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Undergraduate study
Games Programming

Games Programming BSc (Hons)

This degree is one of the UK’s leading games programming courses and is well respected by the industry. You have the opportunity to study on this specialist course taught by experienced developers and internationally recognised researchers.



Course routes:


Course overview

Accredited Foundation year Work placement

Computer games facilities

See the facilities you use when you study computer games at Teesside University

Learn to apply software engineering and problem-solving skills to develop games from 2D games developed from scratch, to polished 3D games with large cross discipline development teams.

Games programmers build games from the creative vision of designers and artists. Our course gives you the essential industry skills to do this. Games-specific modules take you beyond traditional software development, providing a head start for your future career. Each year culminates in producing a complete game demo, whether as a personal project using middleware, in a team of programmers working to a game design document or in a multidisciplinary team of artists, animators and designers.

You will become a talented software engineer, technically skilled and an excellent problem solver with games-industry-specific knowledge and experience. You will have the technical expertise for a variety of careers within the games industry and mainstream computing.

The course is structured around the following themes:

  • Programming and agile software engineering practices
  • Gaming hardware and platforms (mobile devices and consoles
  • Gameplay programming and user interfaces (multimodal interfaces) artificial intelligence
  • Networked multiplayer games (from social gaming to massively multiplayer games) graphics, animation, physics, and simulation programming.

Top reasons to study this course at Teesside:
  • British Computer Society (BCS) academic membership: get free BCS membership to accelerate your career path with CV builder tools, e-learning courses, mentorships programmes, jobs boards and volunteering opportunities.
  • Industry links: take part in Animex, our annual international animation and games festival featuring experts from Rockstar, Pixar, Disney and Sony.
  • Real-world experience: enter GameJam events, take part in industry competitions and Beta test upcoming games before they are released.
  • Career-ready: our ExpoSeries of events allow you to showcase your skills to industry professionals who are seeking to recruit new and rising talent.
  • Start-up business support: we support you to develop your own business in games through our innovative Power UP Indie Games Accelerator.

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Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Algorithms for Games

Complex coding and scripting for a computer game requires an understanding of problem solving, data structures and algorithms needed to define the contents and behaviour of a virtual 3D world. You are introduced to these topics using an informal yet rigorous approach. The algorithms range from simple to advanced, widely used in AAA games. Recreational problems, like games and puzzles, are used to convey the important algorithmic concepts.

C++ Programming

You are introduced to C++ programming, focusing on the learning, development and application of algorithms and data structures within computer games, and the basics of class-based object-oriented programming using C++ language.
You demonstrate conceptual understanding and practical competence of programming by designing and implementing solutions to specific programming problems.

You study standard C++ libraries, and where appropriate one or more 3rd party libraries. You are required to demonstrate an understanding of professional practices and appropriate codes of conduct.

Games Development with C++

You study advanced aspects of C++ language and its continual evolvement, focusing on game development.

You develop your knowledge and practical application of object-oriented programming, including exception handling, polymorphism, design patterns and templates, and the standard library for containers and algorithms.

You are required to demonstrate an understanding of professional practices and appropriate codes of conduct.

Maths for Games

Knowledge of advanced mathematical concepts for building a games engine is essential for a games programmer. You learn basic and advanced mathematics in an applied context.

Systems and Game Technology

The production of a successful, robust, user-friendly system or application begins with the analysis of the stakeholders’ requirements and a detailed design. This module introduces you to the concepts and techniques of systems analysis and design, enabling you to break down and simplify complex systems and represent these visually using industry standard approaches such as Unified Modelling Language (UML). In industry, the resulting models are used to communicate designs to the developers and to the stakeholders prior to implementation.

Games Technology is explored in the context of games development, with reference to the interconnection of hardware and the developmental processes involved in games' creation. You consider the development process and appreciate the various technologies, in both software and hardware that must be brought together in the creation of a computer game.

Visual Scripting

This module develops your introductory level skills in visual scripting using a contemporary game engine.

You consider the fundamentals of visual scripting including variables, functions and operators along with more advanced aspects such as player controllers and game modes. You use these concepts to implement gameplay functionality and interaction using a contemporary game engine.


Year 2 core modules

3D Graphics Programming

Essential algorithms and models used within interactive 3D computer graphics and animation are introduced in this module. It is useful for those interested in programming interactive visualisation applications such as computer games.

You will be able to design and implement applications capable of the visualisation and animation of a virtual 3D environment using C++, a graphics library such as OpenGL or Direct3D, and a shading language such as GLSL or HLSL.

Games Engine Construction

You will gain an in-depth view into the design of core computer game architectures and implementation using an Application Programming Interface and object oriented programming. You will develop your own computer game engine, which involves implementing and integrating computer game engine core systems eg graphics, simulation. Subsequently you will extend your existing C++ software engineering skills by integrating design patterns commonly used in game engine development.

You will be required to implement efficient C++ algorithms, both in terms of performance and memory use, and use profiling tools to inform your design choices and demonstrate knowledge of the underlying architecture.


You work in a team to produce a game experience within a current game engine. This provides you with experience of working within a production environment, and also with an opportunity to target specific production skills within your chosen field of study.

Network and Concurrency

You explore the area of networking protocols, their quality of services, and related APIs. You are also introduced to concurrent and distributed programming paradigms.

You tackle issues faced when developing a concurrent or distributed application, including security and synchronization. You explore suitable abstractions, such as design patterns, distributed objects models and architectures.

Case studies are used to illustrate the theory of this module with appropriate technologies, for example, distributed architectures for online games, cloud, AJAX.

Real-Time Simulation

You are introduced to the essential animation and simulation algorithms and mathematics used to program 3D virtual environments. It is useful for those interested in developing interactive applications such as computer games.

Emphasis is on the practical implementation of the topics covered. After completing this module, you will be able to design and implement algorithms to model the plausible motion of point masses within a 3D virtual environment.


Optional work placement year

Work placement

You have the option to spend one year in industry learning and developing your skills. We encourage and support you with applying for a placement, job hunting and networking.

You gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment, including communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Many employers view a placement as a year-long interview, therefore placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process. Benefits include:

· improved job prospects
· enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
· a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
· a better degree classification
· a richer CV
· a year's salary before completing your degree
· experience of workplace culture
· the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

If you are unable to secure a work placement with an employer, then you simply continue on a course without the work placement.


Final-year core modules

AI for Games Engines

You consider artificial intelligence (AI) and its application in computer games and explore advanced AI techniques.

Beta Arcade

You gain experience of working as a member of a games development team that is as close to industrial practice as possible. Beta Arcade simulates the working criteria and mix of development skills that are required to produce a polished prototype of a computer game concept which would be suitable for publication.

Game Programming Project

You undertake a large scale piece of work, supervised by a member of academic staff. You also produce a substantial computing artefact and compile a report and a viva with a presentation, demonstration and discussion of the artefact. You develop work-discipline and a professional outlook. You are responsible for the planning and execution and consider legal, social, ethical and professional issues. You explore a chosen subject and analyse, synthesise, and creatively apply what you have studied on the programme, demonstrating critical and evaluative skills and professional awareness.

Mobile and Gaming Devices

You expand your knowledge and skills of games programming, computer architecture and software development to include native development on mobile or gaming hardware. You build upon existing programming skills in C/C++ and knowledge of computing architecture and expand your games software programming skills, focusing on developing, analysing and optimising code for limited gaming devices.

Physics Simulation

You explore the physical laws and numerical methods necessary for the development and enhancement of physical realism in 3D games, and are introduced to new concepts such as rigid bodies, moment of inertia and soft body dynamics, with an emphasis on physics realism versus computation speed, stability and accuracy.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

It is essential for you to gain experience in being a programmer. Your modules use a combination of lecture sessions to study the theory, computer lab sessions to put theory into practice with tutor guidance, and controlled studio environments to practice your professional and teamwork skills.

In your second year you take part in our unique Journeyman module, highly praised by industry, in which all games art students work with games designers in a simulated game studio experience, outsourcing various essentials such as assets and animation to specialist teams. You work on games in Unreal and Unity to strict milestones in a scenario that is as close to industry practice as possible within an academic environment.

Learn using our industry-standard facilities including multiple games development labs, virtual reality lab, and state-of-art Vicon motion capture facilities.

How you are assessed

Our course focuses on the application of the knowledge and skills you acquire. Most of your modules require you to design and develop software to demonstrate your new abilities. Your assignments are set by your tutor and you work on them throughout the academic year whilst receiving valuable feedback to guide your work.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

96-112 points and either maths GCSE grade 4, Level 2 Key Skills (Application of Number) or Level 2 Functional Skills. We also accept alternative equivalent or higher level qualifications.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS tariff calculator. If your qualifications are not listed, contact our admissions team as we may accept alternatives.

We may also be able to help you meet the entry requirements through our Summer and Winter University modules.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

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

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

You are ideally suited for employment in the games development industry and similar creative industries. A variety of programming roles exist within these industries such as gameplay programmer, tools programmer, middleware developer and mobile application programmer. The course gives you a strong foundation in computer programming, also allowing for a career in mainstream software development.

Our graduates are highly sought after in the games industry securing roles in AAA studios across the country and the globe including Accenture, HMRC, Zerolight, Ubisoft, Creative Assembly, Double 11, Microsoft, Traveller's Tales and many more.


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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Professional accreditation

bcs Accredited Degree This degree has been accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), The Chartered Institute for IT.

Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by the BCS. An accredited degree entitles you to professional membership of the BCS, which is an important part of the criteria for achieving Chartered IT Professional status through the Institute. Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.

This course is recognised by ScreenSkills, the skills body for the UK’s screen-based industries. You are prepared for a career in the screen industries having completed a course carrying the ScreenSkills Select quality mark.

Other course routes

Foundation year

Study this course with a foundation year if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1.

BSc (Hons) Games Programming (with Foundation Year)

Work placement

Study this course with an optional work placement year, at no extra cost. Alongside this, you can gain valuable experience and engagement with the sector through our shorter work placements, internships and work experience opportunities.

Work placements


Entry to 2023/24 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£15,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: GGK6 BSc/GP
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



  • Not available part-time

Choose Teesside

  • Student and graduate profiles

    Opal Cadman

    Opal CadmanBSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming

    Middlesbrough is really student-focused, which made settling in so easy. And the gaming facilities are incredible.

    Meet Opal

    Tom Craven

    Tom CravenBSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming

    Tom works for Snapchat in Soho London.

    Meet Tom

  • Student work

    Computer Games showreel

    See some of the work our computer games students produce.

  • News

    Back from left, Derek Booth, of The Wired Lobby; Michael Harvey, of Constantine Media; Siobhan Fenton and Darren Abbott, from the University’s School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies. Front, Edwin Ford, of The Wired Lobby; Professor Chrisina Jayne, Dean of the University’s School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies. Partnership will support students interested in fast-growing esports industry
    Teesside University has signed a partnership to work closely with new esports venue The Wired Lobby, which will help to provide opportunities for gamers and games programmers to thrive in the booming esports industry.

    Read the full story

    Toby Cotton and Courtney Pattison, front, with other Double Eleven placement students Leading games studio helping students gain industry experience
    A leading games studio is helping to nurture the future careers of eleven talented Teesside University students.

    Read the full story

    New scholarship will help break down barriers to the animation and games industries
    Teesside University’s internationally renowned Animex festival is supporting a new scholarship to help students from under-represented groups to achieve a career in the animation or games industries.

    Read the full story

  • On video

    Animex 2022

    Animex 2022 round-up, our international festival of animation, VFX and games

    Women in Games

    Find out more about studying computer games at Teesside University


ExpoTees 2021 animation, visual effects and computer games showreel

Our ExpoSeries of events allow you to showcase your skills to industry professionals who are seeking to recruit new and rising talent.


Get in touch

UK students


Telephone: 01642 738801

Online chat (general enquiries)

International students


Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900

More international contacts


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