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
For 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
You will study the following modules:
|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|
Additionally, you will take 90 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.
|Option modules||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|
|Narrative and Interactive Fiction||15 credits|
|Introduction to Programming for Games||15 credits|
|Advanced Programming for Games||15 credits|
|Mixed Realities||15 credits|
|Physical Computing 2||15 credits|
|Advanced Programming for Games||15 credits|
|History of Computer Games, Art and Animation||15 credits|
|Introduction to Virtual Reality||15 credits|
|Critical Social Media Practices||15 credits|
|Computing the User Experience||15 credits|
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
What our students say
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.
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 6.0 in writing 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 2021/2022 academic year.
- Home - full-time: £10870
- International - full-time: £16120
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Tier 4 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.
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.
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.
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.