Games Studio Development MA

Study level: Postgraduate
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Explore the exciting world of digital games development in an industry-relevant studio model that prepares you for the workforce. The MA in Games Studio Development is an industry-facing course which aims to provide you with the skills and experience necessary for a career in developing video games.

Year of entry

2024-25

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Sandwich

Duration

1 year full-time
Up to 2 years, with professional experience

Course code

AHT090
AHT095 (with professional experience)

Start date

September 2024


Course overview

This course has specifically been co-created with the games industry and incorporates input from industry collaborators to meet a clear demand for more appropriately skilled practitioners to join the industry.

The course covers the full extent of the games development process from initial story ideation to final product testing and you can expect to work in cross-functional teams to conceptualise, design, build, test and market playable games.

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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 5 UK Student City in England (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2024

Why you should study this course

  • Experience the full production pipeline of games development end-to-end rather than focusing on one specific technical or creative element of the process, while deepening your specialist skills focus. You will be able to realise your existing skillset within the process of games development but also to see how it might be applied to other parts of the process, and how all the different elements of the production pipeline link together.
  • This holistic approach to real-world learning is particularly valuable as it is designed to enable you to become an agile practitioner, able to flex across a range of roles within small independent games studios as well as to become a skillset-specific practitioner in the very large games studios with an awareness of the wider workflow.
  • Access state-of-the-art facilities4 complemented by experimental immersive studios and digital and electronic hacklabs.
  • You will benefit from a strong academic base and the excellent links the University has with gaming companies in “Silicon Spa” - the concentration of games developers based near the university around Leamington Spa.
  • Mentorship from the industry as well as academic practitioners as it is delivered collaboratively in a studio model. This will build your professional experience and networks. You will also have access to working games studios through field trips and masterclasses2.

Collaborations

We work in collaboration with The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and upon successful completion of the 'Creative Futures and Social Change' module, you will receive RSA digital badging.


What you'll study

You will develop and deepen your specialist skills in the context of interdisciplinary games development teams to conceptualise, design, develop, test, and market games across platforms. You will engage with all aspects of games design and development and produce a working prototype. You will work collaboratively in a studio environment. You will critically reflect on your own and others’ practice in existing, new and emerging aspects of the game industry.

Modules

  • Understanding the games design and development pipeline from concept to quality assurance is crucial for those moving into the games industry. This module aims to provide a discipline-agnostic contextual springboard into understanding the macro, micro and miso factors affecting the games development industry across independent (indie) and AAA games. AAA games is the term used to describe high-profile games with a large budget produced and distributed by large, well-known publishers.

    Its aim is to equip you with a broad contextual oversight, and understanding of, the underlying principles of games development and empower you to become critical thinkers. The module will explore key principles around the business of the games industry, the history of games development, intellectual property rights, and the different roles involved in the games development lifecycle.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to introduce you to development and project planning processes in the context of video game design through an industry studio-style engagement with concepts, skills, and practices. The module covers both theoretical and professional approaches to, and best practices of, game development to build your understanding of the games design lifecycle and empower you to become collaborative communicators and develop your leadership skills. This process will follow an agile and iterative approach that begins with conceptualising themes and mechanics, through to workflow and processes. The module asks you to reflect on and situate your practice in this agile game development context through the development of a Games Design Document (GDD) and Technical Design Document (TDD).

    Compulsory

  • Concept development in games design involves researching the market and positioning of a games concept and pitching it for development. This module aims to develop your ability to practice industry-related research skills and professional pitching and communication, through the development of a games idea pitch and associated Game Design Document (GDD) and Technical Design Document (TDD). The module will develop your research capabilities and apply these to an authentic simulated game concept.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to immerse you into the games production process. Through 12-week intensive studio-based projects you will take one of the games concepts pitched during ‘Researching and Pitching Games Concepts’ and build a live games demo product under the mentorship of industry professionals.

    The module will explore the practical skills required in the development of games whilst developing your collaborative leadership capabilities. You will be expected to work in collaborative interdisciplinary teams to develop the necessary agile project management and cross-communication skills expected by industry employers.

    Compulsory

  • Branding and positioning yourself in the context of the games industry is vital to early career professionals. This module aims to support you as you position yourself within the professional games development industry in the context of your specialist skills and experience.

    The module will explore the different roles and responsibilities involved in the games development lifecycle whilst empowering you to critically reflect on your career aspirations in support of the transition from higher study to industry employment. You will be supported to develop a personal brand within your professional practice focus area and to curate your portfolio to align with industry needs.

    Compulsory

  • Quality assurance forms part of the games development lifecycle and ensures that games are ready for release. This module focuses on the post-production aspect of games development, exploring quality assurance testing and iterative development and building on the development cycle.

    The module is practical in nature, allowing you to take the outcomes from ‘Immersive Games Production Simulation’ module and refine your game demos. You will critically explore the playtesting, stress-testing, and Quality Assurance processes involved in games development and refine the skills needed to address functionality, completeness and balance in the context of development work.

    Compulsory

  • This module explores the changing world of work which Arts and Humanities students enter after study. New technology and the changing global economy mean that jobs and skills are changing and evolving quickly and will continue to do so. This is an exciting and new world, and this module is designed to empower you to realise your potential in it.

    This module provides tools for you to develop into changemakers, thrive in a changing world of work and participate in creating a better future for society. You’ll be guided through a process of reflection that explores four possible futures for the world of work and how to situate your own professional identity as the future of work changes through your careers. This module is designed in collaboration with The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and upon successful completion students will receive RSA digital badging.

    Compulsory

Optional placement2

The course is structured so that you'll complete two semesters of taught modules and then could spend three semesters on professional experience placement2. The modules are zero credit and do not contribute to the classification of the award but must be passed to complete the placement. Upon completion of the work placement, you would return to Coventry to complete the final semester during which time you'll undertake your project module which may be informed by the learning acquired during the professional experience.

The optional placement may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Professional experience opportunities are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of our Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity2.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

The learning-by-doing studio model means that you apply your skills and learning as you would in the industry context, through large projects designed, developed, and tested in interdisciplinary teams. You’ll apply specialist skills across all parts of this pipeline, but also gain experience and understanding of the different phases of games development.

Teaching contact hours

In a typical week you will have approximately 12 contact hours of teaching comprising seminars, talks and lectures, as well as guided studio practice, workshops, project support and skills training.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 300 hours of self-directed study each semester, e.g. working on course assignments, group project activities, independent and collaborative production-related activities, related practice and studying. You will be supported by skills sessions.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

A range of assessment formats are used to ensure that all types of learning are accommodated in ways that reflect the professional games production pipeline, and you have different opportunities not only to evidence your learning but also to reflect on it.

Assessment forms include presentations, group projects, live simulations, individual application development work, portfolios, and written documentation. You develop skills in the assessment tasks through formative tasks embedded within teaching and learning.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

Co-developed with industry, this course reflects the experience of a working games studio, drawing on expertise from industry and academia to develop graduates ready to explore the many opportunities of the growing and vibrant games sector. It provides students with the opportunity to explore new and emerging technologies relevant to games development in state-of-the-art facilities.

Dr Bianca Wright, Curriculum Lead: Immersive, 2023
Student wearing motion capture devices

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

You will need to be ambitious and highly motivated with either a degree in a relevant subject or a body of professional work.

Applicants to this master’s degree should normally possess an honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in a relevant subject. If the degree is in an unrelated subject, applicants need to demonstrate appropriate industry knowledge and experience in their application documentation.

Each applicant will be required to include a short statement regarding their interest in studying the Games Studio Development MA at Coventry University (300-500 words) and are invited to include a link to an online portfolio in order that the course team can get to know their practice.

We would like to see a selection of work that you have created or helped to create. This could include coursework or projects that you have developed either in your undergraduate studies or it could be work done in a professional or voluntary capacity that is related to games production.

The work should demonstrate your ability to come up with an idea and put it into action. It could include examples of any of the following:

  • writing for an interactive project
  • games, interactive, immersive or digital design work
  • games development, web, mobile or coding projects
  • environment design and modelling for digital experiences including games
  • character development, modelling and animation
  • concept art for digital experiences.

There will be a group interview where applicants discuss their work and aspirations for the course and future careers. If you are attending an online showcase event, please prepare your work so it can be shared digitally.

Candidates with professional/industrial experience, and/or other relevant training and experience may be admitted with lower qualifications.

Non-traditional entry students are welcome: applicants without formal qualifications but professional/industrial experience may be admitted on the basis of an interview and submission of supporting material.

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications; speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country-specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Typical entry requirements

You will need to be ambitious and highly motivated with either a degree in a relevant subject or a body of professional work.

Applicants to this master’s degree should normally possess an honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in a relevant subject. If the degree is in an unrelated subject, applicants need to demonstrate appropriate industry knowledge and experience in their application documentation.

Each applicant will be required to include a short statement regarding their interest in studying the Games Studio Development MA at Coventry University (300-500 words) and are invited to include a link to an online portfolio in order that the course team can get to know their practice.

We would like to see a selection of work that you have created or helped to create. This could include coursework or projects that you have developed either in your undergraduate studies or it could be work done in a professional or voluntary capacity that is related to games production.

The work should demonstrate your ability to come up with an idea and put it into action. It could include examples of any of the following:

  • writing for an interactive project
  • games, interactive, immersive or digital design work
  • games development, web, mobile or coding projects
  • environment design and modelling for digital experiences including games
  • character development, modelling and animation
  • concept art for digital experiences.

There will be a group interview where applicants discuss their work and aspirations for the course and future careers. If you are attending an online showcase event, please prepare your work so it can be shared digitally.

Candidates with professional/industrial experience, and/or other relevant training and experience may be admitted with lower qualifications.

Non-traditional entry students are welcome: applicants without formal qualifications but professional/industrial experience may be admitted on the basis of an interview and submission of supporting material.

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications; speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200   Not available
EU £11,200 per year with EU support bursary**
£18,600 per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,600   Not available

The work placement opportunity2 (Extended Master’s) enables you to apply in semester 1 for an optional work placement of 9 to 12 months, extending the duration of your master’s to 24 months. The placement provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability upon graduation.

Please note that the optional work placement incurs an additional tuition fee3 of £4,000.

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU support bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


Facilities

You will have access to cutting-edge new facilities4 in the Delia Derbyshire building, which features post-production studios, games and animation studios, immersive studios and hack labs.

  • The high-end studios allow you to develop working playable versions of your games using state-of-the-art hardware and software used in the industry.
  • The immersive studios include performance capture, object tracking and audio capabilities allowing you to engage with development methods across the games design and development pipeline.
  • The electronic and digital hack labs allow you to experiment with new and emerging technologies and electronics in the context of games development.

Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion, you will be able to:

  • advance and refine creative, practical, and studio skills, demonstrating flexibility, initiative, and currency of knowledge in the development of games
  • demonstrate a sound and sophisticated knowledge of the variety of roles within the games industry, operational studio environments, agile development, and innovation processes at the forefront of the industry
  • critically understand and apply the video game development process and all its constituent components including the development lifecycle from concept to release through experiential processes
  • exercise high-level collaborative skills and complex decision-making in the context of creative and multi-disciplinary teams to maximise opportunity across sectors, locally, nationally, and internationally
  • practice inclusive leadership and entrepreneurship within and across the range of roles within the games industry through the articulation, application and evaluation of complex ideas, processes, and practices in a live industry context
  • demonstrate a systematic and critical awareness of the evolving business and technological landscape to make ethically, legally, and economically valid decisions when producing a commercially viable product.

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates have gone on to undertake PhDs, to lecture, to work as graphic designers for Leisure concepts, BYG Systems Limited, Opus books and Country Wide groups.


How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.

    1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2023/2024 contract is available on the website for information purposes however the 2024/25 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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