Course information

Department

Computing

Length

1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Course overview

On this brave games Masters focusing on game design, you’ll explore the ways that games are used in the creative arts to engage conversation, inspire personal expression, and explore our world

Why study MA Games and Playful Design

This degree will teach you how to use game design to develop aesthetic awareness, and create meaningful experiences. With technology and gaming becoming part of our everyday lives, the industry has adapted to use games to tell stories, generate knowledge, and educate the public.

An explosion of games and apps has created a new breed of entrepreneur, with small teams able to create and launch projects that are accessible to millions. This rising market has become increasingly successful in the UK.

Throughout this degree:

  • You’ll learn how to build compelling mechanics, craft innovative narratives, and develop immersive playable environments.
  • We’ll encourage you to push games into new territories and intellectual domains.
  • You’ll explore the freedom of the gaming industry, from putting players in immersive augmented worlds to telling transformational personal narratives, these new experiences are redefining the rules of play.
  • You’ll be part of a supportive community of game creators, working on your own or teaming up with fellow students from other games and art programmes.
  • You’ll benefit from a vibrant hands-on environment led by lecturers with solid experience in the games industry and other experience design industries.
  • You’ll have access to our specialist lab facilities, as well as a large library of video and board games.
  • You’ll explore games in a broad way, from industry-oriented development to VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality), building your own alternative controllers, and creating large-scale installations or immersive theatre experiences.
  • You’ll be able to participate in regular game jams and industry events on campus.
  • We’ll mentor you to help you find your voice and place as a game and experience designer, setting you up with the skills to shape your career whether as an independent studio owner or elsewhere in the games industry.
  • You’ll gain a host of transferrable skills that are valuable in game design but also in other industries. These include independent games, XR (extended reality) studios, interactive film, advertising and media outlets, journalism, non-profits, education, design, and fine arts.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Fede Fasce or Alan Zucconi.

What you'll study

Compulsory modules

You'll study the following compulsory modules.

Module title Credits
Approaches to Play 1 15 credits
Approaches to Play 2 15 credits
Final Project for MA Independent Games and Playable Experience Design 60 credits
Interactive Narrative and Digital Storytelling 15 credits
Approaches to Play 2 15 credits

You'll also need to choose to study either Visual Games Development or Games Programming 1 for 15 additional credits.

 

Optional modules

You'll also take a further 60 credits across a selection of 15 and 30-credit modules in the Department of Computing.

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

For 2021-22 and 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the programme changes page.

What our students say

Russ Bittles

Learning was always the most important part of the experience. Exploring new concepts, challenging beliefs, and broadening my understanding was why I chose to study in the UK, and Goldsmiths delivered.

One of the things I enjoyed most about my time at Goldsmiths was the atmosphere. Learning was always the most important part of the experience. Exploring new concepts, challenging beliefs, and broadening my understanding was why I chose to study in the UK, and Goldsmiths delivered.

My reason for choosing the MA Independent Games and Playable Experience Design (IGPED) at Goldsmiths was to add a player experience approach to my technical game development undergraduate degree. By offering courses asking us why we make games, and what statements we are making through our games, IGPED helped me develop a more holistic approach to games and play. The supplemental courses can be tailored to meet your design approach, and the overall experience was worth the year I spent living in the UK.

One of my favourite parts about studying in New Cross/south east London were the different foods available within the area. The proximity to central London, Greenwich, and other cool places. I spent some time at the gyro place in New Cross. I got a couple of tattoos at The Gilt Moth in Greenwich.

Take some time to see the city. It's a wide world, and there's plenty to do. Your studies are not the only reason to attend university. Meet people, have a pint. The workload isn't that overwhelming, and it's not the end of the world if you get a 60.

 

Marcus Ansley

I'd highly recommend taking part in some of the game jams throughout the year, and keep your eye out for the extracurricular work your developing skillset allows for.

For me, this course was an entry point into games development and the tech industry more broadly. It provides a brilliant opportunity for a wide variety of students to learn game development practices from programming to modeling to game design and narrative design, even if a student's background is in something completely different. Our year alone had graduates from design, philosophy, engineering, and literature to name a few, and we were each able to develop our skill-sets and our own voice through our games. 

This course can be quite challenging, particularly if you take some of the advanced modules currently on offer, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and liberating when you find yourself with an entirely new set of skills for creative expression. On a personal note, I'd highly recommend taking part in some of the game jams throughout the year, and keep your eye out for the extracurricular work your developing skillset allows for. Aside from that, I hope you enjoy it and tell the stories you want to tell!

I'm currently contracted as a game developer for a small studio based in London (but working remotely). I'm mainly responsible for programming the games we need to make in Unity as well as getting out playable prototypes. I do like how hands-on development work is, and I love getting to extend my skillset as a programmer and continue learning new techniques and practices.

Shani Thompson

Doing this MA was such an amazing opportunity to immerse myself in the games industry.

A truly unique and valuable experience which provided a holistic multidisciplinary exploration of games and play, doing this MA was such an amazing opportunity to immerse myself in the games industry. Although I was new to digital game design I always felt secure with the vast range of research presented to explore, the wonderful cohort I got to study with, and the creative welcoming environment of the course itself. Doing this course through the lockdown was definitely an experience in itself, but both teachers and university staff were unwaveringly supportive which was invaluable during uncertain times in maintaining my morale.

I chose this course out of the variety of games courses available as the title indicated to me a place to explore and facilitate new ideas inspired by the theories behind games. As a designer, this open approach to trendsetting appealed to me and a year later I am not disappointed – in fact, it was far more magical than I had imagined. The modules were dynamic and interesting, the variety of interesting people I met through the course was so fantastic and truly inspirational.

After graduation, I worked on a 4-month project as a research and development associate focusing on games and playable experiences event research, and planning. I am currently working as a part-time assistant curator. I am excited about the journey the course has started me on and the passion that the lecturers have is truly contagious and I really look forward to applying what I have learned through the unusual but amazing year. I hope to do more research and development around games and play in the future.

Going to university is a dynamic experience in itself and can fill you with a mixture of emotions but it is important to try new things and see all experiences, especially those that take unexpected turns. But, remember that you are not alone and there is always help or a friendly ear when things get challenging.

Entry requirements

You should have an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard with an interest in and capability for working in interdisciplinary contexts using technology. In exceptional circumstances, outstanding practitioners or individuals with strong commercial experience may be considered. 

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 overall and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2022/2023 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £11200
  • Home - part-time: £5600
  • International - full-time: £16600

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document, PDF, or can be completed online (please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement).
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • A portfolio of creative work with at least two examples of past projects. the documentation can vary and be from any discipline. Possible examples include video of a performance, creative writing, a game, design work, drawings, animation, film, music, or documentation of an initiative done within a community.

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Student work

Staff

Federico Fasce

Photo of course convenor, Federico Fasce

Federico Fasce has a background in game design and media studies. He has been working in the games industry and other related fields for more than 20 years. His interests lie in the meaning of games and play as languages, and in how and why people play games and get meaning from them, particularly from an anthropological point of view.

When designing games, Federico focuses on emotions and on how game mechanics can be used in order to facilitate a given feeling or deliver a certain message. He is currently self-producing small games that explore relationships and love. 

He has a wide experience in applying games to other fields and has been working as a consultant and game designer with several international clients like Heineken and Ferrari. He has designed and developed three research games for King's College and he designed several game-like museum experiences. 

He has also worked as a creative technologist for The Guardian, taking part on an experimental project about journalism in Virtual Reality. At the Guardian, he helped to design and produce several award-winning VR experiences.

Federico has been a mentor for several game design students, both informally and inside the LCC mentoring program. He strongly believes in shared knowledge and in the importance of building a community, and always tries to empower mentees and students. He has also taught game design in several institutions in Italy, has organised game design and fast prototyping workshops.

He has cofounded Game Happens, a cultural association in Italy exploring the borders of the game industry. The association organizes an annual event in Genova where people talk about game design and development.

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