Course information




1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Course overview

Goldsmiths' operating principles for 2022-23 have not yet been finalised but should changes be required to teaching in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will publish these as early as possible for prospective students wishing to start their programme in September 2022.

On this brave independent games programme 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 Federico Fasce.

What you'll study

Compulsory 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
Interactive Narrative and Digital Storytelling 15 credits

Additionally, you will take 75 credits worth of option modules from a list made available by the department. This following is an indicative list of option modules available on this programme.

Module title Credits
Introduction to Modelling and Animation 15 credits
Data and Machine Learning for Creative Practice 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
Introduction to Programming for Games 15 credits
Advanced Programming for Games 15 credits
Augmented and Mixed Realities 15 credits
Physical Computing 2 15 credits
Advanced Programming for Games 15 credits
History of Computer Games, Art and Animation 15 credits
Virtual Reality 15 credits
Critical Social Media Practices 15 credits
Computing the User Experience 15 credits

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


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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