BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design Degree

Design, production, testing. Study Game Design and gain experience in the full game production pipeline.

Start in January or September.
Available at
Glasgow, Leamington Spa, Liverpool, London
BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design Degree
Domestic Fees

£9,000 per year

Partial funding is available for eligible home fee applicants who are residents of Scotland via the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

For UK/Irish students commencing their studies from September 2024.

Leamington Spa

£11,100 per year

The annual tuition fee is fully funded via Student Finance England for eligible home-fee students.

For UK/Irish students commencing their studies from January 2024.


£11,100 per year

The annual tuition fee is fully funded via Student Finance England for eligible home-fee students.

For UK/Irish students commencing their studies from September 2024.


£11,100 per year

The annual tuition fee is fully funded via Student Finance England for eligible home-fee students.

For UK/Irish students commencing their studies from September 2024.

BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design Degree
International Fees

For international students (non-EU/EEA/Swiss)*, £13,000 per year

For EU/EEA/Swiss students*
: £9,000 per year

*Student visa required

For more information regarding SAE’s EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy, please read the SAE UK EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy.

Leamington Spa

For international students (non-EU/EEA/Swiss)*, £15,000 per year

For EU/EEA/Swiss students*
: £ 11,100 per year

*Student visa required

For more information regarding SAE’s EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy, please read the SAE UK EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy.


For international students (non-EU/EEA/Swiss)*, £15,000 per year

For EU/EEA/Swiss students*
: £ 11,100 per year

*Student visa required

For more information regarding SAE’s EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy, please read the SAE UK EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy.


For international students (non-EU/EEA/Swiss)*, £15,000 per year

For EU/EEA/Swiss students*
: £ 11,100 per year

*Student visa required

For more information regarding SAE’s EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy, please read the SAE UK EU/EEA/Swiss students bursary policy.

2 years full-time
BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design Degree
Course Durations
2 years full-time
Start Date(s)
BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design Degree
Start Dates
  • September

Leamington Spa
  • September

  • September

  • September

Entry Requirements
BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design Degree
Domestic Entry Requirements
Domestic students must meet one of the following criteria:
Degree entry Offers will be made to applicants who are expected to meet, or exceed the entry requirements below, in addition to supplying a personal statement:
72 UCAS points
GCSE level A* - C in English AND Mathematics 9 - 4 (or equivalent). For students studying in Scotland this is equivalent to National 5, C grade
Personal statement
Non-standard entry routes SAE Institute will accept non-standard entry applications, which do not meet the 72 UCAS points or equivalent, and/or maths/English at level 2 or equivalent as required:
Portfolio of related work - This could include recordings, films, sketch books, a blog or any suitable medium that gives you the best opportunity to show us your creative potential.
Successful pass mark achieved via the SAE UK Maths test
Academic Essay
Further Domestic Entry Information
For more information, please look at our Domestic Entry page
Domestic Entry Requirements
BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design Degree
International Entry Requirements
English language requirements Students whose first language is not English will need a qualification that demonstrates competence in English, equivalent to UK GCSE (Level 2) grade 4 (c) or above. Equivalent qualifications can be accepted, where these qualifications have been verified by ENIC and are adopted widely within the UK Higher Education sector, including:
IELTS (UKVI or Academic) (minimum 5.5 in all components and an overall score of 6.0)
Pearson Test of English (minimum 59 in all subscores)
Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) (minimum grade C)
Cambridge English: Level 1 Certificate in ESOL International (B2 First) – minimum grade C
TOEFL (IBT or IBT Home Edition online) 72 overall with the following component scores:
  • Listening – 17
  • Writing – 17
  • Speaking – 20
  • Reading – 18
LanguageCert ESOL examinations:
  • International ESOL C1 Expert – pass in all four components
  • International ESOL SELT B2 (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) – minimum 33 in all components
  • ESOL Integrated Skills in English II – pass in all components
• IELTS Indicator* (online) – minimum 5.5 in all components and an overall score of 6.0
*Accepted on exceptional basis for the applicants whose local test centres are affected by closures due to Covid-19
Further International Entry Information
For more information, please look at our International Entry page
International Entry Requirements

What you can expect from your degree

The gaming industry has exploded in recent years thanks to exciting technological advances that have opened the door to dynamic, immersive experiences like never before. With gaming companies on the lookout for talented game designers, programmers and testers, now’s the perfect time to study a game design degree course.

At SAE, you’ll learn how to design and develop next-level video games while advancing your game development and programming skills in 2 years rather than 3. Beat the competition by graduating industry-ready more quickly than at a traditional university – while saving money on course and accommodation fees too.

Across your 2 years at SAE, you’ll explore level design and narrative construction by completing real-world project briefs in a simulated games studio environment. You’ll gain advanced skills in industry-standard software packages, such as Unreal Engine 5, Unity 3D, Adobe Creative Suite, Autodesk Suite (Maya) and Visual Studio, plus expert proficiency in programming languages C# and C++.

SAE’s highly experienced Experts will introduce you to the professional world of game design, showing you the ropes in programming, UI/UX design and industry workflows. As you explore common game engines and asset development fundamentals, you’ll complete group projects and run playtesting for the games you’ve developed, validating your understanding of game design theory and application.

Levelling up

As you progress your studies, you’ll get ready to embrace real-world success thanks to SAE’s focus on practical learning, business planning skills and games industry knowledge. In your final trimester, you’ll complete a Major Project in a chosen area of specialism – a perfect opportunity to connect with industry experts with a view to future game design employment.

At the end of your time with us, you’ll graduate equipped with the skills of a professional game developer and ready to launch into the industry as a game designer, game developer, concept artist, multimedia specialist or software engineer. Simply put, SAE’s accelerated game design degree really puts you ahead of the game.

Games Programming Degree

What you'll learn

At the end of your 2-year game design degree you will:
  • Learn game development and master your craft in a collaborative studio-based environment.
  • Confidently operate the latest industry software, including Unreal Engine 5, Autodesk’s Maya, Unity 3D, Visual Studio and Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Blend hands-on immersive training with academic learning for well-rounded education from day one.
  • Design and playtest games you love playing.
  • Gain entrepreneurial and business skills to take into your game design career.
  • Collaborate creatively on games projects with SAE students from other courses, such as animators, musicians, filmmakers and marketers.
  • Develop a significant portfolio of work to present to industry.
  • Build an impressive network of connections across the wider creative industries.
  • Graduate career ready with practical employment skills gained through strong industry links.
  • Game design course start dates available in January and September.


Simon Peacock work at SAE
Develop advanced skills in industry-standard software packages and programming languges Software: Unreal Engine 5, Unity 3D, Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Substance, Premiere Pro, Audition), Autodesk Suite (Maya), Visual Studio.
Languages: C#, C++
Practical, immersive training Practical skills are vital. Our learning approach is a blend of vocational and academic from day one.


The BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design course is an accelerated 2-year degree, split over 6 trimesters. Its structure follows 3 distinct stages – each designed to help you develop specific skills. Dividing it this way ensures you graduate as a well-rounded game designer with a thorough understanding of the entire game development process.

• Stage 1 (T1 and T2) provides a foundation of core technical knowledge.

• Stage 2 (T3 and T4) broadens your skills, and collaboration, exploring new areas of game design.

• Stage 3 (T5 and T6) is all-encompassing, covering every aspect of game development from conception to completion, including entrepreneurial aspects like project management, business planning and marketing.

Trimester 1
Develop the essential technical game design skills and knowledge needed to collaborate with professionals and your fellow creative media students.
During the Game Programming Basics module of this pioneering games design degree, you’ll learn the fundamental knowledge and skills of game development. As you progress your studies, you’ll discover object-oriented programming (OOP) and common algorithms used for games, while practising practical applications. You’ll also explore core mathematics and other programming fundamentals to support your learning, such as logic operations, algorithms and basic vector mathematics.

Topics include:

  • Programming basics

  • Structured programming

  • Object-oriented programming

  • Introduction to algorithms

  • Boolean algebra and numeral systems

  • Vector arithmetic

  • Version control
Across this module, which complements the Programming Basics module of this game designer degree, you’ll gain an overview of the concepts and practice of games design. As you research elements of game design, you’ll learn to create your own games, exploring the functionality and operation of game engines. You’ll also be mentored through your own game project and learn how to implement and tweak game mechanics and mechanisms in common game engines.

Topics include:

  • Game design fundamentals

  • Game engine basics

  • Game mechanics

  • Game mechanism
Trimester 2
Across your second trimester, you’ll broaden your scope to put what you’ve learned in Trimester 1 into practice, while getting to grips with industry-standard practices.
In Applied Game Design, you’ll apply the theories and frameworks of foundational game design, using testing frameworks to validate your theories in practice. As you learn the fundamentals of level design and user interface design, you’ll have fun checking the quality of the games through playtesting. You’ll also prepare for the real-world of game development by presenting the data you’ve collected to others in a variety of ways.

Topics include:

  • Asset management and creation

  • Playtesting and QA

  • Data collection principals and ethics

  • Statistics for game design

  • UI/UX

  • Level design
Across the Games and Culture module of this game design accelerated degree, you’ll explore a small game project to research and present the context of games culture, focusing on an appropriate genre or game space. Across the pre-production stage of the project, you’ll discover fundamental game production methodologies and theories of play. As you enhance your skills in this area, you’ll present your learnings to the class using a variety of mediums.

Topics include:

  • Academic research and writing

  • Game production basics (agile/scrum, kanban, risk analysis, etc)

  • History and culture of games

  • Ethics of video games

  • Theories of play (flow, magic circle, MDA)

  • Narrative in video games
Trimester 3
Game designers, in collaboration with game programmers, are critical to meeting the technical needs of a game project. Throughout Trimester 3, you’ll work on gaming projects in our creative studio, providing a highly practical aspect to your education as you develop your professional practice and familiarise yourself with industry-standard tools. Across this hands-on module, you’ll learn how to apply iterative design and rapid prototyping to develop all the necessary systems and tools for a functional, captivating game world.

Topics could cover:

  • Rapid prototyping

  • Games narrative

  • Reward systems

  • User interface and user experience (UI/UX) design

  • World building
Trimester 4
The second Creative Studio term focuses on collaborative game design. Building on your practical knowledge, you’ll work together in a group to create games designed to reach an intended audience.
The Creative Studio 2 module is all about collaborative game design. You’ll pair up with students from other SAE programmes outside your games design course, encouraging you to explore new creative perspectives and gain fresh ideas. A key part of the module is identifying a target market and developing a product to distribute to paying gamers as you discover the commercial, community and marketplace aspects of games development.

Topics could cover:

  • Commercial games

  • Modern marketplaces for games

  • Games product lifecycle

  • GAAS

  • Mobile and platforms

  • Business planning

  • Marketing
Trimester 5
As you near the end of your game development degree, you’ll start to specialise, advancing your skills across your chosen area of the game design industry.
Research is key to the successful outcome of any creative project. Across this module you’ll explore the value of research, qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and their application for artistic and scientific research, as well as learning how research experience can advance your prospects on the job market. You’ll advance your knowledge, planning and implementation of research-based inquiry to address specific questions, while deepening your understanding of the creative media industries and your potential role as a game designer. Using your mastery in creative media practice in combination with evidence-based decision making, you’ll develop a proposal, in collaboration with our Experts, for your final Major Project (Trimester 6).

Topics could cover:

  • Games with meaning, inquiry, and purpose (serious games)

  • Game economies

  • The psychology of games

  • Accessibility

  • Research methodologies and their application in the creative media industries

  • Scientific research and practice

  • Contemporary issues surrounding research

  • Developing a research question / hypothesis

  • Gathering, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data

  • Literature review and critical analysis of existing research

  • Research ethics
Trimester 6
The final module of this game design degree course lets you demonstrate the practical and academic skills you’ve developed across your 2 years at SAE via a large-scale advanced-level project.
During your final trimester, you’ll implement the Major Project you designed, scoped and planned across Trimester 5. This industry-focused venture lets you concentrate on a specialism of your choosing, advancing your knowledge and skills in this area. Depending on your topic, you can use it as a springboard into industry or as a way to make connections with industry professionals that may lead to future employment. Some of our previous students have exploited this creative opportunity to the fullest, creating award-winning game designs or launching their own businesses.
UCAS Course Codes


World-class facilities
Learn your craft in SAE’s high-tech studio complete with industry-standard tools and software such as Unreal Engine 5, Unity 3D, Maya, Visual Studio and Adobe Creative Suite.
Explore more
Expert support
Be guided by SAE’s Experts every step of your learning journey – they’re all highly experienced professionals at the forefront of the game design industry.
Meet your mentors
Accelerated learning
Get into the industry quickly with our game design accelerated degree – completed in 2 rather than 3 years – and save on tuition fees and living expenses, too.
Our degrees explained
Creative collaboration
Unleash your artistic side and network with fellow Game Design creatives, as well as industry practitioners and those studying other SAE disciplines.

Career Outcomes

What jobs will this course lead to?

  • Game Designer
  • Game Tester
  • Game Programmer
  • Game Animator
  • Game Developer
  • Android Developer
  • Concept Artist
  • VFX artist
  • Game Writer
  • Level Designer
  • Gaming Journalist
  • UI Designer


With our industry connections, specialised teachers and personalised education in world-class facilities, you can unleash your creative future with confidence.
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Course FAQs

While we recommend that anyone invest in their hardware, our labs are kitted out with high-end PCs that you can access for your classes. Students can also book access to PCs when they aren’t in use.

We are looking to see an applicants’ best and most refined artwork in whatever medium they choose, and should evidence their creativity and technical skill. You are welcome to contact our admissions team for advice on what you should include.

We are looking to see applicants passion for film, if you have created any work before applying. This can include examples of your work, script work or practical mov examples or anything creative and film related that boosts your creative vision. We would also like a 800 word write up of why you want to study film production as well as what your favourite is and why? (400 words on each). You are welcome to contact our admissions team for advice on what you should include.

You can provide a PDF document or a personal URL with your artwork. Traditional artwork should be scanned and submitted in a digital image format like JPEG, or as part of a PDF.

How can we help you?
Learn more about our courses, ask a question or request more information.
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