Whether you are interested in developing games for entertainment or for serious applications, our BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming will take you to the next level with your career plans. Our foundation year route will also give you a solid platform for success.
- Join a course with an outstanding reputation within the gaming industry
- Gain both the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills you need to develop first-rate games
- Choose to take an optional industrial placement year which will add substance to your CV and broaden your professional networks
- Become a member of the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance, allowing you to use Microsoft products at home.
You can also take the BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming without a foundation year. Find out more.
Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more
Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.
Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.
An impressive portfolio of skills
Our BSc (Hons) degree delivers an in-depth understanding of computer science, the theoretical field that underpins all software development. This knowledge prepares you for long-term employability and success as a computer programmer of any kind, but applies in particular to the breadth and complexity of computer games development.
You will study computer science with a strong emphasis on the practical programming skills needed for games development. Your studies will be carefully structured:
- At the first stage of the honours degree, you will discover the foundations of computer science and software development, learning about computer programming and vital mathematics
- In the second stage, you will explore the core topics of computer science that are particularly relevant to games development such as software engineering practices and principles; databases and large-scale data management; algorithms and data structures; and computer graphics. You will also develop employability skills, especially useful if you need to find a work placement after your second year
- You can then take an optional work placement which gives you valuable real-world experience and will help to inform your final year of study
- In the final year, you can concentrate on advanced topics including systems level programming, code optimisation and low-level development; modern AI techniques and implementations; applying physics to games and simulations; and integrating art and artists into the development process.
You'll also get to work with students on the degree to create a game. The games are then exhibited as part of our Games Expo. You can see the level of work created by our Computer Games students on our .
You’ll get to use cutting-edge software development tools in our industry-standard laboratories. Facilities include:
- Computer Games Labs: These spaces are home to our specialist software access and hardware facilities. Software includes Unreal Engine, Unity Engine, Visual Studio and Steam
- XR Lab (cross-reality): This dedicated space is for mixed-course games development as well as providing a flexible space for visualisation and other projects. The lab provides specialist games and visualisation hardware, including Vive Pro Eye headsets, Rifts and Wacom drawing tablets. There are eight workstations outfitted with 2080 graphics cards so you can approach raytracing projects and AI workloads
- CAVE Lab: This impressive lab provides data visualisation hardware. The pod contains a 270-degree 3D projection set up allowing multiple users to experience a shared virtual environment. Workstations with Tesla graphics cards for data processing and AI projects are also available
- Computer Networks Labs: Primarily used for our modules in Networking Fundamentals, Server Infrastructure, Wide Area Networks and Network Routing and Switching, the labs contain specialist software access including Cisco Packet Tracer, VM VirtualBox, VMware Workstation, Wireshark and MS Vision
- Makerspace: Get ready to turn your ideas into prototypes! The space includes a whole host of equipment, including 3D printers, CNC machines, and a laser cutter to bring your product to life. It's also a great space to collaborate with students from across the University
Well placed for success
We encourage and support you to take the optional industrial placement year. This is your opportunity to work alongside other software professionals and to see at first-hand how the knowledge and skills you have learned on the course are put into practice.
Our students have enjoyed placements at companies such as Kuju, Frontier Developments and Sumo Digital.
Pursue your personal interests
Through the Independent Studies module, we give you the chance to tailor your studies to match your professional interests and career ambitions. You will develop a large-scale project or conduct a research study into an area of your choice.
Previous topics explored by our students include point based rendering, procedural generation of realistic game levels, multi-level AI for elastic difficulty scaling, and many more!
Strong employer links
Our distinctive approach has won widespread praise from employers and leading industry figures:
"The new Computer Games Programming degree at Derby is harnessing leading-edge technologies such as DirectX and .Net to teach students the fundamentals, coupled with tried and tested games development techniques and languages used in industry. We believe students graduating will have a solid background in games programming and general software development and will be very successful in their future careers."
Mark Johnston, Microsoft UK
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
You will study three modules per semester, each delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and laboratory work.
We also provide a considerable amount of e-learning support material. Class contact time varies from 10 to 15 hours per week, depending on the level you are studying at. You can choose to spend the third year on an optional supervised work placement.
How you will be assessed
In the first and second stages, assessment is largely by coursework exercises and the formal examined component increases in the final year. You will undertake a mixture of group and individual assignments and 25% of the final year is assessed through a personal project.
Personal academic tutoring
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
Find out more about personal academic tutoring
These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2023 entry.
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade 4/Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|Access to HE||Pass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2|
English language requirements
IELTS: 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each skills area)
How to apply
Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.
Skilled games programmers will discover a wide variety of career opportunities everywhere from small start-up companies to major multinational organisations. This course represents the ideal preparation for roles such as gameplay programmer, tools developer and AI programmer. You might even want to start your own company after graduating.
Because the BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming has such a solid computing and software engineering focus, it also opens up excellent prospects for our graduates across all software development roles in the computing industry.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.
Included in your fees
- Access to free software from major software vendors such as SAS, Microsoft, Adobe ), Matlab and VMWare - some are available for student download
- Mandatory field trips
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- External hard drive and memory card £50 - £100
- Core text books approx. £250
- Some assignments are required to be submitted on CDROM/DVDROM approx. £2
- Independent Study dissertations are normally submitted electronically, but individual supervisors have the right to request bound copies. In that case, printing and binding expenses are covered by the student approx. £6 per copy
Optional costs not included in your fees
- Personal computer or tablet computer approx. £400
- Text books approx. £20
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.