Postgraduate study
Computer Games

MA Concept Art for Games and Animation

Do you have a strong drawing ability and want to study concept art and develop a range of specialist skills?

Course information


  • within 1 year (September start), 16 months (January start) or 2 years with advanced practice (September or January start)

More full-time details

January 2018 entry

September 2018 entry


  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information

  • Student work
  • Staff profile
  • Facilities

    Computer Games

    Teesside has fantastic state-of-the-art facilities for games students including high-end computers with dual screens and where appropriate Wacom graphics tablets. Highly specialised facilities include a motion capture studio, Kinect lab, a dedicated games lounge equipped with an array of consoles and life drawing studios.


This course focuses on games and animation but is also suitable for students interested in related areas such as film, comics and illustration. You will undertake project based course work supported by dedicated staff with a wealth of practical experience of both the commercial and academic worlds.Your teaching is supported by close links to industry. In previous years we have had a range of visiting lecturers – a senior concept artist from Double Negative, an art director from Ubisoft, the director of Atomhawk and representatives from Dreamworks and Microsoft. We have also had visits from a range of freelancers specialising in areas such as character design, storyboarding and matte painting. Industry experts are actively involved in setting you tasks and providing feedback.

There are two routes you can choose from to gain an MA Concept Art for Games and Animation:

  • full-time - 2 years with advanced practice (September start)
  • full-time - 1 year (September start) or 16 months (January start)

The postgraduate course covers specialist areas – character design, environment design and storytelling. You also focus on core drawing skills including regular life drawing classes. The course concludes with a final project – we support you to create a brief that enables you to specialise in your chosen area of interest.

You develop the cognitive and technical skills to equip you for enterprise, employment and further academic research. As a graduate, practising artist and designer or mid-career professional, you can engage in reflective creative practice at an advanced level.

Course structure

Core modules

Character and Environment Design

You focus on the key concepts connected to the design of characters and environments.

Working from a supplied brief you create characters in a style of your own choosing. You learn how to visually represent personality and attitude relying on a visual approach.

You study environment designs and develop compositional techniques designed to create a convincing three-dimensional space with a sense of drama. Methods of making an image ‘read’ clearly are explored.

You are also be encouraged to investigate vehicle and prop design.

This is supported by one-to-one feedback sessions where your work is discussed in detail.

Assessment is on your portfolio of project work.

Concept Art Practice

As a professional concept artist you might work in an animation or games studio or you might choose to run your own business as a freelancer. In this module you explore the different aspects of working in both of these roles. The emphasis is strongly on engagement with industry.

You primarily work on briefs supplied by professionals from animation and games studios. In the past these briefs have been supplied by Dreamworks, Ubisoft and Atomhawk.

During the module you have the opportunity to pitch your work to professionals and receive direct feedback.

We also have regular visiting lecturers from industry who give talks and provide feedback and advice on your work.

You are assessed on the portfolio of work created during the module.

Drawing for Concept Artists

Drawing skills are essential to being a successful concept artist, and this module provides you with the skills essential to supporting your artistic practice. Experimenting with materials and techniques allows you to become more confident in your work, allowing you to overcome any ‘artist’s block’ you may come up against throughout your career.

Developing your skills will encourage you to reflect and improve your artistic practice. It also helps you to develop your strengths and overcome your weaknesses to enable you to create original artwork.

Assessment is through a portfolio and an edited blog, with an emphasis upon process rather than product.

Master's Project: Concept Art for Games and Animation

You undertake a major, in-depth, individual project based on your chosen area of interest. You research and investigate aspects of your area of study and produce a portfolio of creative work.

This module offers you the opportunity to create work which you feel reflects your ability to its best advantage.

You are guided through this module by your supervisor and regular group feedback sessions through the summer.

You present your final work at a viva attended by your individual supervisor and a second reader.

You are also expected to produce a dissertation containing your research and development work for the project.

The project management process affords supported opportunities for goal setting, reflection and critical evaluation of achievement.

Visual Storytelling

Telling the story is what hooks your audience and we help you understand the key issues relating to visual storytelling.

You explore storytelling as it applies in various contexts such as storyboards, key moments, posters and comic strips.

The work you produce is informed by appropriate research and analysis of a range of visual storytelling contexts.

We help you demonstrate a high level of professional competence, willingness and confidence to experiment with a range of visual approaches. You critically reflect upon the work you produce.

Assessment is on your portfolio of project work.


Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

You experience a number of different approaches to learning and teaching including:

  • lecture sessions
  • tutorial and practical sessions
  • workshops and studio sessions
  • freelance sessions and workshops
  • online and blended delivery
  • self-directed study.

Critical reflection is key to successful problem solving and essential to the creative process. To develop your own reflective practice at an advanced level, you test and assess your solutions against criteria that you develop in the light of your research.

How you are assessed

You are assessed through the production of a portfolio of creative work and a written report. Feedback is given during lectures and tutorials, and using online methods.

Career opportunities

From the beginning of your programme, we prepare you for a career in industry. In addition to your taught classes, we create opportunities for you to meet and network with our industry partners through events such as our ExpoSeries, which showcases student work to industry. ExpoTees is the pinnacle of the ExpoSeries with over 100 businesses from across the UK coming to the campus to meet our exceptional students, with a view to recruitment.

Advanced practice

There are a number of internship options, including:

  • Vocational internship – spend one semester working full-time in industry or on placement in the University. We have close links with a range of national and international companies who will offer you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills in the workplace through an internship. Although we cannot guarantee internships, we will provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge.
  • Research internship – develop your research and academic skills by undertaking a research internship within the University. Experience working as part of a research team in an academic setting. Ideal for those who are interested in a career in research or academia.

Entry requirements

  • 2.2 degree (or above) or significantly documented relevant industry experience
  • Portfolio of appropriate illustration work of a good standard.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

Course information


  • within 1 year (September start), 16 months (January start) or 2 years with advanced practice (September or January start)

More full-time details

January 2018 entry

September 2018 entry


  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information