Computer Games Development (Art) MA

Postgraduate (12 months full-time, part-time)



Course duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time.

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Channel your creativity and join a multi-skilled team to develop the next generation of video games. On our arts-based MA, you’ll join the vibrant games and technology community based here in Cambridge that includes ARM, Frontier Developments, Jagex and Ninja Theory.

Find out more about teaching options and studying during COVID-19 in the Entry requirements section, below.

Full description


Our MA gives you the chance to specialise in the design and technical implementation of computer games, whether you already have a games-related degree, or you're a recent graduate of a non-games-related degree who's looking to move into this area. Our course is also suitable if you work in another creative industry and are looking to move into games design and creation.

The skills you'll learn on this course are relevant to other forms of games - including board games and educational games - allowing you to consider a number of career options.

Interactive computer games is a relatively new medium; as the industry grows, you’ll find more and more opportunities to use the computing and creative skills you'll hone while studying here.

Find out more about our placements and work experience, or the faculty's employability support.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Making Methods
    This module will introduce you to a range of core research methods in the creative and visual arts, and examines the implications of considering practice as research within art and design disciplines. You will explore the interaction of critical theory and studio practice within art and design, and the relationships between scholarship, reflective analysis and creative impulse. You will also address the distinctive character of research in the visual arts, and consider the concepts of practice-based research and practice-led research through a range of exemplars from different art and design disciplines. You will examine a range of different research approaches within the visual arts and across the broader field of the arts, humanities and sciences. This wide-ranging enquiry is designed to assist and inform your conception, development and documentation of creative projects, and to provide a ‘toolkit’ of research methods for both your practice and critical work.
  • Games Development 1
    Games development is a multidisciplinary endeavour, requiring input from artists, audio technicians, programmers and designers, to produce an entertaining, polished product. On this module you will apply your existing skills to complex inter-disciplinary projects, testing games design theory in a developmental framework that will allow you to collaboratively plan successive games projects. In the process, you will gain hands-on experience of how your particular discipline relates to the demands and requirements of professional games development. Rapid project prototyping will lead you to critically evaluate and assess the games design and highlight areas that you could improve in the development process. Your final assessment will take the form of completed game development projects and your critical report, which will provide a reflective commentary of your development process, a contextual analysis and an evaluation of your projects.
  • Digital Arts - Experimental Practice
    On this module you will create and develop a body of work related to your chosen area of computer games and undertake a learning programme to gain the skills you need for further study on the course. You will collate a sustained body of self-directed visual and technical research, supported by supervisory tutorials, peer group learning and seminars, and complete a statement of intent that will inform your programme of practice-based enquiry, supported by theoretical research. Through direct experimental research, you will test and develop the ideas outlined in your statement of intent, with the specific content and mode of work being dependent on the research direction of your individual project proposal. Your work will be analysed in the context of your specific field of research, which you will be asked to evaluate in relation to current digital art practice. You will be supported by seminars on particular technologies relevant to student project topics, as well as contextual issues relevant to the computer games industry. Weekly computing laboratory sessions will also guide and monitor your progress, with an emphasis on supporting appropriate learning activities rather than delivering content. Your assessment will be based on the research, process, documentation, implementation and evaluation of the work outlined in your project proposal. Where group work is specified, your individual contributions will be assessed separately. You will be encouraged to adopt a professional and real world approach, allowing you to undertake work for third party clients and practitioners of the industry, agreed on with your module tutor.
  • Games Development 2
    In this module, you will plan and develop a games project that focuses on creating an innovative games experience. You will be encouraged to focus on engaging player experiences, not necessarily limited to traditional video game platforms. You will be challenged to develop projects with a target platform, audience and reward strategy in mind, and to reflect professional, legal and ethical issues in your game design. The projects you will undertake can either be a complete game development project, or an experimental prototype for the exploration of new ideas, which you can potentially continue in your Major Project. You will collaboratively construct a schedule of development that considers the prioritising of the various skillsets, thus developing your project management and time management skills. You will also work collaboratively, ensuring that you plan and develop the project in consideration of the demands and influences of other team members’ subject specialisms. Your formative assessment will take place at several stages within the module: (i) at pitching sessions; (ii) in two peer assessment sessions; (iii) in one-to-one tutorials. Your summative assessment will take the form of a game development project and a critical report on your game project that includes an analysis of your development process and project in relation to industry practice.
  • Master's Project: Art and Design
    The Masters Project represents the culmination of your learning on the programme, giving you the opportunity to develop and resolve a major area of enquiry. This is a self-directed visual project negotiated with the staff team and peers. You'll need to negotiate, manage, co-ordinate and bring to successful conclusion a complex, practice-based project within your field of art, media or design. You'll start by formally presenting your research proposal to staff and peers, and will be expected to build on your previous modules to identify a complex area for investigation and enquiry, as well as research methods appropriate to the project. Following negotiation with staff, peers and, where appropriate, outside agencies, you'll then submit a written research proposal. Your project may involve external engagement alongside a personal exploration of themes and concepts in your specialist field. You'll need to show your ability to innovate, think strategically and be sensitive to changing cultural and social climates. You'll be assessed by portfolio (a body of work comprising a written project proposal, and developmental and final visual work) and a 1200-word reflective commentary. This commentary will specifically outline the methodological and ethical considerations relevant to your portfolio work, and evaluate your final visual work.
  • Visual Research Practices
    On this module you will explore the role of visual practices as research methods. You will explore and document the ways in which practice informs the development of method, and the manner in which experimentation within your practice is used to test propositions, verify findings, and demonstrate these through your outcomes. These ideas form the main precepts of practice-based research, and will be explored through a self-proposed project developed in consultation with your tutor. The module provides a context within which to explore the ways in which the processes associated with your practice, serve as tools of investigation and analysis. In the course of the module you will identify the key research questions implicit in visual projects, develop strategies and experimental methods for addressing these questions, and contextualise these methods in relation to precedent within your discipline. This will also enable you to locate your method within the wider context of research methodology addressed in the companion module Making Methods. During the development of your project you will investigate and critique your method to ensure that it is appropriate to the investigation of your question and to the expression of your findings. You will review the ways in which practice shapes and refines experimental method, and the analysis of experimental findings informs successive phases of the practical outcome. According to the context of the project and the nature of your practice, this may involve different considerations of audience, purpose and impact, as well as reference to a variety of sources and precedents. You will be assessed through the body of visual coursework, a research logbook kept during the development process, and an evaluative commentary of 500 words reflecting on the work after completion.


Modules are subject to change and availability.

You’ll show your progress through a combination of written and practical work, carried out individually and as part of a team.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

Using our creative expertise and industry connections in Cambridge and beyond, we create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.

At Cambridge School of Creative Industries, we believe in the importance of experimentation and risk-taking to create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.

Whether writing bestselling fiction, creating challenging documentaries or sharing a piano with people on the autism spectrum, the expertise of our staff goes far beyond teaching. Their research produces significant funding success, leading to important publications and international conferences.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Specialist facilities

Based at the new Compass House Computer Games Centre, a three-minute walk from our main Cambridge campus, you’ll have 24-hour access to a hub space with group work naturally forming a part of your studies.

The centre includes a start-up lab for small games companies, supported by Games Eden, the Cambridge Computer Games industry network. This will give you excellent opportunities to work in an entrepreneurial games environment.

All students on our Computer Games courses – undergraduate and postgraduate – have access to industry-standard PCs running Maya, 3DS Max, ZBrush, Mudbox, Motion Builder, After Effects, Unity 3D, and UDK. You’ll be able to use motion capture equipment, 3D monitors, VR equipment, graphics tablets, a render farm, HD cameras and digital SLRs (for HDRI capture).

You can also receive access to, and full training in, all our creative industries facilities.

Links with industry

Cambridge is home to nearly 20% of the UK’s computer games industry (source:, including ARM, Jagex, Ninja Theory, Frontier, Geomerics and a host of smaller indie developers.  Our Computer Games Art department is a member of TIGA, the Business & University Games Syndicate, and a partner of the Global Science & Technology Forum, giving you access to cutting-edge research materials.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK students starting 2021/22 (per year)


UK students starting 2021/22 (part-time, per year)


International students starting 2021/22 (per year)


International students starting 2021/22 (part-time, per year)


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

How do I pay my fees?

UK students

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for postgraduate students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We also offer a range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you're at university.

Students taking up a place on this course are eligible to apply for the Mark Wood CBE Art and Design Scholarship, which recognises and encourages excellence. Read more and download the application form.

International students

As well as a number of scholarships, we offer an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Interview and portfolio

You will be required to attend an interview of around 20 minutes, during which you will evidence your discussion with a portfolio or, if you are resident outside of the UK, an e-portfolio.

For more information on how to prepare and submit your portfolio please visit our portfolios and interviews page, or go straight to the detailed guidance for MA Computer Games Development (Art) portfolios.

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Due to national restrictions all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face teaching on campus for a limited number of courses.

Teaching options

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic all our students can choose to either study face to face on campus or online only, and students are able to change their mode of delivery at given dates throughout the trimester.

For on-campus teaching, we offer at least four hours face-to-face teaching related contact time per week for our undergraduate full-time courses, supported by online learning using our established online learning systems. The number of contact hours vary course by course, and you can contact us for further information. The provision offered is subject to change due to the possibility of further Government restrictions, however we remain committed to delivering face-to-face teaching and ensuring a COVID-19 secure environment.

In the event that there are further changes to the current restrictions that are in place due to the pandemic, we may need to move some courses online only at short notice to remain in line with Government guidelines and ensure the continued safety of our students and staff.

View the impact of the current restrictions.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Check the standard entry requirements for IELTS requirements for this course.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online