Computer Games Development (Computing) MSc

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



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

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Take your computer game development skills to the next level. Study, plan, produce and test games in our specialist studios. Working alongside students from our Computer Games Development Art course, you’ll gain experience in multi-disciplinary working and create an advanced portfolio.

Full description


It can take up to three years to create a game, all the way from initial concept to the finished product. One game can involve up to 200 professionals working as a team.

As a game developer, you could design the visual styling as well as how it plays. You could be involved with animating characters and objects, creating audio, programming, testing and producing.

Besides working in the leisure/entertainment sector, you could use your skills to develop ‘serious’ games. These are used in rehabilitation, education and training, defence, science, health, city planning and engineering.

You could also go into a career in marketing, teaching or general technology.

You’re also in the perfect position to continue your academic career and move up to our Computer Science PhD.

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

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Games Programming
    Modern games are built of many specialised components; graphics, artificial intelligence, game logic, network communications, data storage, tools development and more. It is near impossible to be a specialist in all of these areas so an aspiring games programmer needs to be able to focus on one area and become an expert on that topic. Each student start with a range of prior experience and will bring a wide range of desired specialisations. This module allows you to negotiate a structured set of specific objectives which are to be achieved within the module. You will be encouraged to take responsibility for your own learning and examples of innovative approaches to learning or artefact production will be encouraged. You will discuss with your allocated tutor your programming topic of interest and aspirations for learning. The tutor will explain the requirements of the module and together you will agree an appropriate set of objective and assessment criteria. You will present a plan of activities to achieve the agreed objectives which will be agreed with the tutor. You will then be expected to carry out the plan and submit the agreed work in the agreed format at the end of the module period. These deliverables will be assessed against the objectives and assessment criteria agreed at the start of the module.
  • Portfolio (Computer Games Art)
    Create a professional quality artefact in the form of a game or technical demonstrator. Your final work will demonstrate attainment in technical, professional and game design knowledge. You’ll be required to take on a quasi-professional role in the development of a substantial piece of work which will include research, specification, design, documentation, development and evaluation. A key element is for students to evaluate their skill set, and, if necessary, specify and undertake a learning programme to gain the skills they need. Weekly computing laboratory sessions will be used to guide and monitor progress with the emphasis on supporting appropriate learning activities rather than delivering content. Seminars on particular technologies relevant to student project topics may be included as well as generic issues such as legal, professional and project management. The module will provide an opportunity to develop new skills or take existing knowledge further within a supportive framework. You’ll create a middleware package, complete game or technology demonstration, either individually or, with approval, as part of a small team. The assessment of the module is based on the research, process, documentation, implementation and evaluation of this artefact as agreed with the tutor. This will be measured by a comprehensive account of the project process, specification, design, implementation, skills development alongside the finished artefact and presentation. Where group work is specified the contribution of each individual will be assessed separately. A professional and real world approach is encouraged and work can be undertaken for third party clients and practitioners of the industry.
  • Games Development 1
    Games development is a multi-disciplinary endeavour, requiring input from artists, audio-technicians, programmers and designers, to produce an entertaining, polished product. This module provides you with an opportunity to apply your existing skills to complex interdisciplinary projects. Games design theory is tested in a developmental framework where you collaboratively plan successive games projects and in the process gain hands-on experience on how your particular discipline relates to the demands and requirements of professional games development. Rapid project prototyping will lead to a critical evaluation and assessment of the games design and highlight areas that could be improved in the development process. Formative assessment takes place on a weekly basis during practical sessions both by tutors and peers. You will learn to reflect on your own and others' practice and contribute to peer assessment sessions. You will have an opportunity to discuss the progress of the projects with the module tutors. Periodic milestone presentations of the game in development will also be formatively assessed. Summative assessment takes the form of completed game development projects and a critical report which provides a reflective commentary of the development process, a contextual analysis and an evaluation of the projects.
  • Games Development 2
    In this module, you have the opportunity to plan and develop a games project which will focus on developing an innovative games experience. You are encouraged to focus on innovative and engaging player experiences which are 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 which you undertake can be either a full and complete game development project, or an experimental prototype for the exploration of new ideas which can potentially be taken further in your Major Project. You will develop project management and time management skills by collaboratively constructing a schedule of development which considers the prioritising of the various skillsets and accommodating these interdependencies. You will work collaboratively, ensuring that you plan and develop the project in consideration of the demands and influences of the subject specialism of other team members. Formative assessment takes place at several stages within the module: (i) at pitching sessions (ii) two peer assessment sessions (iii) in one-to-one tutorials during which you are able to discuss progress of the project with module tutors Summative assessment will take the form of a game development project and a critical report on the game artefact that provides an analysis of the development process and the project in relation to industry practice.
  • Research Methods
    Gain support and foundations in the research skills needed for your Masters level dissertation. You’ll investigate research activities including project management, research project design and analyses, ethical considerations and dissertation preparation.
  • Major Project
    This module supports students in the preparation and submission of a Master's stage project, dissertation or artefact. The Module provides the opportunity for students to select and explore in-depth, a topic that is of interest and relevant to their course in which they can develop a significant level of expertise. It enables students to: demonstrate their ability to generate significant and meaningful questions in relation to their specialism; undertake independent research using appropriate, recognised methods based on current theoretical research knowledge, critically understand method and its relationship to knowledge; develop a critical understanding of current knowledge in relation to the chosen subject and to critically analyse and evaluate information and data, which may be complex or contradictory, and draw meaningful and justifiable conclusions; develop the capability to expand or redefine existing knowledge, to develop new approaches to changing situations and/or develop new approaches to changing situations and contribute to the development of best practice; demonstrate an awareness of and to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in their research or professional practice; communicate these processes in a clear and elegant fashion; evaluate their work from the perspective of an autonomous reflective learner.


Modules are subject to change and availability.

We’ll ensure you’re on track through a combination of written and practical work, both as an individual and as team activities.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

In the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, we use our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond to nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking, and encourage critical thinking, in order to educate, entertain, inspire and understand, as well as to improve people’s lives.

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 our Compass House Computer games studio, a three-minute walk from our main Cambridge campus, you will have 24-hour access to a hub space with group work naturally forming a part of your studies. The studio includes:

  • High-end computers with graphics tablets
  • Up-to-date software including Maya, MotionBuilder, 3ds Max, After Effects, Mudbox, Zbrush, Unity
  • Render farm
  • Motion capture equipment
  • 3D monitors and VR equipment
  • HD cameras
  • 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, who regularly provide briefs and placements for our students.

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)


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. This information also applies to EU students starting a course before 1 August 2021.

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 offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships and bursaries, which provide extra financial support while you're at university.

International students

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

Entry requirements

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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.

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.

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.

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

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International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

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