Course information

Department

Computing

Length

1 Year Full Time

Course overview

On this brave independent games program focusing on game design, games find purchase in the creative arts to engage conversation, inspire personal expression and explore our world.

This course will teach you how to use game design to develop aesthetic awareness, and create meaningful experiences. Students learn how to build compelling mechanics, craft innovative narratives, and develop immersive playable environments. Together, we will push games into new territories and intellectual domains.

As technologies have integrated into our everyday lives, elements from games have been woven into everything, from the way museums educate the public, to how scientists do cancer research. With the rise of mobile games, console creators no longer hold a monopoly on gaming platforms. This new-found freedom has resulted in an explosion of independent games – from putting players in immersive augmented worlds, to telling transformational personal narratives, these new experiences are redefining the rules of play.

Games are now part of everyday life. As a result, markets previously dominated by traditional media have begun to leverage the ability of games to tell stories, generate knowledge, and educate the public. An explosion of games and apps has created a new breed of entrepreneur, who uses small teams to create projects accessible to millions. This rising market has become a driving economic reality within the UK.

Why Study MA Independent Games Design at Goldsmiths?

  • This MA has several informal focus areas students can choose from:
    • Independent games design and development
    • Mixed reality (XR), playful experiences, and installation design
    • Games for change
    • Machine learning and game user experiences
    • Using Creative Coding and Physical Computing
  • You can build skills to start your own game design studio.
  • You will be mentored on how to grow in your creative career.
  • When you graduate, you can use game design in a wide range of fields both inside and outside the game industry, including independent games, XR studios, interactive film, advertising and media outlets, journalism, non-profits, education, design, and fine arts.
  • You will be part of a supportive community of games creators who actively release titles, and have access to a large library of video games and board games.
  • Goldsmiths hosts frequent game jams, and industry events on campus, which you will be able to participate in.
  • The UK has a strong community of publishers and creators with innovative voices creating groundbreaking titles, which you will have access to.

Who should apply?

  • Game Designers and Developers who want to break out, and be award-winning pioneers in their field, celebrated for their creative vision.
  • Artists interested in games as a creative practice.
  • Designers who want to grow their programming ability – unlike other MAs, this degree requires no pre-existing programming experience.
  • Game developers who want to acquire game design skills.
  • People interested in using games to generate dialogue around social justice issues.
  • Theatre creators and performers interested in games as a performative medium.
  • Educators who want to use games to create richer and more interactive learning spaces.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Phoenix Perry

What you'll study

Core modules

You will study the following 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

And either:

Module title Credits
  Physical Computing 1 15 credits

Or:

Additionally, a selection of optional modules to the value of 15 and 30 credits will be provided from an annual list for each term and will be made available by the department. 

The current list of optional proposed modules for 2017-2018 is:

 

Module title Credits
  Introduction to Modelling and Animation 15 credits
  Creative Data 15 credits
  Workshops in Creative Coding 1 15 credits
  Workshops in Creative Coding 2 15 credits
  3D Virtual Environments and Animation 15 credits
  Entrepreneurial Modelling 30 credits
  Physical Computing 1 15 credits
  Narrative and Interactive Fiction 15 credits
  Introduction to Programming for Games and Interactive Graphics 15 credits
  Advanced Programming for Games and Interactive Graphics 15 credits
  Mixed Realities 15 credits

Download the programme specification, for the 2019-20 intake. 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.

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 with a 6.5 in writing 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 2019/20 academic year.

  • Home/EU - full-time: £10140
  • International - full-time: £15040

Please note that EU fees are being fixed at the above rate for 2019 entry. The fee level will be fixed for the duration of your programme.

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.

If you're an international student interested in studying part-time, please contact our Admissions Team to find out if you're eligible.

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

In the final month of their degree, students from the MA Independent Games and Playable Experience Design plan their exhibition, while working to finish their games ahead of the opening.

Staff

Phoenix Perry

Photo of Phoenix Perry

Phoenix Perry creates physical games and embodied experiences. Her work looks for opportunities to bring people together to raise awareness of our collective inter-connectivity. Her current research underway at Goldsmiths, University of London looks at leveraging our other senses, with a particular focus on using sound and skin-based feedback to trigger an affective response.

A consummate advocate for women in game development, she founded Code Liberation Foundation, an organization which teaches women to program games for free. Since starting in 2012, the project has reached more than 3000 women in the New York and London areas between the ages of 16 to 60.

Fostering professional growth and mentoring new leaders in the field, Phoenix strives to infuse the industry with new voices. She is currently a Lecturer in Physical Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the program leader of the Independent Games and Playable Experience MA, which she authored. Before this, she was a Sr. Lecturer at HKU in the Netherlands, and an Adjunct Professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, NYU Game Center and NYU ITP. She founded a game studio which she ran for three years called Dozen Eyes Games, which focused on games and installations which created social change. The highlight of this project was the creation of a game with the US State Department to help newly arrived refugees in the US. During this time, she also owned and ran Devotion Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from 2009 to 2014, which was a vital cultural establishment producing over 200 classes, exhibitions, and events.

Phoenix has an MS from NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and is currently studying for her PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London.

In 2017, she gave a talk at the Audio Developer Conference in London, titled "How can physical play give people a stronger sense of human connection?".

What our students say

So-hyun

I feel fulfilled every week after classes and assignments, even though they make me exhausted.

"I worked in the Korean game industry for about 6 years. During the time, I always felt a desire of self-development, and the narrowness of the local market made me dream of studying abroad. One day in 2017, I happened to find the MA Independent Games and Playable Experience Design, which I am on now. It was fascinating, well structured and most of all, unique. I could not find any similar course in the UK.

I recieved offers from two other universities, but I chose Goldsmiths because the other courses didn't speak to me as much as this one – I had already fallen in love with it. An interview with my professor, Phoenix Perry, was also one of the key factors in choosing Goldsmiths. Her passion and research were admirable, and I really wanted to study under her.

I am now in the second month of my course, and quite sure I made good choice. Students are nice and creative, and teachers are enthusiastic. Modules and classes are fairly interesting and helpful. I want to be a stand-alone developer, and my course supports my dream so far. I feel fulfilled every week after classes and assignments, even though they make me exhausted."

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