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MSc Games Software Development

Learn the skills to become a future technology leader on this technically oriented game programming course. Study the core C++ and graphics skills essential for contemporary game development and experience the way that gaming projects are developed and managed within the industry. Gain access to the largest PlayStation teaching facilities in the world, and use the same software, tools and techniques as the mainstream games industry.

Course length 1-2 Year(s)
Location City Campus

Course description

This is a technically oriented course for programmers interested in the technology of games. It is suitable for people seeking employment in programming roles within the games industry.

The course focuses on the implementation of real-time 3D applications using the C++ programming language in order to develop your understanding of 3D rendering and shader programming techniques.

You also study low-level hardware architectures for optimisation, including the novel architectures of games consoles and how to exploit them. We teach you project management techniques, including the stages of game production and the structure and operation of the games industry.

This course benefits from strong industry links with companies like Sony Computer Entertainment and Sumo Digital and industry accreditation from Creative Skillset and PlayStation®First. The lecturers have many decades of commercial games industry experience between them and share a passion for developing the next generation of talent.

This course is part of the PlayStation®First Academic Partnership Programme offered by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) and has been awarded PlayStation®First status by fostering best practise in game related development skills across PlayStation® platforms. The programme provides unique access to PlayStation® professional development hardware (dev kits) and software (SDK) to equip students with industry relevant game development skills across PlayStation®4, PlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita and PlayStation®Portable.

The Steel Minions
Sheffield Hallam University has its own commercially-licensed game studio which provides workplace simulation to students on the University's games degrees. It was the first university studio in the UK to release its own PlayStation® title and has a range of PlayStation, iOS and Android games in development.

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by Creative Skillset (the Creative Industries' Sector Skills Council), PlayStation® First and TIGA (The Independent Game Developers Association).

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

Typically you need a degree software engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, games programming or related areas. You should have a strong motivation to develop software and a keen interest in technological developments. You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

We will also consider you if you have 5-10 years suitable industrial experience in art, computing, programming or other relevant areas, and depending on your educational background. Knowledge or experience of the games industry is useful but not essential.

You must also satisfy us that you have an appropriate level of skill to succeed on the course by demonstrating competency with the C++ programming language. You complete a short multiple-choice test consisting of a series of questions about the C++ language and its associated execution behaviour.

We also require one suitable reference.

English Language competence

You need to demonstrate appropriate English skills, which is typically shown by having either

• completed a degree taught and assessed in English

• an English GCSE at grade C or better

• an IELTS score of 6.0 with 5.5 in all skills (or equivalent) is the standard for non-native speakers of English.

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.

Course structure

Full-time – 13 months
Part-time – two years
Starts September

Typical modules may include

Postgraduate certificate

C++ boot camp
This module gives an intensive review and presentation of the main elements of contemporary C++ programming in a gaming context, providing an essential foundation for further study.

Graphics and animation
This module covers fundamental techniques for creating software capable of rendering and animating real-time 3D graphical scenes. It introduces the key concepts, theories and methods used by game developers using C++ and DirectX.

Hardware-oriented software engineering
This module explores low-level computer architectures including those of games consoles such as the PlayStation. It demonstrates how the performance of software can be optimised by understanding a machine's physical architecture and the incorporation of assembler level code.

Software studio planning
This module provides the opportunity to study and apply industry-based project management techniques to the concept and preproduction stages of a game's lifecycle. You pitch and plan projects in preparation for the game development practice module.

Postgraduate diploma

Special techniques for graphics and animation
This module builds upon the content of the previous module, introducing advanced real-time graphical techniques using shader technologies. It provides the opportunity to research and develop contemporary shader effects appropriate to games.

Game development practice
The ability to work effectively in interdisciplinary teams is an essential quality for the games industry. This module provides the opportunity to work alongside artists and designers from other courses to develop a substantial gaming artefact for your portfolio. Successful games can be published on a variety of hardware platforms through the Steel Minions game studio. This module carries a 30-credit weighting.

Multi-processing and parallel technologies
With multithreading and parallel processing architectures increasingly commonplace in gaming and pc platforms, it is essential that games software developers can produce digital content that takes advantage of these new technologies. This module equips you with the knowledge to respond and program effectively to produce software that uses these advances.


Research methods
In the final stage of your masters, you complete a substantial piece of research and develop a product based on this. This module gives you experience of the research tools, techniques and methods used, and builds your communication and planning skills to prepare you for your research project.

Individual project
You carry out an independent research and development project, and apply the methods and skills developed in other modules. This represents the culmination of the course, and enables you to demonstrate your skills and abilities by completing a substantial piece of work. It provides a significant contribution to your portfolio of work, which you can then use to show prospective employers. You also be expected to present your research project to your peer group and teaching staff in the form of a technical seminar. This module carries a 45-credit weighting.

  • PgCert – continuous assessment
  • PgDip – continuous assessment involving a large group-based industrial project
  • MSc – 25% continuous assessment and 75% individual research project


Good games software graduates are in high demand, and our course has been developed to meet the needs of the booming entertainment software industry.

We actively support your collaboration with external companies on your practical software development projects. This gives you real experience while learning and could lead directly to you gaining a job with one of these companies.


Home / EU student

Course fees may be subject to annual inflationary increase. <br>

2016/17 academic year

Typically £6,300 for the course

Part-time study should be calculated pro rata.

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

Typically £6,400 for the course

Part-time study should be calculated pro rata

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,500 for the course

2017/18 academic year

Typically £13,250 for the course

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.

Additional costs information

How to apply

You need to complete an admissions test and an application form.

For an application form see www.shu.ac.uk/study/form

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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