the use of digital practices and collaborations for game creation.


Modules include:

Motion Capture and Performance Acting: Script a scene and Capture real time motion. Clean up the data and import into a game engine ready to trigger!

Introduction to Real Time Engines: An overview of current game engines (integrated development environments) with a view to the most suited for your project.

Storytelling & Narrative for Gameplay: An overview of common story structures, and how to adapt and expand these into various game genres.

Collaborative Projects (Programmers & GUI Designers): Learn how to schedule your project and tasks in a team-based environment from a client brief

Work related learning: Opportunity to work on alive brief or in an industry games studio: Utilise our industry and emergent tech company contacts to secure placements or client briefs to gain core experience and skills for your portfolio.

Level 3

Level 3 provides opportunities for you to research and produce innovative proposals to produce a unique game design through to a functioning game. It is an opportunity for you to evolve your own personal development, whilst working with key industry partnerships for graduate success.


Modules include:

Innovative Research Proposals for Emerging Game Platforms: Utilise extensive cutting edge hardware of your choice to create a specific focused proposal for further development.

Major Project for Games – Personal Game Development: Focus on the specific skills you would like to showcase within your portfolio in this solo or team based year long game project, with access to publishing opportunities across platforms.

Preparing Pipelines & Production for Games - Utilise time management software and tracker lists to prepare budgets and schedules for game development teams.

Client Project – working on an industry live brief for real world scenarios: Utilise our industry and emergent tech company contacts to secure a brief that will allow development of your personal chosen skillset.

Working with key industry partnerships: Utilise our industry and emergent tech company contacts to secure a partnership or placement that will allow development of your personal chosen skillset.

Teaching & assessment


The programme is concerned with ensuring that you have the opportunity to experience a variety of teaching and learning strategies across the modules offered. These are structured to facilitate successful achievement of the learning outcomes of each module.

You will be provided with a range of teaching and learning strategies across the modules, including:

  • Reflective learning
  • Independent learning
  • Collaborative learning
  • Facilitated learning

It is anticipated that semesters will be divided between periods of intense activity (in practice based activity) and periods of independent reflection, supported by specific tasks, technical workshops, reading and proactive use of VLE (including forums, discussion groups, online portfolios, project briefs ).

Teaching methods

Students will be taught using a wide and varied range of teaching methods, including:

  • Lectures
  • Demonstrations
  • Seminars
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Group and individual presentations
  • Visiting speakers / lectures
  • Use of audio-visual material
  • Use of e-learning
  • Use of appropriate IT
  • Workshops
  • Technical support


The programme recognises that, as a higher education student, you need to gain and develop a range of graduate attributes which is why the programme places a significant emphasis on your independent learning. The programme thus aims to provide an environment in which you are encouraged to take responsibility for your role in managing your learning and outcomes.

Reflection is central to learning on this degree. It encourages you to relate new material you may encounter to your existing knowledge and expertise. In addition to being a part of good quality knowledge transfer, reflection supports learning by enhancing the whole experience. The new programme will offer you the time to reflect in a variety of ways; such as learning journals, formative feedback, the use of portfolios, reflection on work related learning and internships, tutorial interaction, peer and self-assessment, assignments and a review of your own continual professional development (CPD) plan. It will also facilitate an understanding of your own learning processes and their relationship with and to other creative industries.

You will be encouraged to recognise your learning is not confined to formal teaching situations and encouraged to undertake independent preparation as a follow up to your formal teaching sessions. The programme seeks to offer a range of technical support and independent study that might include both theory and practical sessions. The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team support staff in using some of the core online student services, such as Moodle (VLE) and Mahara (e-portfolio), which you can openly access as part of your online learning experience.

Assessment & feedback

Assessment is varied, including a creative portfolio, client projects and design briefs. We emphasise the importance of having a strong portfolio and show-reel, which is essential for employment. You will not be expected to undertake any examinations whilst on the degree.

Entry requirements



96 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Calculate your tariff points.

Personal statement

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, the ability to demonstrate knowledge and interest in the subject is essential. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, visits to design exhibitions, museums or collections. Applicants will also show an ability to 'think outside the box' and have relevant experience of group work.

Valued criteria

We also value the ability to demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include involvement in projects or entering competitions, and being aware of any current issues relating to design, such as sustainability. Candidates will also be able to discuss influences including favourite designers, design product or style of design.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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