Create the software powering the next generation of blockbuster games.
There are two distinct types of careers in games development – the technical programming side, and the creative art and design side. This course prepares you for the first type of career, giving you all the skills you need to work as a software developer in the competitive games industry.
If you are interested in the more artistic side of games development, see our MArt Games Design course.
What you study
You study the skills and techniques that are demanded by industry, such as programming, especially C++, software engineering and mathematics, optimisation and the use of games hardware on desktop, consoles and mobile platforms.
During the first two years of study the MComp course content matches the BSc, during this time it is possible to transfer to or from the BSc.
During year four, you study graphics and prototyping and complete research modules developing innovative game projects.
In your final year, you produce an individual project showcasing your abilities. You also work in Steel Minions, our commercially licensed game development studio. This provides the benefits of experiencing commercial projects, typically under the supervision of industrial partners.
You graduate with a portfolio to show prospective employers and we advise you how to maximise its potential.
Key areas of study include
• advanced programming skills, using C++ mainly
• 3D mathematics
• industry standard APIs such as Microsoft’s DirectX, Unity, Marmalade, Corona, Android SDK, iOS
• programming for the PlayStation® platforms
• technologies and hardware architectures for games software
• project management techniques and tools used within the games industry
• introduction to game design, ethics, game industry business models, 3D graphics and modelling packages
You also work on web and mobile platforms such as iOS and Android. As well as benefiting from an emphasis on DirectX, you gain experience with cross platform tools like Marmalade and Unity, which can target any device. You also have access to Virtual Reality hardware such as the Oculus Rift and PlaystationVR.
Placements and work experience
In your third year, we help you to secure a 12-month placement on salaries up to £18,000, allowing you to apply your skills and gain real world experience before you graduate. During the placement, you are mentored by a member of academic staff, who visits you at your place of work. In previous years, students have taken placements at • Sony (SCEE) • Team17 • SN Systems • SI Games • Autodesk • Dumpling Design • Jollywise Media • 3Squared • Next. Sumo Digital offers one-year placements for two students on track for a first-class honours degree.
Links with industry
We’ve been awarded PlayStation®First status by Sony (SCEE), providing unique access to PlayStation® professional development hardware (dev-kits) and software (SDK) and equipping students with industry relevant game development skills across PlayStation® 3, PlayStation® 4, PlayStation® Vita and PlayStation® Portable. We have the world's largest PlayStation teaching lab.
During the course you get support to develop professional and employability skills, including CV and application writing, interview and presenting skills. We have regular presentations from employers and industry experts, and workshops where you get expert advice from recruiters representing leading IT companies.
We work in close partnership with games companies such as Sumo Digital, SN-Systems and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE). They provide equipment and input into the design, development and delivery, ensuring we teach the very latest topics. For example, industry speakers give talks on specialist topics and offer employability advice.
We've won "best educational institution 2015" from the industry accreditation body TIGA, for our game programming courses.
This course is one of only a small number of industry-accredited undergraduate technical courses in game programming in the UK.
It is accredited by Creative Skillset (The Creative Industries' Sector Skills Council), TIGA (The Independent Game Developers Association).
Accredited by BCS, The Chartered Institute for ITas meeting the requirements for Chartered IT Professional and Chartered IT Professional Further Learning and / or fully meeting the requirements for Chartered Engineer.
2017 entry requirements
GCSE mathematics at grade B or grade 5 or above and five other GCSE passes at grade C or grade 4 or above to include English language, plus one of the following
• 128 UCAS points including at least 64 from two A levels or equivalent BTEC National qualifications. We accept AS levels. We accept general studies.
• 112 UCAS points from three A levels or equivalent BTEC National qualifications. We accept general studies.
New UCAS tariff points system for courses starting from September 2017. This is significantly different to the current points system and uses an alternative method of calculation. You can find information about these changes on the UCAS website and use the UCAS tariff calculator to work out your points.
• Access – an Access to HE Diploma with at least 45 credits at level 3 and 15 credits at level 2. At least 18 level 3 credits must be at merit grade or above, from a QAA-recognised Access to HE course, or an equivalent Access to HE certificate.
The evidence that you provide in your personal statement and references will influence whether your application is successful. So plan what you want to say and take your time completing the application form.
If English is not your first language you must have an IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills or equivalent. If your English language skill is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English score.
We welcome applications from people of any age. We may be flexible in our normal offer if you can show a commitment to succeed and have the relevant skills and experience. This must show that you will benefit from and finish the course successfully.
International and European entry qualifications
If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.
Five years full-time (including one year work placement) or four years full-time
Typical modules may include
|Year one modules||
• fundamentals of programming • fundamentals of computer architecture • introduction to game development • mathematics for graphics • professionalism and project development • introduction to requirements and systems modelling
|Year two core modules||
• object-oriented programming • software hardware optimisation techniques • mathematics for modelling and rendering • programming for games • web application development • professional development project
• optional work placement
|Year four modules||
• research methods and professionalism • professional development • 3D games prototyping • game software project management • real-time 3D techniques for games • tools, libraries and frameworks
|Year four options||
• effective C++ programming • mobile applications • programming "things"
|Final year core modules||
• individual project • game development practice • software studio planning • special techniques for graphics and animation • multiprocessing and parallel systems
You gain the skills for a career as a game programmer, software development engineer or project manager in the games and visual media industry. This enables you to develop careers in areas such as • graphical software design and visualisation • applications programming • software engineering.
Most graduates from this course are working in the game industry, typically as game programmers or lead programmers, also referred to as engineers in the game industry, at games companies like Sony and Sumo Digital. Some specialise in • toolchain programming • special effects programming • AI programming • script programming. Others become indie developers, involved in every stage of game production.
Home / EU student
We do not charge course fees during a placement year.
Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)
For the course fee and further information on scholarships and bursaries please visit our fees and funding pages.
We do not charge course fees during a placement year.
2016/17 academic year
Typically £12,250 a year
2017/18 academic year
Typically £12,750 a year
Additional course costs
This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.
Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.