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BA (Hons) Games Art and Design

BA (Hons) Games Art and Design

Institution code: N39
Course 3 Year UCAS code: WL21
Course 4 Year UCAS code: W280
Course length: 3 or 4 year options

Study games at NUA and you will join a university ranked in the world’s top 10 courses by the global games industry veterans behind The Rookies in 2018.

TIGA Best Education Institution 2017

Our BA (Hons) Games Art and Design degree has an international reputation for producing graduates who excel in a constantly evolving industry.

The course is a member of the Sony PlayStation First Academic Partnership Programme and is accredited by ScreenSkills and the games industry body TIGA, which also crowned NUA the best educational institution in 2017.

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

From the outset, you will develop art and design skills for application across a range of games industry careers.

You’ll create images and game prototypes using 2D and 3D content creation software for a range of platforms, including console, web, mobile, computer, augmented and virtual reality.

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 Careers Team in the Ideas FactoryNUA to help support you as you plan your career.

Top 10 in the world for Game Development - The Rookies

Accredited by:

TIGA Accredited CourseScreenSkills Accredited coursePlaystation First Accredited Course

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.
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Convention

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

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 interview and portfolio review 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 interview 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.

Your interview

After you apply to study BA Games Art and Design at NUA we’ll invite you to an interview on campus or by Skype or telephone, depending on your circumstance.

If you apply by the UCAS deadline of 15 January your interview will usually take place in February. We’ll ask you to prepare your portfolio ready to bring with you or submit online ahead of your interview.

Read our tips for interviews at NUA

Fees and Funding

The cost of your course is determined by your status as either ‘UK/EU’ or ‘International’, so it’s important to check your fee status. If you’re unsure, the UKCISA website will help you determine whether you’re eligible to pay a UK/EU fee (also called a ‘home’ fee). If you’d prefer to speak to NUA directly, please contact student.finance@nua.ac.uk

UK/EU students are eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning you won’t have to pay your fees up front. Further details about tuition fee loans are provided below. International students are not eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan.

2019/20 Tuition Fees For New Entrants

Citizen status

Course

Fee

UK/EU nationality

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)

£9,250

International (non-EU)

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)

£14,500

Fees will remain the same for each year of your course. 

International students

Find out more about 2019 fees for international students and the support available.

Financial support for UK/EU students

Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are available, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries that take into account family income. Find out how to apply for funding.

Tuition Fee Loan for Undergraduate study

Tuition fee loans are available for UK and EU students.

  • Available to cover the full cost of your tuition
  • You don’t have to pay for your course up front yourself
  • Only start paying back when you are earning over £25,000 per year

Maintenance Loan for Undergraduate study – 2018/19

Student Maintenance Loans are available for UK and eligible EU students to help with living costs such as accommodation, food, clothes, travel and course expenses. The amount students receive is dependent on household income and any maintenance grant received.

  • A loan of up to £8,700 may be available if you live away from home.
  • A loan of up to £7,324 may be available if you live with your parents.

How can you find out more?

To learn more about loans, repayment calculations and other financial support, visit Student Finance. If you have any questions about fees, please email student.finance@nua.ac.uk

Scholarships

Find out about scholarship programmes available to NUA applicants.

Bursaries

For new entrants whose household income is assessed as £25,000 or less, the university will offer a contribution towards the costs of studying at NUA (such as equipment, materials and other course-related costs). This will be £200 for new entrants to Year 0 and Year 1, rising to £300 in Year 2, followed by £500 in Year 3. Find out more about bursaries at NUA

NUA alumni, staff and feeder staff discount

All NUA alumni are eligible for a £1,000 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees. All NUA staff and staff from feeder institutions are eligible for a £500 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees.

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

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 interview and portfolio review so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

Students

photo of alum Abigail Hookham sitting on an office chair with a digital drawing tablet pen in her hand and smiling while looking awya 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

  • Will Teather

  • Merlin Seller

  • Ronald Spriggs

  • Steven Huckle

  • Siobhan Reddy (Visiting Lecturer)

    Studio Director, Media Molecule
  • Jay Hurren (Visiting Lecturer)

    Musician, E-Z Rollers
  • Chris Crawford (Visiting Lecturer)

    Game Design Guru

Need help? Chat to our friendly recruitment team

Book a place on an Open Day, or to find out more about how to apply for a course at NUA, please contact Lynne, Sam, Tom, or Tori:

Call: +44 (0) 1603 610561

Email: studentrecruitment@nua.ac.uk

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