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BSc (Hons) Games Programming Degree

Unlock your creativity, take your skills to the next level and study games programming at SAE. On our fast-tracked games programming course, you’ll learn the programming and software development techniques that make games work. You’ll learn about topics like Games AI, procedural generation, tools development, and gameplay programming - all while using the very best industry standard games development software.
BSc (Hons) Game Design & Development Degree
Available at
London, Leamington Spa, Liverpool, Glasgow
Fees
BSc (Hons) Games Programming Degree
Domestic Fees
London

£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.

Glasgow

£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 January 2024.

Liverpool

£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.

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.

BSc (Hons) Games Programming Degree
International Fees
London

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.

Glasgow

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.

Liverpool

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.

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.

Duration(s)
2 years full-time
BSc (Hons) Games Programming Degree
Course Durations
2 years full-time
Start Date(s)
January and September 2024
BSc (Hons) Games Programming Degree
Start Dates
London
  • January and September 2024

Leamington Spa
  • January and September 2024

Liverpool
  • January and September 2024

Glasgow
  • January and September 2024

Entry Requirements
BSc (Hons) Games Programming 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
BSc (Hons) Games Programming 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)
www.ielts.org
Pearson Test of English (minimum 59 in all subscores)
www.pearsonpte.com
Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) (minimum grade C)
www.cambridgeenglish.org
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
www.ets.org/toefl
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
www.languagecert.org
• 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
IELTS
Further International Entry Information
For more information, please look at our International Entry page
International Entry Requirements

What you can expect from your Games Programming degree

Always wanted to learn to make games as a games programmer? With SAE’s fast-tracked games programming degree, you’ll take part in an immersive learning experience – uniquely tailored to aspiring games programmers – across 2 years rather than the usual 3. Integrating fundamental theories with hands-on practice, you’ll set yourself up for success thanks to this accelerated games programming degree course, where you’ll be preparing for a thriving career from the moment you arrive.

Throughout this unique and practical focused games programming course, you’ll refine industry-specific skills, gaining technical expertise and practical proficiency. During your time as an SAE student, you’ll have unlimited access to the industry-standard software in our state-of-the-art computer labs, meaning you’ll gain a good working knowledge of software programmes like Unreal Engine 5, Unity3D, Visual Studio and Maya, and programming languages C++ and C#.

In addition to mastering programming techniques, you’ll gain vital project management skills, refine your academic writing abilities, and learn how to problem-solve effectively to ensure optimal project results. Over the course of your game programming degree, you’ll also benefit from the mentorship of SAE’s experts, who are all seasoned professionals in the industry with a vast amount of knowledge to share.

Levelling up

As part of your degree in games programming, you’ll work with SAE students within the games programme degree, as well as those in other creative disciplines such as music, film and animation, on a range of projects that mirror real-world scenarios. This will build your teamwork skills, enrich your professional portfolio and provide you with an extensive network of creatives to stay in touch with after graduation.

At the end of your 2 years with SAE, you’ll have gained essential knowledge across game engines, mechanics and mechanisms and will be well versed in design principles, composition algorithms, artificial intelligence and many other industry-relevant topics. So, whether your dream is to become a game designer, analyst, programmer or writer, it’s definitely game on at SAE.

A close-up of a student working with games programming tools on a computer.

What you'll learn

At the end of your 2-year games programming degree you will:
  • Gain key knowledge and skills in game programming, forming a solid foundation for your future studies and career.
  • Learn programming languages C++ and C#.
  • Confidently operate the latest industry software, including 3ds Max, Unreal Engine 5, Maya and Unity3D.
  • Design your own game world, NPCs, levels and content using common engines.
  • Understand professional workflows for environment creation and real-time games programming. 
  • Collaborate on original projects with peers from other creative disciplines, such as animation, film and audio.
  • Develop a significant portfolio of work to present to industry.
  • Build a network of peers and professionals across the creative industries.
  • Graduate career-ready with a degree in games programming from a recognised creative institute.
  • Games programming course start dates available in January and September.

YOUR CAREER IN GAMES BEGINS NOW

What your course structure will look like

The BA/BSc (Hons) Games Programming is an accelerated games programme degree course that takes place over 2 years and 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 games programmer with a universal 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 by creating collaborative game projects, and exploring new areas of games programming.
• Stage 3 (T5 and T6) is all-encompassing, covering every aspect of games development from conception to completion, including entrepreneurial aspects like project management, finance and business skills.
Trimester 1
At the start of your learning journey, you’ll develop fundamental skills and knowledge in game programming and development that will lay the groundwork for the rest of your course, as well as your career as a whole.
In this module, you’ll learn games programming fundamentals such as object-oriented programming (OOP) and common algorithms used in game development. You’ll also explore core mathematics and other foundational programming skills, from logic operations to 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, you’ll gain an overview of the concepts and practice of games design. As you research elements of game design and learn to create your own, you’ll explore game mechanics and mechanisms and the functionality and operation of game engines. Finally, you’ll apply game mechanics and mechanisms used in common game engines to a real-world game project.

Topics include:

  • Game Design Fundamentals

  • Game Engine Basics

  • Game Mechanics

  • Game Mechanisms

Trimester 2
In your second trimester, you’ll continue to develop your programming skills. As you explore structured game development and game dynamics, you’ll also learn about artificial intelligence algorithms that can enrich the games world.
In this module, you’ll further develop your technical programming skills as you learn to distinguish between different software architectures. You’ll also learn about code optimisation and how this can be leveraged across your own game projects.

Topics include:

  • Design Patterns
  • Data Structures
  • Software Architecture
  • Copyright Basics
  • Game Production Basics
  • Optimisation (Profiling)
In this module, you’ll explore the concepts of both procedural content development and artificial intelligence (AI). With a basis in statistics and heuristics, you’ll learn to develop generative and procedural content for a game world, along with basic AI systems. You’ll then implement these through non-playable characters (NPCs) within a game project.

Topics include:

  • Statistics
  • Heuristics
  • AI Fundamentals
    • Pathfinding
    • Behaviour Trees
    • Finite State Machines
  • Composition Algorithms, e.g.
    • Maze, Dungeon and Landscape Composition Algorithms
Trimester 3
During the third trimester, you’ll be introduced to the professional working environment through several real-world project briefs. Creative Studio lets you polish your skill set with practical assessment activities that reflect modern industry practices.
In collaboration with game designers, game programmers are a critical component of meeting a game project’s technical needs. In this module, you’ll learn how to design a level, and then develop all the necessary systems and tools for a functional, immersive and dynamic world – including shaders, special effects, level lighting, functionality-extending tools and advanced procedural content algorithms.

Topics may include:

  • Level Design
  • Computer Graphics
  • Shader Programming
  • Lighting
  • Animation Programming (IK, FK)
  • PCG Advanced (L System, Generative Algorithms)
  • Persistent Data
Trimester 4
This trimester, your primary focus will be on exploring professional workflows for environment creation and real-time games programming.
In your second Creative Studio module, you’ll be introduced to network fundamentals and operations for multiplayer games. You’ll explore the mobile development process while optimising and improving a project’s performance. A key aim of the module is to identify a target market and develop a product that can be distributed to a paying audience. This will see you teaming up with students from other SAE programmes, such as Game Art and Animation and Games Design, for creative collaboration opportunities.

Topics may include:

  • VR/AR development
  • Specific Platform Development
  • Mobile Development
  • Performance Optimisations
  • Multithreading
  • Performance Analysis
  • Business Planning
  • Marketing
Trimester 5
As you approach the end of your degree in games programming, you’ll decide on your area of professional interest and develop a deeper knowledge of your chosen field by studying one of 3 optional modules.
In Creative Studio 3, you’ll explore qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and their application for both artistic and scientific research. As you plan and implement a research-based inquiry to address specific questions, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the creative media industries and your future role within them.

Topics may include:

  • Network programming
  • Server-Client Communication
  • Lag Compensation
  • Back-End Development
  • Machine Learning
  • AI Advanced (GOAP, Utility AI)
  • ECS
  • Compute Shaders
  • Physics
  • Research Methodologies And Their Application
  • 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
In this module, you’ll expand on your existing knowledge and produce work of a professional calibre within your field of expertise. Choose to participate in real-world projects via internships, collaborate with peers across diverse creative fields, tackle simulated briefs or develop your own projects. This subject provides a platform for you to hone your skills, build your network and curate a portfolio that showcases your talents.

Topics may include:

  • Machine Learning

  • AI Advanced (GOAP, Utility AI)

  • ECS

  • Compute Shaders

  • VR/AR Development

  • Physics

In this subject, you’ll prepare for your final Major Project, craft your project proposal with guidance from our SAE Experts. You’ll also enhance your essential academic and professional skills, which will prove useful when applying for jobs in the industry or pursuing postgraduate studies.
Trimester 6
In the last module of your games programming course, you’ll demonstrate the practical and academic skills you’ve developed across your 2 years at SAE via a large-scale advanced-level project.
Your degree in games programming culminates with your final Major Project, which you’ll have planned out during Trimester 5. This module allows you to refine your skills in your chosen area of interest, executing a project from start to finish and enriching your portfolio. Your Major Project will see you connect with industry professionals, strengthen your resume and potentially even springboard into entrepreneurship after graduation.
UCAS Course Codes
BA (Hons) Games Programming G620
University of Hertfordshire
Level 6 This program was developed and is delivered and assessed by SAE Institute, awarded by and quality assured by University of Hertfordshire.

WHY STUDY GAMES PROGRAMMING AT SAE?

A pair of students working on games programming on a computer.
World-class facilities
Learn games programming skills and techniques in our high-tech computer labs, kitted out with advanced hardware and software from brands like Autodesk, Unity and Epic Games.
Explore more
A tutor teaching creative media.
Expert support
With SAE’s Experts by your side, you’ll receive guidance, mentorship and valuable industry insights as you progress through the course.
Meet your mentors
A games programming student working on an iPad.
Accelerated learning
Speed up your studies and cut down on course and living costs as you graduate in 2 years rather than 3 compared with a traditional university.
Our degrees explained
A group of games programming students collaborating.
Creative collaboration
Engage in collaborative projects with your games programming course peers, as well as SAE students from other creative disciplines.
A student with headphones playing games.

Career Outcomes

What Jobs will this course lead to?

  • Games Programmer
  • Level Designer
  • Simulation Programmer
  • Systems Designer
  • Graphics Programmer
  • Tools Programmer
  • User Interface Programmer
  • Playtester
  • QA Tester
A close-up picture of a Corsair logo.

YOUR DREAM CAREER BEGINS NOW

With our industry connections, specialised teachers and personalised education in world-class facilities, you can unleash your creative future with a Games Programming degree.
Enquire now

Course FAQs

We will use a wide range of tools and software including Unity Engine (2D and 3D), Direct X / Open GL, Blender, C# programming language, Photoshop, Illustrator and Visual Studio.

Yes, you will learn how to design and develop Multiplayer Games using network programming, client-server communication and file I/O.

Yes, we are excited to teach our students the latest technologies such as AI to create an effective immersive experience for the player.

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