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Postgraduate study

Course overview

You gain the skills and knowledge to develop high-performance systems, contribute to the development of new computing algorithms and become part of the many research areas that this subject links to. Games programming is a specialisation of computer science and involves the same research-led study of computational theory and the design of software systems.

Computer games programming has been taught at Teesside for many years, and the course is respected industry wide. This masters programme builds on these foundations and provides a research-focused framework, enabling you to explore the more advanced areas of the subject.

As well as being prepared to enter the games industry, you gain skills relevant to many other sectors including simulation, artificial intelligence, and the wider software engineering industry. You can also further your academic career through a PhD and other research-related activities. There are three routes you can choose from:

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

* Subject to University approval


Course details

Course structure

Core modules


You undertake a major, in-depth, individual study in an aspect of your course. These projects are drawn from appropriate commercial, industrial, artistic or research-based problem areas. You research and investigate a specific area of study, followed by the production of a portfolio of relevant practice-based materials from the area of games, animation and visual effects. You also produce a written report that contextualises and critically evaluates your final outputs.

Advanced Game Prototyping

You build upon fundamental concepts involved in the creation of a game prototype as part of a small team.

You examine the contrast between the creation of a strong core mechanic, which is immediately tactile, and how it can be expanded upon through player learning, subtractive design and variety to provide longevity. Ultimately providing an accessible, engaging and substantial gameplay experience informed by playtesting.

You enhance your skills both inside and outside of a contemporary game engine. Inspired by the structure of relevant titles, you are encouraged to rigorously plan tasks from a macro and micro perspective prior to development.

AI for Games

Integrating AI into game engines can be difficult due to the fact that game engines typically do not use symbolic or declarative representations of characters, settings, or actions.

You cover the wide variety of software technologies applied to the integration of AI techniques within the context of industry-standard game engines, as well as forthcoming technologies developed within AI-based research (interactive storytelling systems). You explore the design and implementation of AI-based systems applied to the wide variety of game engines technologies and applications, including multi-platform specifics, desktop-based and immersive virtual reality systems, as well as web-based and mobile gaming platforms.

You gain experience of working as a member of a games development technical team mapping to industrial practise. It enables you to critically evaluate development methods and apply them within your teams based on existing industry practice.

AI Planning

AI planning is a key enabling technology in interactive entertainment, which covers topics from path planning to generating intelligent behaviours for virtual agents, whether individual or collective behaviours, for example dealing with co-operation and co-ordination of virtual agents.

You gain a thorough grounding in current research trends in AI planning. These include current advances in plan generation, planning in uncertain domains, knowledge engineering for planning, and representation languages against the various applications to interactive entertainment, supported by examples from current computer games.

Game Group Project

You explore the prototyping aspects of computer games development within a contemporary game engine, focusing on the principles of design and programming. You look at different ways of creating, designing and developing interactive content specific to modern gaming platforms. Working in small teams, you develop a real game from concept through to fully demonstrable prototype.

Real-Time Graphics

You extend your understanding and abilities in graphics programming to include efficient high-speed rendering of high-quality imagery. Emphasis is on the rendering of 3D virtual environments. It is useful for anyone interested in creating interactive, high-quality graphical applications such as computer games.

You learn how to research and select appropriate algorithms and techniques to solve a problem and then construct an implementation using C++, a graphics library such as OpenGL or Direct3D, and a shading language such as GLSL or HLSL.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Lectures are used to introduce and develop material, addressing research issues and recent developments.

Subjects are explored in-depth through tutor-led seminars, practical workshops, individual or group research and contribution to discussion forums.

Practical work includes case studies from real scenarios and the development of significant computer applications.

Directed self-study and research develop your critical evaluation skills.

Development of transferable skills, self-managed learning and professional development are core themes throughout the programme.

How you are assessed

You are assessed on your subject-specific knowledge, cognitive and intellectual skills, and transferable skills applicable to the workplace. The assessments include assignments, tests, case studies, presentations, research proposal and literature review, and the production of a dissertation. The assessments may include individual or group essays or reports. The assessment criteria, where appropriate, includes assessment of presentation skills and report writing.


Entry requirements

2.2 degree (or above) in any subject or significant professional experience

IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) for international students.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

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



Career opportunities

This course enables you to develop core transferable skills, knowledge and behaviours required to effectively lead and manage within computing sector.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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2020/21 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£6,500 a year

£4,335 a year with advanced practice

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

£7,500 a year with advanced practice

More details about our fees for international applicants

Apply online (full-time)

Apply online (fast-track) for current students



2020/21 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£722 for each 20 credits

More details about our fees

Apply online (part-time)

Apply online (fast-track) for current students


Choose Teesside


Stand out from other job applicants with your higher level qualification, specialist knowledge and expanded networks.



Improve your project management, critical thinking, research skills, time management, presentation skills and teamwork.



The median salary for working-age (16-64) postgraduates in 2018 was £6,000 more than graduates
(DoE Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2018,



Study in our friendly town-centre campus with over £270m recently invested and another £300m over the next 10 years.


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