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Undergraduate Course

Games Design BA (Hons)

This course will unlock your creative potential. Gain the technical skills to create the games you would love to play.

Graphic from student designed game

Explore how design, storytelling, art and coding come together to create unique and memorable games. Our industry professionals will teach you how to design and develop computer games from concept art through to asset creation, animation and level design. By the end of the course, you will have the skills you need to design fully playable games.

98% Design students responded with a 98% positivity score for how well teaching staff supported their learning. (National Student Survey 2023)

95% Design students responded with a 95% positivity score for how much they had the chance to explore ideas and concepts in depth. (National Student Survey 2023)

York campus

  • UCAS code – 620I
  • Duration – 3 years full time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum entry requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

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

Tuition fees

    UK 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2024 entry £11,500 per year full time

Discover Design

Simon Harrison, Associate Head of Design, introduces us to Design at York St John University.

Course overview

This course is your chance to immerse yourself in games design and learn the skills needed to stand out in this competitive industry. When you join us, you will work in individual and team-based exercises to develop your skills across core game design techniques such as:

  • Working with real time engines
  • Writing game stories and narratives
  • Developing interactive user experiences
  • Considering the limitations of platforms and scoping projects
  • Creating concept documents
  • Working with Greybox and level design preproduction


Alongside your practical work you will study the theory and history of games design. You will debate some of the controversies that exist in the field. This will help you to identify the areas which interest you the most. You can develop this research in your final year research project.

Our team of designers and technical specialists are here to support you. Your tutors will really get to know you, your practice and your ambitions.

You will also gain experiences that make you stand out. We give you opportunities to:

  • Work with students from other courses to enrich your learning, such as Animation or Games Development
  • Learn from visiting professionals
  • Visit international cities to find new inspiration
  • Exhibit your work at our annual degree show, the perfect way to build a professional network

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters.  

In your first year, you will study: 

  • 1 compulsory module across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1 
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20


On this module you will develop your knowledge of the history, contexts and theories of design by comparing historical and current practices. There will be opportunities to able to apply what you learn on this module while developing your personal practice. You will also further your research, academic writing and presentation skills. 

Credits: 20


Prepare for your practical modules by developing an understanding of the key principles of Games Design. These principles will be supported by further investigation into and knowledge of the game development disciplines (design, art, coding) applied across a particular brief. The principles you will learn about include how to:

  • Create professional game design documentation
  • Pitch your game prototype
  • Create playable game mechanics in a relevant game engine

Credits: 20


Design is a process, and this is your opportunity to discover methods and techniques that can be used when approaching any design project. As well as looking at existing practice, you will be encouraged to find your own ways of making work. Design is a creative field, not a science. A designer’s process tends to be more loopy than linear. By working in a more structured way, you will face new challenges and create original methods of making your work.


Credits: 60



Gain an in-depth practical understanding of Games Design that will equip you with the skills you need to create successful games. You will undertake briefs that will help you use taught knowledge of game design fundamentals to plan, compose and develop a concept and level design document resulting in a playable game level within a specified game engine. Topics will include:

  • The theory of game design
  • Pitching concepts
  • 2D and 3D asset creation fundamentals
  • Level design within a game
  • Testing and evaluation of a game prototype

Year 2

In your second year, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20


You will produce an independent research project that demonstrates your ability to interpret, analyse and construct a critical commentary on contemporary and/or future design practice. In this module you will draw on:

  • Your previous work from the research stage of the design process
  • Your knowledge of design history theory, gained through the Context of Practice module
  • New knowledge discovered through primary and secondary research

Credits: 20


Gain experience of professional design practice. You will be introduced to transferable skills to prepare you for entering employment and continued personal development. You will be encouraged to identify potential specialisms around your personal aims and ambitions in preparation for Games Design Practice 2. There will be an opportunity for you to continue learning outside of the classroom, including:

  • Placements
  • Studio visits
  • Guest speaker talks
  • Live briefs

Credits: 20


Professional creative practice is always collaborative. Whether negotiating and working alongside a client, peers, or associated professions, you will need to be able to communicate effectively. This module will support you in developing the skills required to be a proactive and effective collaborator. On this module you will take part in a collaborative group project. You will collaborate across design specialisms and work together to solve a complex problem with design. In doing this, you will explore different models of collaboration and consider the methodologies and challenges of working together. At the end of the project you will reflect individually on the process and its success.

Credits: 20


Through this module you will develop the knowledge and skills gained in Games Design Practice 1 to a more advanced level. You will work on projects that are more specialised and reflect professional standards. You will need to demonstrate an understanding of the different industry project stages and the relationship between each of them.

Year 3

In your third year, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20


Building on your knowledge from your previous years of study, you will develop your own research project with the help of your allocated supervisor. Together with your supervisor you will decide on your design research question at the beginning of the year, agreeing to a research plan spanning across both semesters. You will then independently lead, manage and produce the work required.

Through this you will develop highly transferable skills, such as:

  • Self confidence
  • Self discipline
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Time management


Credits: 40


Through a series of lectures, seminars, tutorials, portfolio reviews, group and individual ‘critiques’, you will build experience of working in a professional environment. This will allow you to produce work that addresses the needs and requirements of external stakeholders including clients, competitions judges, user groups and audiences.

Credits: 60


Demonstrate your creative flair by executing your graduate design brief. Apply your design skills to identify and overcome problems, present a critical argument to support decision making ,and apply reasoning and practical skills in order to offer creative and technical solutions to the problem(s) that arise. We will prepare you for your future career by enabling you to work as an independent autonomous design practitioner.


Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We deliver your modules through:

  • Lectures
  • Demonstrations
  • Seminars
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Practical workshops

Each module has 2 to 5 hours of contact time a week. We schedule our taught sessions between 9.00am and 8.00pm, Monday to Friday.

You will need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include design work, reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange academic tutorials with your module tutors throughout the year to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


There are no exams on this course. Assessment types vary from module to module. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Portfolios of animation work
  • Research reports
  • Essays
  • Exhibitions
  • Individual and group critiques
  • Dissertations and reflective reports

For each assessment you will have the chance to talk to a tutor about your work before submission. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so you can improve your work.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Games Design

On this course you will develop the specialist knowledge and creative skill you need to work in the games industry. You will also gain communication, presentation and programming skills that are in high demand in a range of careers.

This degree could be the first step toward your career as a:

  • Games designer
  • Software tester
  • Narrative designer
  • VR Designer

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

PGCE at York St John University

Further your education and work towards a rewarding career in teaching by studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) after you graduate. For over 180 years, we have worked with enthusiastic individuals who want to shape the future of young people across both primary and secondary school settings. You'll spend a lot of time in schools, developing your practice by teaching. You will graduate with Qualified Teacher Status and become part of the well respected alumni of York St John educators.

Discover more about PGCE

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

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

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Portfolio Day

If your application is successful, you will be invited to a portfolio day. On the day, you will show your work with our tutors and share with them your passion for the subject.

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK, or internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry onto this course is:

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time

These prices apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page:

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition fees

    UK 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2024 entry £11,500 per year full time

International 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this course is £11,500 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree:

International fees and funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email

Course highlights

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