Interactive entertainment and video games development are key sectors for contemporary culture, economic growth and employment, whether that be locally, nationally or globally.
Our BSc Video Game Development course responds to this growing and innovative sector by developing skilled, team-orientated, reflexive graduate professionals ready to succeed in the sector. On the course you will learn the most important programming languages for game development, as well as industry-standard game development tools such as Unity and Unreal.
This accelerated two-year course gives you a guaranteed video game development placement in our in-house studio, taking place over the summer term of the course. The work-place simulation approach of our department (NTI Birmingham) has been championed by the influential 2009 Livingstone, Hope Next Gen Report which cited us as a national best practice example for developing new talent.
Developing you as a professional developer
The course covers core programming languages and video game development tools, as well as contemporary agile software development techniques to make you a competent and adaptable programmer, capable of finding employment in the sector or preparing you for further academic study.
Your first position in the video game industry
Building upon your core language and software development skills, in the first year you will be tasked with a specific role within our in-house game development studio over the summer term. This work experience gives you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and professional practices you’ve learnt on the course in a safe and supportive environment. Typically for these projects you’ll be using industry standard game development tools such as Unity and Unreal.
These summer projects have in the past been mentored and supported by external partners including Red Bee Media, FreeStyleGames and Codemasters. The work students produce during these summer placements can act as excellent portfolio pieces, which demonstrate their ability as both a professional artist and effective team member.
Putting you in control of your final project
You have the choice of either proposing your own individual project or collaborating with other students to create another video game project for your portfolio.
Best of class facilities and staff
Teaching takes place in a modern production studio based in Birmingham city centre, where you’ll be provided with studio space to complete projects and a laptop with all the software you’ll need for the duration of the course.
You will be taught by staff with significant experience in the video game development industry, having worked with game developers including as Free Radical Design, Codemasters, FreeStyleGames and EA Games.
By the time you graduate, a whole year before most students, you’ll have two years of tangible games development studio experience under your belt, ready to launch your dream career as a games developer.
Alternatively, you can choose to apply for one of our one-year Gamer Camp courses, to gain even more in-depth skills, and experience
“I joined the course having some exposure to programming and a drive to learn more. The course has given me the opportunity to learn new programming languages and work collaboratively with other coders, artists, producers and marketers to develop industry standard projects. Honestly, I can not recommend this course enough if you have a passion for making games." Joeb Rogers, student, 2015-17
Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 19 November 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Students have also worked along postgraduates to make a mobile version of the PlayStation 4 Xtreme Drone Racing game which is being developed as part of the PlayStationFirst initiative. The mobile versions features racing against 40 drones in a variety of locations in Birmingham, geotagged content and extensive drone customisation.
Students progress to roles with video games development, wider interactive entertainment and programming roles, working as gameplay programmers, indie game developers, computer programmers and web application developers.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
Applicants will also need a good portfolio and example of written work to bring to interview at an Applicant Visit Day. See Portfolio Guidance tab.
At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications and/or experience will be accepted
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2016/17|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBB at A Level, excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking (120 points)|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including merit or higher in 20 credits at Level 3. Media related Access courses only.|
|BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)||DDM combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 120 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||DDM (120 points)|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 120 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Distinction|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||15 points from 3 higher level subjects|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||120 points, including 4 higher level passes|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||120 points, including 3 higher level passes|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||
Welsh Baccalaureate Advance Diploma Core with grade Pass plus grades BB at A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2016/17|
|IELTS||6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any bands) or equivalent|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||15 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||2 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||2 years||£12,000 per year|
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
We would like you to bring along some of your work which demonstrates your abilities and interest in the specific discipline you are applying for. This will provide valuable support for your application and enable the academic team to make a prompt and appropriate decision. We are looking for commitment with teamwork, innovation with discipline, empowerment with accountability, and finally enthusiasm.
We require you to bring the following:
Your portfolio of relevant work that you have created with examples of any practical media work (eg game demos, video(s), website(s), article(s), design work, programming elements and appropriate scripts)
An example of written work (eg an academic essay or report. This does not have to be related to the discipline you are applying to)
Please ensure that any work you bring along is clearly labelled with your name and UCAS number.
You may bring your portfolio on a memory stick providing the memory stick itself is well marked with your name AND the work on the memory stick is organised into a folder labelled ‘Interactive Entertainment Applicant Visit Day’.
Photographs MUST NOT be submitted on memory stick; all photographs must be printed and brought in to the Applicant Visit Day as part of your portfolio.
There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). NTI Birmingham courses aim to connect students with industry locally, nationally and globally, in alignment with student aspirations. Opportunities to engage with industry in an alternative location are always promoted but are never compulsory so students can make a decision based around their individual responsibilities, lifestyle and finances.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
During the first year, you will study four taught modules over semester one and two and two project modules over semester three, which takes place over the summer.
During Taught Modules teaching methods may include practical sessions, lectures and group debates, featuring input from both University staff and guest lecturers from industry, providing you with a wide range of practical knowledge and insight. Teaching time during these modules will be 8 hours per week + one scheduled tutorial.
During the project modules, you will be in the studio every day, from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Thursday. These modules are collaborative and you will be working with students from different disciplines such as, programming, design, production and business.
Computer Science and Web Technologies Primer
The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to get to grips with the basic foundations of computer-science and understand program-flow such as conditions and loops. It will also allow you to gain an appreciation of what video games are and how they generally work, from a high-level perspective.
Experience will be gained in using an integrated development environment (IDE) to allow you to create software. The chosen IDE will be Microsoft Visual Studio which is the main development tool for authoring software.
You will gain invaluable knowledge of stepping through a program, line-by-line and understand how the computer sees the program, and you will begin to get comfortable writing software.
Object-Oriented Programming with C#
The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to learn the C# programming language, and to gain a deeper understanding of programming concepts such as object-orientation.
It will also allow you to gain an appreciation of how to use a software framework in order to aid your development of a game.
Further experience will be gained in using Microsoft Visual Studio to develop your application, and experience will be gained in using the powerful debugger to solve issues in C#.
The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to learn about the mathematics required to create games in a 3D world. You will learn about various topics such as vectors and collisions in 3D.
Knowledge will also be gained in creating 3-dimensional graphics in a 3D world.
With the development of games like the popular Angry Birds, it has been demonstrated that having physics realism in games can lead to a whole new genre of games, both in 2D and also in 3D.
In the module you will learn about physics and physics engines required to create games in both 2D and 3D worlds.
You will also learn about what a Game Design Document (GDD) is and how to author your own.
Interactive Entertainment, Development & Implementation
This optional module is an opportunity to learn about the nature of interaction within game products and experience the challenge and thrill of developing a fun, gaming experience.
The ethos of the module is that of a ‘Game-jam’, where student teams will be tasked with completing a game brief inspired by either; a broad theme, a defined genre or a defined reference product. This project will be small in scope and scale, a micro-project.
The video game micro-project will enable students to take a code, art, design or production role within a small development team.
Interactive Entertainment, Script & Production
This optional module is an opportunity to learn about the nature of storytelling, audience engagement and the variety of methods and tools a writer or communicators has at their disposal to engage, inform, excite and elicit emotional response from the audience
The ethos of the module is that of a ‘Story-Jam’, where student teams will be tasked with completing a narrative challenge game brief inspired by either; a broad theme, a defined genre or a defined story arch.
In teams students will define characters, setting, situation and narrative and chose an appropriate medium to convey the narrative; this could include but is not restricted to; comic book, radio/audio play, choose-your-own-adventure, branching interactive conversation, screen play.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines.
You will be tasked with completing a project over an eight-week period, This project may be set either by an academic or course industry-partner. Whilst on the module you’ll be based in a studio environment where you’ll be required to attend Monday to Thursday.
During your second year, there will be a further four taught modules, with more opportunities to learn from guest lecturers. Teaching time during these modules will again be 8 hours per week + one scheduled tutorial.
In year two, your final year you will undertake one major project module, where you will go through the process of scoping, defining and pitching the creation of your own project, which may include your own art assets, a new product, or even working with an industry partner to respond to a brief they have set.
If you are creating your own product, you may wish to partner up with the students with complementary skills such as programming, design, production and business.
High Performance Programming with C++
You will be taught the history of C++ all the way from when it was born to where it stands in today 's fast-evolving world you will then will begin to learn about low-level topics such as memory management and use the Visual Studio debugger to peek in to see what is really going on inside the computer. Finally you will develop the software artefact specified in the game-design document, through the understanding and application of everything you have learnt.
Using Libraries in C++
This is a "hands on" module where you will practice the basics of using the library and then taking it further through practice, and delving deeper into the C++ programming language.
You will learn about how to integrate an existing C++ library into your code and then go on to research, discover and use it to create a software application that satisfies a specific assignment brief.
You will discover the advantages/disadvantages of using a library and you will describe and reflect on what the library adds to an application, and also how you have gone ahead and used it for the creation of your application.
Further C++ Development Practice
The purpose of this module is to give you experience in the field of using a 3D library to aid the development of a 3D software artefact using the High Performance language C++. You will learn further knowledge of the intricacies of the C++ language and you will gain further experience in authoring a software application, with a rich set of features.
This is a very "learn by example" module where you will learn several algorithmic tricks to aid the authoring of the software artefact. Finally, you will develop a software artefact specified in the game-design document, through the understanding and application of everything you have learnt about C++ development
As the title states this module is focused on skills, behaviours and attributes to make our graduate successful in the modern competitive, dynamic and demanding workplace. This module is an opportunity for you to develop not only academically, but it will also help you to acquire life-long skills and attributes that identify you as a graduate of BCU; a creative problem solver, entrepreneurial, professional and work ready, and having a global outlook.
In addition to this and in the context of the creative and cultural industries this means developing an ability to: create work which demonstrates an awareness of professional standards, gain an understanding of successful project planning, to be innovative, to critically reflect on your work and be able to place it within the context of professional practice within your chosen discipline.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, theoretically and professionally informed project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research or professional-level project on a topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.
At this level, you will be expected to work independently but you will receive additional one-to-one support from your supervisor, who will be familiar with your chosen topic area. As you progress on the module, extra support will be available and this may take the form of group seminars, workshops and online materials that will help in the development of your Major Project.
The course is structured around teaching you new skills and allowing you the freedom to experiment and experience putting your new skills into practice through live projects.
Typically, this means modules are split into taught modules and studio-based project modules.
During taught module you will receive two four-hour classes per week plus one tutorial.
Guaranteed in-house placement (Project Modules)
The video game development course is all about providing you with crucial experience-based learning you'll need for your career. To this end during the summer term you will be required to attend an in-house work placement. During this placement you will be required to attend full-time, 0930 - 1630, Monday to Thursday. It is during these modules you’ll be using development tools such as Unity & Unreal.
During project modules you will be in the studio from Monday - Thursday 9.30am - 4.30pm.
This is a two year accelerated undergraduate degree course with professional game development studio experience embedded as part your learning journey.
You'll be assessed in a variety of different ways, including practical project work – both group and individual – presentations, written reports and practical portfolios.
Assessment is embedded into the course, which will mean your learning experience isn't constantly interrupted by assessment. You are also assessed on your work within a project delivery team while you are based in our simulated in-house studio environment.
All students on the programme will be issued with a laptop to use whilst on the course, this computer will be preloaded with all the industry-standard software required to complete the assignments and roles within the studio.
On the course, you'll be taught by established industry professionals with a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm, who are experienced at recognising and responding to the rapidly changing demands within the industry.
|29||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|71||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
|0||Time on placement||LightSkyBlue|
If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.
For successful graduates there is a natural progression from BA Video Game Art to MA Video Game Development, which is a one-year accelerated Master’s degree focused on initially indie and then AAA video game development. Students taking this option can gain an undergraduate and postgraduate degree within three years.
During project modules industry guests have historically attended during ‘milestone review’ sessions to review and feedback upon students video game development work and provide direction for further development.
During your final major project an industry mentor maybe sought to help you deliver your project. For example in 2016 staff from Microsoft’s Rare studio worked with students to help them complete their major projects.
NTI courses are built upon workplace simulation and industry-standard work, ensuring you behave less like a student and more as a professional, gaining the workplace experience and attributes you need.
As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.
Leading up to and upon graduation
At the end of your studies you’ll complete a final major project, which may lead you to working directly with a client. This direct contact will give you the experience, confidence and freedom to put into action all you’ve learned on your studies. Allied with this course-specific experience, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:
During the summer term of your first year, you will have the opportunity to work in a video game development team as part of the in-house placement element of the course. Previous, projects have included a ‘Doctor Who’ interactive comic book project with the BBC and Red Bee Media, an integrated web and mobile suite of mini games with The Wellcome Trust and Xtreme Drone Racing with Sony PlayStation First.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Students progress to roles with video games development, wider interactive entertainment and programming roles, working as gameplay programmers, indie game developers, computer programmers and web application developers.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.
The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.
So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.
Overall measures: ranked positions
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
The New Technology Institute (NTI) is a part of Birmingham City University's City Centre Campus at University House.
We help you learn a specific discipline such as digital marketing, programming or art and put that discipline into practice by offering flexible teaching space, dedicated development studios and open access work areas for group projects, as well as course-specific facilities.
Discover more about the industry experts you can meet on our two-year fast track degree course.
Zuby Ahmed is one of our lecturers, watch this video to find out more.
Zafar Qamar is a Senior Lecturer and the Technical Director at Birmingham City University’s NTI Birmingham, working as part of the Gamer Camp team teaching the MA/MSc in Video Games Development and BSc in Interactive Entertainment (Games Development).
Graduating from University of Birmingham in the 90’s, Zafar went on to have a successful career in video games for more than 20 years working for companies including; Psygnosis, Codemasters, FreeStyleGames. Zafar has worked on several titles; Hostile Waters, Cold Winter, F1 2010, 50 Cent Blood on the Sand, Blur Overdrive. He recently joined the NTI team in December 2014 and oversees the development of game programmers on Gamer Camp and Interactive Entertainment. Currently, he is lecturing on two levels, for Postgraduates and Undergraduates and helps students focus on the skills needed to become first-class programmers.
"Anyone can play games, or download Apps on their smartphones and tablets and play on them or use them. This is analogous to reading. But how do you write? As technology exponentially develops, the gap between people being able to read and those being able to write is widening.
I’ve always loved computers since the age of 12 when my brother bought a “cutting-edge” 48K Sinclair Spectrum! I want to share my knowledge going all the way back to old-skool retro-games like Pong and Asteroids and vector-based displays all the way up to cutting-edge full HD games of nowadays."
"I love programming, I love mathematics and I love creating games and apps software. I now love sharing those skills with others and injecting my enthusiasm into them and preparing them to jump straight into the games-industry, or even becoming proficient enough to develop their own games studios."
Zafar’s role as Senior Lecturer on Gamer Camp consists of managing the numerous trainees on the course, making sure they are working at an appropriate level that is coherent across all bases. Each trainee on the course is required to meet real briefs in order to enhance their skills as a game developer. Zafar expects a high level of professionalism from all the trainees having previously worked through many games studios from Codemasters, FreeStyleGames and AppCrowd going all the way back to old veteran studios such as Sony/Psygnosis in Liverpool, and Rage Software/Swordfish Studios in Birmingham.
"I’ve had some great times in the games industry and it’s been a real pleasure working with some extremely talented and lovely people."
"In the olden days we had computers that were ‘all-in-one’ units like the BBC Micro, or Commodore64. You just plugged them into a TV. When you switched them on then after a few seconds they prompted you to start typing something in to them. This seemed quite encouraging to make the users type on their keyboards. Nowadays people switch on their PCs or MACs and start clicking things with a mouse.
If you want to learn how to program then there are literally hundreds of ways to do it, all of them requiring you to install some large application or having to go to particular websites. There are many questions from the outset:
So you can see there are many questions to answer before you’ve even started. This presents a bit of a hurdle for anyone wanting to have a ‘quick go’ at programming!"
"Here at Gamer Camp we teach great programming development methodologies based on decades of professional experience, and keep it up to date with the latest technologies, all whilst steering clear of the many bottlenecks and pitfalls that seem to present themselves around us. Work smart and hard."