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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

Winner of the TIGA award for Best Educational Institution, TIGA and Creative Skillset accredited, and member of the Sony PlayStation First Academic Partnership Programme, our long-established BA (Hons) Games Art and Design degree course is renowned for producing graduates who excel in the diverse and constantly evolving industry of computer game design.

TIGA Best Education Institution 2017

Recent graduates include three BAFTA-winning games designers, the V&A’s first Games Designer in Residence, six teams of Dare to Be Digital finalists and employees at Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, Foundry 42, Rebellion, Crytek, Ubisoft, Rockstar Games and many more.

Your games art and design skills

From the very start of our undergraduate games art and design course you’ll develop your art and design skills for application across a range of games industry careers. Using 2D and 3D content creation software, you’ll create images and game prototypes for a range of platforms, including console, web, mobile, computer and alternate reality.

Initially, the focus isn’t on a single platform or aptitude, but on developing a strong set of core skills. You’ll then have the option to specialise in one of three areas: Concept Art (characters, environments and props), Asset Production and Indie Development.

Your games art and design future

While this is not a coding course, you’ll learn to harness computational logic to realise interactivity in the creation of game prototypes. You’ll learn how to 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 designer.

You’ll also have the opportunity to attend professional networking events throughout your degree, including EGX, Ukie Conference, Develop Brighton and Norwich Gaming 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.

Accredited by:

TIGA Accredited CourseCreative Skillset 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
  • Generate concept art, emphasising an iterative design process, lighting, composition, colour, texture, narrative, mood and intent
  • Engage with industry experts and events
  • Build research skills to support idea development and games studies
  • Examine interactivity and player engagement
  • Take part in projects in the three areas of specialism offered on the course: Concept Art, Asset Production and Indie Development.
  • Year 2
  • Focus on your choice of games art specialism for the rest of the course
  • Attend lectures and workshops on anatomy
  • Experience industry-set 'Art Tests' across each of the subject specialisms
  • Work collaboratively to create game prototypes
  • Conduct work-related learning through live briefs, simulated projects and collaborations with external organisations
  • Participate in a range of internal and external 'Game Jams'.
  • Year 3
  • Work individually or in groups on a number of projects that realise work to a professional standard
  • Develop a body of work to create a professional online portfolio
  • Create, rehearse, and pitch your ideas to a range of professional audiences
  • Refine research skills and continue games studies toward a complete understanding of the production pipelines
  • Complete a Research Report that provides broad contextualisation to your practice.
Visit the Degree Show website #Disrupt

Typical UK offers

A / AS Levels – GCE
GCE A/AS Levels 3 A-level qualifications at grades BBB, at least one of which must be in an art, design or media related subject. 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

UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

UAL Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 32 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).

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 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.

Your portfolio

This is your chance to show us what you’re all about. Choose pieces that reflect your creativity and personal interests, as well as demonstrating your technical skills.

How much work should I include?

Choose at least two projects that show the steps you took to develop an idea. This might mean you include experiments, drafts or variations that demonstrate the progression of a project from the earliest stages through to completion. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect drawings, paintings or renderings – we want to understand how you think during the creative process.

What type of work should I include?

Finished projects that you’re excited about! Remember, we’re interested in you. What motivates your choice in discipline? What shapes your creative identity? You can submit assessed projects and coursework, but we recommend including independent work where possible. Self-initiated projects showcase your ability to generate ideas and tell us more about you and your ambition.

Things to consider

Take your time choosing pieces for your portfolio

You should be confident and passionate talking about each piece. You may not be able to talk us through everything in your portfolio at the interview, so be sure to present the work in a logical way. Choose a layout that tells the story of each project and use a structure that gives a full picture of your creative practice.

Show us the full range of your creative experience and interests

Tell us about contemporary creatives that have influenced your practice. Exhibitions, shows or festivals that have inspired you or influenced your work. Competitions you’ve entered and prizes you’ve won. If you can, avoid too much repetition in style and subject matter.

Your portfolio should be relevant to the course you’re applying to, but you can include a wide range of work that shows your creativity, technical competence and understanding of space.

You may wish to include some of the following:

  • Drawings, paintings or illustrations that exhibit a playful imagination and aptitude for creative and technical development
  • Experience of asset creation, such as character and environment designs
  • Storyboards or sequential art
  • Work created using HTML or other coding systems
  • Games design concepts in 2-Dimension/3-Dimension packages
  • Digital sculpture using packages such as Corel Painter, Maya, or Mudbox or Sculptris
  • Work with game engines such as Unity
  • Photography of influential environments, characters, costumes
  • 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

Hardcopy portfolios

  • If you’re only submitting hardcopy materials you should aim to submit 20-30 pieces. Portfolios should be ring bound or loose boards between A4 and A1 in size.
  • Include 2-3 sketchbooks with the portfolio to demonstrate idea development, contextualisation and your work strategies.
  • Large, intricate or fragile pieces should be shown as good quality photographs.
  • If you’re submitting a showreel you should also present 10-15 images of other work (see digital portfolios guidance below).
  • Labels should be discreet, neat and used in a consistent manner for clear navigation.
  • Ensure your name is on the portfolio.

Digital portfolios

  • Include up to 30 images, including images from sketchbooks, research, experimental work and finished pieces.
  • If you’re presenting a showreel, your work should be no longer than five minutes, but you can include 10-15 accompanying images.
  • Ensure photographs and scans are in focus and in large enough format to see clearly.
  • Digital work should be presented on an online platform such as your own website, Tumblr, Flickr, Prezi, MeMyArt, YouTube, Vimeo or a personal blog. The link should then be submitted through the Applicant Portal or by emailing the relevant address below.
  • Ensure your digital portfolio is accessible before you arrive for interview, as your interviewer will load it in advance of the interview.
  • UK and EU applicants should send their link to admissions@nua.ac.uk
  • Non-EU and EEA applicants should send their link to international@nua.ac.uk

Written submission

As part of your offer you may be asked to submit a piece of written work in addition to your application, usually after your interview.

Typically an essay, report or completed log of between 500 and 1,000 words, your submission should demonstrate your ability to think critically, make informed analysis and communicate confidently in a subject area related to your proposed course of study.       

“We’re looking for evidence of criticality and a willingness to be open to learning more about the subject.” – Mark Wickham, Course Leader

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.

2018/19 Tuition Fees For New Entrants

Citizen status



UK/EU nationality

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


International (non-EU)

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


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

International students

Find out more about 2018 fees for international students and the support available.

Financial support for UK/EU students in 2018

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


Find out about scholarship programmes available to NUA applicants.


NUA offers bursaries to new students whose household income is £42,875 or less.

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. Creating all the necessary assets,

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, at least one of which must be in an art, design or media related subject.

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 

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 28 points


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


  • 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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