BA (Hons) Games Art and Design

BA (Hons) Games Art and Design

Study games at NUA and you will join a university ranked in the world’s top courses by the global games industry veterans behind The Rookies in 2022.

Our BA (Hons) Games Art and Design degree has an international reputation for producing graduates who excel in a constantly evolving industry. The Rookies ranked NUA in its global top 20 — alongside colleges, studios and universities in San Francisco, Singapore and Paris. NUA was also given the 2021 Education Award for Innovative Teaching by the UK’s games industry body, TIGA.

The course is a member of the Sony PlayStation First Academic Partnership Programme and is accredited by ScreenSkills and industry body TIGA.

Versatile skills

Graduates from our BA (Hons) Games Art and Design course have gone on to work on major titles, from Forza Horizon 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2, to Batman: Arkham Asylum and Sea of Thieves.

You will design and create characters, props, environments and vehicles using 2D and 3D content creation software for a range of platforms, including console, web, mobile, computer, augmented and virtual reality.

Joining the NUA Games community enables interaction and collaboration with peers on our sister course, BSc (Hons) Games Development, as you pursue your area of specialism in Concept Art or Asset Production.

You will follow in the footsteps of:

  • BAFTA-winning games designers
  • The V&A’s first Games Designer in Residence
  • Dare to Be Digital finalists.

Our graduates have gone on to become employees at Rockstar Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, Foundry 42, Rebellion, Crytek, Frontier Developments, Splash Damage, Ubisoft, and many more.

Skills for games careers

The starting point will be to develop a strong set of core skills rather than focusing on a single discipline.

Once you’ve mastered the essentials, you’ll have the option to specialise in one of three areas:

  • Concept Art
  • Asset Production
  • Indie Development.

And you’ll develop analytical skills that will help you critique and explain successful games design.

Games industry relevance

You will learn how to use computational logic to generate interactivity in the creation of game prototypes.

You’ll also approach design and content creation with a focus on originality, supported by research into historical, cultural and broader creative influences, helping you become a well-rounded and inventive games designer.

And there will be opportunities to engage in professional networking, whether through our programme of high-profile visiting speakers from industry, or major events like Develop: Brighton, EGX, Ukie Conference, and Norwich’s annual Games Festival.

Graduates work in a broad range of careers including

  • Games Designer
  • Concept Artist
  • 2D Artist
  • 3D Artist
  • Animator
  • Lead Artist Level Editor
  • Project Manager
  • Producer
  • Community Manager
  • Creative Director
  • External Producer
  • QA Tester
  • Sales Manager

You’ll also get specialist creative careers advice from our team in the Ideas FactoryNUA to help support you as you plan your career.

Accredited by:

TIGA Accredited CourseScreen Skills SelectPlaystastion FirstTIGA Best Education Institution 2017

This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK’s screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

This course is accredited by TIGA (The Independent Game Developers’ Association) as delivering skills relevant to the games industry.

Success in TIGA Graduate of the Year awards

Four graduates from across BA (Hons) Games Art and Design have been awarded the accolade of TIGA Graduate of the Year in this year’s awards.

TIGA is one of the biggest networks for games developers and digital publishers, representing and championing the games and media industry.

Course information

Institution code: N39
Course 3 Year UCAS code: WL21
Course 4 Year UCAS code: W280
Course length: 3 or 4 year options
Sandwich courses: Creative Professional Development (1 year, Level 5 diploma), or Creative Computing (1 year, Level 5 diploma), available between years 2 & 3

All courses run as a blend of on-campus and digital teaching and learning, and follow current UK government safety advice. Applicants and students will be notified directly if any changes need to be made.

Course content

  • Year 1
  • Learn industry-standard software to design characters, game assets and game prototypes
  • Develop observation and drawing skills though life-drawing, anatomy lectures, and digital painting workshops
  • Generate concept art, emphasising an iterative design process, lighting, composition, colour, texture, narrative, mood and intent
  • Participate in each of three areas of specialism offered on the course (Concept Art, Asset Production and Indie Development) to identify aspirations and future career goals
  • Engage with industry experts and events such as EGX, Develop: Brighton, Norwich Gaming Festival, Brains Eden, and more. Direct your questions and queries direct to guest speakers though a series of visiting lectures
  • Build research skills to support idea generation and development; review and understand the wider games industry, incorporate games studies in to studio practice; and structure valid arguments though essays
  • Improve your game design by examining interactivity and player engagement through playtesting and prototyping techniques.
  • Year 2
  • Focus on your choice of games art specialism for the rest of the course. Concept Art, Asset Production or Indie Development, you decide!
  • Attend lectures and workshops on anatomy to better understand game characters. Grasp the opportunity to create an anatomical figure in wax – one bone at a time
  • Experience industry-set ‘Art Tests’ across each of the subject specialisms, as provided by our industry partners and contacts
  • Work collaboratively to create game prototypes and present the outcomes to a range of audiences at the Norwich Gaming Festival
  • Conduct work-related learning through live briefs, simulated projects and collaborations with external organisations
  • Participate in a range of internal and external ‘Game Jams’ to create a fully working game prototype in under a week. Advance transferrable skills in planning, organisation, project management, team working, and playtesting.
  • Year 3
  • Work individually or in groups on a number of projects that develop work to a professional standard. Create, rehearse, and pitch your ideas to a range of professional audiences
  • Continue to work in a chosen specialism that aligns to your skills and area of interest
  • Refine research skills and continue games studies toward a complete understanding of the production pipelines and industry techniques
  • Complete a Research Report that provides broad contextualisation to your practice
  • Consider aspirations and goals to develop a body of work and create a professional online portfolio progressing you toward your ‘dream job’. Review and hone your skillset in line with industry expectations and practices.
Visit the Degree Show website

Typical UK offers

A / AS Levels – GCE
GCE A/AS Levels 3 A-level qualifications at grades BBB. Where candidates are not taking 3 A-levels, NUA will consider combinations of A-level/AS-level and other Level 3 qualifications.

BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Distinction, Merit, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Distinction*, Distinction* in an art, design or media related subject

T Levels
A T Level in any subject with overall grade Merit or above

UAL Extended Diploma
Merit

UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
Merit

UAL Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
Pass

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
Merit

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)
Pass

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 27 points

NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through your portfolio, responses to questions asked and personal statement, so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

If you are studying at the time of your application and your application is successful it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

If the qualification that you are studying is not shown, do not worry as we are able to accept other pre-entry qualifications as well as combinations of different qualifications. Please do contact our Student Recruitment Team if you have any queries.

International applications

We accept qualifications from all over the world. To find our entry requirements from a specific country, please check our dedicated international pages.

Most international students are required to hold an English language qualification. Applicants are required to have a minimum UKVI approved IELTS exam score of 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each section. Equivalent English language qualifications are acceptable such as, IB English language syllabus A or B/English Literature (Grade 4).

We also accept some alternative English qualifications. Learn more about our English entry requirements.

You can email us on international@nua.ac.uk if you’d like to discuss your application individually.

BA (Hons) Games Art and Design degree portfolio guidance

Your portfolio should be relevant to this course, but you can include a wide range of work that shows your creativity.

You may wish to include some of the following:

  • Evidence of an ability to work from life i.e. observational and figure drawing
  • Drawings, paintings or illustrations that exhibit an active imagination and aptitude for creative development
  • Experience of asset creation and environment designs
  • Storyboards or sequential art
  • Games design concepts in 2-D/3-D
  • Digital sculpture
  • Work with game engines
  • Reference photography, including environments, objects (assets) and textures.
  • Work developed in Photoshop
  • Animation projects
  • Evidence of an ability to work in diverse styles i.e. a drawing approach that you are not used to.

Further portfolio advice and tips

Get more advice on presentation formats, layouts and when to submit your portfolio in the application process.

2022/23 University fees for new entrants

NUA will assess students’ tuition fee status using the guidance provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs

Students from the UK or Ireland and EU students with ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-Settled’ status will be charged ‘Home’ fees if they meet the relevant residency requirements.  They will usually be eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning that they won’t have to pay NUA’s tuition fees up front.

Students who do not meet the necessary residency requirements will usually be charged ‘Overseas’ fees and will not be eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan. Since 2021/22, this includes new entrants from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland who do not have ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-Settled’ status, because the UK has now formally left the EU.

Fee status Course Annual fee
Home Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree) £9,250
Overseas Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree) £17,500

In subsequent years inflation may be applied to the fees of those who started in 2022/23, at no more than the Office for Students’ recommended measure based on forecast RPI-X.

Financial support for UK students in 2022

Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are usually available to UK and some EU students, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries based on family income. Find out more about applying for funding.

All students have an opportunity to spend a year, between the second and third year of their course, enhancing their employability options through a Level 5 Diploma.

These courses are offered in Creative Professional Development; a structured programme of input sessions and work-based learning, and Creative Computing; designed to build the foundation skills in coding and software design that are in high demand in the digital and creative industries.

Four year degree

Our innovative four year degrees are exactly the same as our three year degrees but include an extra year of study at the beginning – Year 0.

Year 0 is all about developing the skills, foundation and knowledge you need to successfully complete your degree course. Building on your experience from A Level or equivalent courses, the Year 0 curriculum allows extra time to develop the practical, technical and creative skills that are critical to successfully completing an undergraduate degree at NUA.

Your Year 0 BA (Hons) Games Art and Design studies will start with the Platformer project, where you’ll build a platform game using industry standard software. 

For the second project you’ll work towards aspects of Concept Art, whether through establishing assets, building environments or focusing on character design. You’ll be introduced to relevant software and taught how to utilise it in order to achieve your goals.

You’ll be taught by Games tutors throughout and you’ll have the opportunity to join first, second and third year students for guest lectures.

Typical UK offers and entry requirements for Year 0 entry

GCE A/AS Levels
2 A-level qualifications at grades CC or higher.

BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Merit, Merit, Pass in an art, design or media related subject

BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Distinction, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

T Levels
Pass (D or E on the core)

UAL Extended Diploma
An overall Pass

UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
An overall Pass

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design 
Pass

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)
Pass

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 24 points

NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through your portfolio, responses to questions asked and personal statement, so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.
If you are studying at the time of your application and your application is successful it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

Students
photo of alum Abigail Hookham sitting on an office chair with a digital drawing tablet pen in her hand and smiling while looking away from camera with long curly brown hair and a white loose scarf and a dark blue cardigan with several benches of computers in the background and a large window

Abigail Hookham

"I love being surrounded by creative people. Working in the studios puts you at the centre of a productive and passionate environment. Seeing what other people are working on - asset production, concept art or indie development, makes you feel part of a dynamic community"

BA (Hons) Games Art and Design

portrait photo of alum kerrie shreeve standing and leaning against short wall and looking at camera with swept back long hair and a fabric coat

Kerrie Shreeve

"Industry software and high spec computers in the Media Lab have really helped me prepare for my recent internship at Sony."

BA (Hons) Games Art and Design

portrait photo of alum Simas Balciunas smiling at camera with medium black hair wearing a thin scarf with long sleeved dark top

Simas Balciunas

"Visiting professionals made me feel closer to the industry. It’s encouraging to hear their experiences, it made me believe that everything is possible."

BA (Hons) Games Art and Design

Lecturers

  • Chris Crawford (Visiting Lecturer)

    Game Design Guru
  • Fraser Brown

    Character and Concept Development
  • Helen Throup

    Studio and Digital Applications
  • Jake Montanarini

  • Jay Hurren (Visiting Lecturer)

    Musician, E-Z Rollers
  • Jonathan Bayfield

    Games Research
  • Merlin Seller

  • Ronald Spriggs

  • Siobhan Reddy (Visiting Lecturer)

    Studio Director, Media Molecule
  • Steven Huckle

  • Tarnia Mears

  • Thom Haley

    Games Theory
  • Will Teather

Work with us

We welcome enquiries about applied and collaborative activities and opportunities. If you are interested in working with us, if you have a question, or, if you would like further information about our research and researchers, please contact:

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