School of Art, Design and Architecture

MA Game Design

Programme code 7658

1 year

Course type


Study location Plymouth

Take your skills to the next level with our Game Design programme. Refine 3D modelling, 2D art and animation skills, level design and gameplay coding. Games industry experts guide you through aspects of game design and development, game theory and industrial contexts. You learn relevant theory and contemporary practices in a friendly collaborative setting and have access to the latest hardware, including high-spec gaming PCs and virtual reality headsets.

Game Design

Careers with this subject

A masters qualification in game design could lead to a career as a game designer or game artist, developer, producer or many other roles in the games industry. Your transferable creative and technology skills could also lead to employment as a designer, programmer or producer in other creative and tech industries.

Key features

  • Specialise. You will have the ability to choose between a suite of elective modules, allowing customisation of your degree.
  • Opportunity. This MA course provides the ability to follow a conversion programme path, suited for applicants without prior game design or development knowledge.
  • State-of-the-art facilities. You will have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including a 35-seat, 360° immersive vision theatre, and technical support in areas such as Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media. 
  • Expert-led. You will be taught by nationally and internationally recognised academics and practitioners, active in their own areas of research, scholarship, and professional networks.
  • Industry links. You'll be given opportunities to access facilities and support from partners such as Real Ideas, Team 3 and the Devonport Market Hall’s Full Dome.
  • Network. Being part of the UK’s Southwest creative community, thus accessing local and regional networking opportunities aided by a planned schedule of visiting specialists, public events, and field trips.
  • Future-focused. Employability prospects enabled through professional specialisms, as well as participation in School wide modules on situated practice and knowledge exchange.
  • Flexible. You will be given the ability to choose a final format of research project, including standard text-based dissertations as well as a business/IP proposal.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • Develop core skills, analysing and sharing game design methodologies and exploring technologies, while grounding these practical and creative perspectives with theory. In your second semester, you research and refine skills within a chosen area—such as 2D design, 3D modelling, technical artistry, coding, sound, storytelling, character and environment design—to develop a distinctive practice and build a portfolio around this. Alongside this you research the games industry as well as engage in development of your professional profile.
    Competitions, live briefs and collaboration with local, national and international agencies are also a feature. Finally, you embark upon a major project, in which a game is developed through to completion and marketing. Working in the format of prototype businesses this stage incorporates market research, business models, agile methodologies and industry workflows.

    Core modules

    • Situated Practice and Knowledge Exchange (ADA7200)

      This module supports students’ employability and career prospects by engaging with local communities, industrial partners and their broader professional field. Students will be able to situate their ideas within real world contexts, develop entrepreneurial skills, and deliver an external engagement proposition outlining the broader social, environmental, or economic extensions and impacts of their work.

    • Research Project / Dissertation (ADA7300)

      This module supports students’ delivery of their final research project / dissertation through combinations of group and individual work. It includes broader disciplinary research skills, methods and ethical practices, as well as subject-specific supervisory arrangements for each students’ research interests. This can include practice-based, text-based or entrepreneurial research outputs.

    • Playful Making (MAGD7101)

      Students build game creation skills through playful experimentation, exploring design and communication strategies such as pitching, storyboarding and prototyping. Game design theory is put into practice through creative challenges. Students experiment games creation with different technologies, from cardboard to game engines, and the possibilities of experimental gaming platforms such as cities and built environments.

    • Game Studies (MAGD7201)

      Students research and analyse game design theory concepts, investigating topics such as gamification, serious games, playbour, ludology, urban gaming, non-linear narrative, representation, realism and simulation, as well as critical research methods. The module culminates in an essay examining a particular game design concept and critiquing its use within a range of game texts.

    Optional modules

    • Immersive Media and XR (ADA7102E)

      This module will provide students with the creative and technical skills to develop their projects based on experimentation with immersive media and extended reality (XR) technologies. Through a combination of technical inductions, workshops, lectures, and self-directed work in our Immersive Media Lab, students will be able to experiment with 360 Video, sonic environments, AR/VR, sensors, and game engines.

    • Spatial Storytelling (ADA7103E)

      Students will explore using narrative space to create emotionally engaging audience experiences by experimenting with a range of spatial storytelling methods and technologies. The development of skills as narrative architects and storytellers in immersive, interactive, locative, game, sound, art, film and/or performance-based experiences and installations will result in the creation of a spatial storytelling project.

    • Interaction Design (ADA7106E)

      This module will provide students with the creative and technical skills to apply interaction design strategies to develop and support their practice across a range of disciplines. Drawing from the technologies, techniques and tools typical of the Smart City, ubiquitous, mobile and wearable computing and Internet of Things (IoT), students will design and develop prototype systems that allow them to explore key issues relating to our lived environment.

    • Game Design Methods (MAGD7102)

      This module focuses on project-based work, upskilling students without prior experience in the area. Students learn foundational theories, concepts and creative methods underpinning the game design practice. Based on a series of lectures, students will engage in a creative enquiring process, where each aspect of a game is conceptually challenged, producing actionable design ideas whilst solidifying knowledge.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Game Design programme specification_7658

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Design your degree

MA Game Design allows you to create a personalised program of study that focuses on topics that are relevant and important to you. 
Tailor your degree to suit your career goals and interests by graduating with one of the exit awards below.
  • MA Game Design (Game Art)
  • MA Game Design (Game and Play Research)
  • MA Game Design (Game Technologies)

Entry requirements

You are required to have a 2:2 degree in Game Design (or similar design-related discipline such as Digital Media Design, Computer Graphics, Software, Games Development, VR Design, among others). 
We also require suitable references from previous academic institutions and/or employers.
Applications to this course include an interview with an Admissions Tutor. This will be scheduled once applications are received by the academic team. 
Applicants are expected to present a digital portfolio with evidence of creative thinking and experience related to the games industry. This can include 2D or 3D graphics for still or animated images or user interfaces, development blogs, post-mortem presentations, production documents (when disclosure is allowed), practical projects (e.g. games, movies, plays, or other types of ludic experiences), etc. 
For applicants with previous postgraduate studies in related fields, the Programme Lead will assess the applicability of the Recognition of Prior Learning policy on a case-by-case basis. 
Alternative modes of admission, such as interview adjustments, can be provided for applicants requiring disability support.
If you have overseas qualifications you can check their comparability with the UK equivalent through UK ECCTIS, who provide an advisory service.
If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required. For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualifications and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office. 
The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is 6.5 with a minimum 5.5 in all four components.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,500 £9,500
International £16,500 £17,600
Part time (Home) £530 £530
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students wishing to study on this programme, including the  Postgraduate Taught International Student Scholarship, worth £2000 off your tuition fees.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.
  • 10% or 20% discount on tuition fees for home students 
  • For 2024/2025 entry, a 20% discount on tuition fees for international students (International alumni who have applied to the University through an agent are not eligible to receive the discount)

How to apply

When to apply
Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full.
Before you apply
Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance. 
Disability Inclusion Services
If you have an impairment, health condition or disability, learn about the additional support the University provides.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information or email
Submitting an application
Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page). 
What happens after I apply?
You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeksof us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.
We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. 
If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:
Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Admissions policy
More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Inspiring research and innovation

The exciting work going on in our research feeds back into the teaching on this course. 
We co-create and share technological prototypes and practices, that push and challenge the boundaries of digital arts and creative media practice. 
CODEX is an international Postgraduate Research network operating in the volatile and dynamic space that frames new interdisciplinary art and design practices. 

Learn from our experts

International applicants

Postgraduate scholarships for international students
We offer several scholarships for international students wishing to study on this programme, including the International Academic Excellence Scholarship worth 50% off your tuition fees and the Postgraduate Taught International Student Scholarship worth £2000 off tuition fees.
Study with us
At the University of Plymouth, we have a thriving international community made up of 2,000 students from over 100 different countries.
International students at a welecome event at the University of Plymouth