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Game Design

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Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Science (BSc) is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate programme in the sciences.

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Course overview

Game Design BSc combines coding, creativity, and critical theory to deliver a distinctive new provision in interactive audiovisual media. This interdisciplinary programme is one of the first of its kind in the Russell Group, combining modules from Computer Science and the School of the Arts to deliver a holistic grounding in how games are made, why they’re made, and what they tell us about the world.

Introduction

You will develop skills in coding and programming, games scholarship, and creative design through a combination of modules from Communication & Media, Computer Science, English, Music, and Philosophy. These individual disciplines are drawn together by a set of bespoke Game Design modules in which you will produce work that will form part of your professional portfolio.

Year in industry

This programme is available with an optional year in industry. If you choose to take this option, year three is spent on a paid placement within an organisation in industry, broadly defined. You will be supported by the Department of Computer Science throughout your placement, and your reflexive written account of the experience will contribute towards your final degree result. If you wish to study this programme with a year in industry please put the option code YI in the further choices section of your UCAS application form.

What you'll learn

  • The basics of programming
  • Creative principles
  • Understanding of software engineering, artificial intelligence, and communication technologies
  • Advanced study of computer game and app development
  • Techniques of critical thinking and analysis
  • Communication and teamwork skills
  • Principles of software design and software development
  • Project management
  • How to develop a professional portfolio

Teaching Excellence Framework 2023

We’re proud to announce we’ve been awarded a Gold rating for educational excellence.

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

Year one will establish the foundations for your studies, introducing you to the basics of programming, creative principles, and the academic context for game design. Your first year of study will be made up of compulsory modules, establishing the foundational principles and skills required for the rest of your studies; and one optional module.

Compulsory modules

GAMES AND MEANING (SOTA102)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

​This module introduces students to the semantics of video game design and the techniques of close reading. It examines how mechanics, environment and audio design, genre conventions and iconography can be used to create meaning, both in support and subversion of explicit narrative. Students will learn to make connections between the disparate artforms involved in game design and develop the ability to form their own readings of games. The module is taught in 2-hour workshops which involve a mixture of theory lectures and in-depth discussion of specific games, including student-led choices. Assessment consists of a 2000-word coursework essay (85%), of which there is a formative, peer-reviewed ‘pitching’ exercise in week 6, and a 5-10 minute in-class presentation or video essay (15%), delivered during the second half of the module.

Creative Principles in Game Design (SOTA103)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module provides an introduction to the principles and materials of game creation, highlighting available creative pathways within the Game Design Studies and Game Design programmes. Students will learn basic terminology and concepts, and critically engage with various topics within the field of game design. Comprehension of these topics is supported by lectures and seminars, and through critical engagement with texts, articles, interviews, and other resources over the course of the term. Students will then apply what they’ve learned to realize original ideas in the form of design documents.

Object-Oriented Programming (COMP122)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The intention of COMP122 is to introduce students to the concepts and methodology of object-oriented programming using the Java programming language. Topics covered include hierarchical structures, polymorphism, collections and iterators, exception handling, and graphical user interface design. Basic concepts of software design methodology, testing, and version control are also included in the module. It is normally expected that students have prior programming experience.

Optional modules

Introduction To Programming (COMP101)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The module provides an introduction to procedural programming using current language platforms. The module incorporates program design, problem solving, the importance of maintainable, robust software and testing as well as introducing procedural language main programming constructs. Students gain practical experience with program design, programming and testing during weekly laboratory sessions.

Programming Language Paradigms (COMP105)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module is for students that already have some programming skills. Students will learn about the two main programming paradigms: imperative programming and functional programming. Since most introductory programming courses teach imperative programming, this module will focus on the functional paradigm. Students will learn how to program in Haskell, a popular functional programming language. They will learn how to formulate programs in a functional way, and the common techniques and idioms that are used to solve problems in functional programming.

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (COMP111)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the theory and development of machines able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. In the 21st century, AI techniques became an essential part of the technology industry. High-profile examples include autonomous vehicles, medical diagnosis, creating art, proving mathematical theorems, playing games, search engines, and online assistants. This module provides an application driven introduction to AI through studying the basic problems most AI systems have to deal with: search problems, reasoning under uncertainty, knowledge representation, planning, and learning in intelligent systems. The module will also provide a basic introduction to the history and philosophy of AI as well as recent issues in ethics of AI.

INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATIONS (MUSI109)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module is an introduction to MIDI sequencing in Logic Pro and Ableton Live. It is suitable for complete beginners and intermediate users of Logic. Through lectures and workshops, both of which involve much hands on practice, students learn about MIDI sequencing, software instruments and Digital Audio Workstations (DAW). Topics and techniques covered include recording and editing MIDI; use of effects processors and mixing, software synthesis and sampler instruments. Two creative coursework projects, concentrating on differing compositional approaches and styles, enable students to demonstrate the technical and compositional skills taught and practiced during the module.

INTRODUCTION TO SOUND AND MUSIC IN AUDIOVISUAL MEDIA (MUSI170)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module introduces students to the use and role of music in a range of audiovisual media. It focuses specifically on the sound and music of mainstream narrative cinema, as the lead expression in contemporary audiovisual media and one that has shaped this aspect of other artforms, such as television and videogames. From the relationship between music and early moving pictures, to the importance of re-using popular musics to score gender or sexuality in the modern Hollywood blockbuster, the module considers both the historical practicalities of sound and music in cinema and some of the key critical ideologies that have been shaped by and shaped the soundtracks of film. Through a focus on key case studies and fundamental theories, students will acquire a firm grounding in the history, nature, and critical discussion of the function of sound and music in film specifically, and audiovisual media more generally. The module is delivered in a manner designed to be equally accessible to students from a non-Music background.

Data Structures and Algorithms (COMP108)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module introduces students to some basic algorithms and data structures. It gives some fundamental concepts of design and analysis of algorithms, and implementation of algorithms by choosing appropriate data structures.

SPATIAL DESIGN IN GAMES (SOTA104)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

​This module will cover practical topics related to the design of virtual spaces in games. Students will critically examine the architectural principles embedded within existing games and will apply these principles to the design of original 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional game spaces. Lectures are supported by design texts and other textual resources.​

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide. Choose to spend a year at XJTLU in China or a year or semester at an institution of your choice.

What's available on this course?

Year in China

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

  • Learn Chinese
  • Study in a bustling world heritage city
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Study Chinese culture
  • 30 minutes from Shanghai
  • Learn new skills

Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

Year in industry

Year in industry placements give you an in-depth workplace experience where you can develop your skills and apply your learning.

  • Develop key employability skills that graduate employers are looking for
  • Experience and understand workplace culture and disciple
  • Understand the relationship between academic theory and real world application
  • Begin your professional network
  • Gain industry insight and insight into potential career options.

You don't need to decide now - you can choose to add a year in industry after you've begun your degree.

Learn more about year in industry

To spend a year in industry, you'll need to secure a placement with an organisation. If you're unable to find a placement, you'll continue with the standard version of the course without a year in industry.

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Combine this subject

With a combined degree, you can study two subjects as part of the same degree programme.

  • Choose from 30 subjects and over 300 combinations
  • Choose joint or major minor subjects
  • Adjust the weight of your subjects at the end of your first year
  • Same number of credits as single honours students
  • Same classes as single honours students
  • Appeal to a wide range of employers

Explore combined degrees for Game Design courses

Your experience

As a Game Design student, you’ll benefit from our expertise in each of the five disciplines, and have access to new and recently refurbished facilities. This includes dedicated spaces for students to research video games, featuring gaming consoles (e.g. Playstation 4 with PSVR, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii), gaming PCs, and a diverse library of titles.

You’ll also have access to Windows and Mac labs.  These suites have a range of different software for content creation, including Unity and Unreal (game engines), FMOD (middleware for game sound and music), and Blender (modelling and animation).

For sound production, the Electronic Music Research Studios provide fully sound-proofed and treated studio spaces for surround sound mixing, electronic music composition and sound design research.

Virtual tour

Supporting your learning

From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:

Why study Music at Liverpool?

  • We pride ourselves on being an innovative department that embraces the full spectrum of music, from the great works of the past to emerging trends such as sound for computer games
  • Our staff and students come from a variety of performance and non-performance backgrounds and share interests that span classical, popular, world and film music
  • Long established as a classical music department, in 1988 we created the Institute of Popular Music – the world’s first specialist centre for the study of Popular Music
  • Music placed in the top quartile for impact classified as outstanding (4*) (REF 2021)
  • Our recently refurbished facilities boast brand new studios, teaching spaces, and industry standard equipment. These include recording and production studios, an SSL studio, practice rooms with Yamaha pianos, a multipurpose rehearsal and performance space, iMac suites and a games research lab
  • In March 2022 we opened the Tung Auditorium, a new state-of-the-art performance venue seating up to 400 people, with space for a 70-piece orchestra.

Careers and employability

Digital games represent one of the fastest-growing forms of entertainment media. This programme aims to equip you with the technical, creative, and critical skills that will help you find employment in this dynamic and rapidly growing field, whilst assembling a professional portfolio of work.

You’ll have opportunities throughout the programme to develop a professional portfolio, as well as various options to gain workplace experience.

Work experience opportunities

  • Internships with enterprise activities, including support to form your own development studios alongside your studies.
  • Students who take the year in industry option will be able to spend their work experience year managing their chosen companies, with support from the University.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £9,250
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £1,385
International fees
Full-time place, per year £22,400
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £11,200
Fees are correct for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that the Year Abroad fee also applies to the Year in China.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about paying for your studies..

Additional costs

Your tuition fee covers almost everything, but you may have additional study costs to consider such as books, stationery and equipment.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

Your tuition fee covers almost everything, but you may have additional study costs to consider such as books, stationery and equipment.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to provide tuition fee discounts and help with living expenses while at university.

Check out our Liverpool Bursary, worth up to £2,000 per year for eligible UK students. Or for international students, our Undergraduate Global Advancement Scholarship offers a tuition fee discount of up to £5,000 for eligible international students starting an undergraduate degree from September 2024.

Discover our full range of undergraduate scholarships and bursaries

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

We've set the country or region your qualifications are from as United Kingdom. Change it here

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels

ABB

Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is BBB with A in the EPQ.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

T levels

T levels considered in a relevant subject.

Applicants should contact us by completing the enquiry form on our website to discuss specific requirements in the core components and the occupational specialism.

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

BTEC applications are encouraged. We evaluate each BTEC application on its merits and may make offers at DDM.

International Baccalaureate

33 points, with no score less than 4

Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

ABB in Advanced Highers, combinations of Advanced Highers and Scottish Highers are welcome

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Accepted at grade A alongside A level grades BB
Access Applications considered. Pass Access with 30 Level 3 credits graded at Distinction and 15 Level 3 credits graded at Merit.
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

English language requirements

You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language, unless you’re from a majority English speaking country.

We accept a variety of international language tests and country-specific qualifications.

International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.

English language qualification Requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component below 5.5
TOEFL iBT 88 overall, with minimum scores of listening 17, writing 17, reading 17 and speaking 19
Duolingo English Test 120 overall, with no component below 95
Pearson PTE Academic 61 overall, with no component below 59
LanguageCert Academic 65 overall, with no skill below 60
Cambridge IGCSE First Language English 0500 Grade C overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking and listening. Speaking and listening must be separately endorsed on the certificate.
Cambridge IGCSE First Language English 0990 Grade 4 overall, with Merit in speaking and listening
Cambridge IGCSE Second Language English 0510/0511 0510: Grade B overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking. Speaking must be separately endorsed on the certificate. 0511: Grade B overall.
Cambridge IGCSE Second Language English 0993/0991 0993: Grade 6 overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking. Speaking must be separately endorsed on the certificate. 0991: Grade 6 overall.
International Baccalaureate Standard Level grade 5 or Higher Level grade 4 in English B, English Language and Literature, or English Language
Cambridge ESOL Level 2/3 Advanced 176 overall, with no paper below 162

PRE-SESSIONAL ENGLISH

Do you need to complete a Pre-Sessional English course to meet the English language requirements for this course?

The length of Pre-Sessional English course you’ll need to take depends on your current level of English language ability.

Find out the length of Pre-Sessional English course you may require for this degree.

Pre-sessional English

If you don’t meet our English language requirements, we can use your most recent IELTS score, or the equivalent score in selected other English language tests, to determine the length of Pre-Sessional English course you require.

Use the table below to check the course length you're likely to require for your current English language ability and see whether the course is available on campus or online.

Your most recent IELTS score Pre-Sessional English course length On campus or online
6.0 overall, with no component below 5.5 6 weeks On campus
5.5 overall, with no component below 5.5 10 weeks On campus and online options available
5.5 overall, with no more than one component below 5.5, and no component below 5.0 12 weeks On campus and online options available
5.5 overall, with no component below 4.5 20 weeks On campus
5.0 overall, with no component below 4.5 30 weeks On campus
4.5 overall, with no more than one component below 4.5, and no component below 4.0 40 weeks On campus

If you’ve completed an alternative English language test to IELTS, we may be able to use this to assess your English language ability and determine the Pre-Sessional English course length you require.

Please see our guide to Pre-Sessional English entry requirements for IELTS 6.5, with no component below 5.5, for further details.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Alternative entry requirements

  • If your qualification isn't listed here, or you're taking a combination of qualifications, contact us for advice
  • If you are returning to learning, have had a disrupted education or are switching career pathways, the one-year Go Higher diploma qualifies you to apply for University of Liverpool arts, humanities and social sciences programmes
  • Applications from mature students are welcome.

Changes to Game Design BSc (Hons)

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.