Games Design and Development




Do you want to create your own games? Could you run your own games company?

NFTS Games aims to give you everything you need to make high-quality games across a range of styles, formats and platforms.

“There’s no other course with this kind of approach.” Graduate Ana Ribeiro, creator of Pixel Ripped.

The two-year MA course has an ‘games innovation’ ethos, giving you the opportunity to create complete games in a unique environment, collaborating with students from across the School – from composers and sound designers to marketing and distribution students – learning not only how to create games, but how to release them and promote them across indie games and Triple-A.

The course covers practical knowledge of games software development and provides the ability to experiment with evolving technologies and techniques. Every student gets access to high-spec gaming systems and related tools. They work on both solo and group projects, with plenty of opportunities to experiment, innovate and excel – with all production costs for development met by the School.

We welcome students from a range of backgrounds – recent students have included a neuroscientist, a kickboxing instructor and a copy-writer – all you need is a passion for games, a creative spark and a willingness to learn new skills. Games development experience is welcome, but by no means essential.

Students also have the opportunity to develop industry contacts through events and visits from professionals and experts.

Find out more on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

All NFTS students can attend Masterclasses. Recent guests include David Fincher (Fight Club), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Ben Wheatley (Free Fire), Rapman (Blue Story), Louis Theroux, Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Denis Villeneuve (Bladerunner 2049), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Sam Mendes (1917), Asif Kapadia (Senna), Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), Russell T Davies (Doctor Who) and Alex Garland (Enslaved: Odyssey To The West).

This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

Recent credits and successes

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2021 graduation game CoVRt Operation was one of three games selected in the 2021 GSA BAFTA Student Award's brand new Games category. Read more about how Guy Sargent created the VR narrative heist/adventure game here.

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Pixel Ripped, which started life as student Ana Ribeiro's graduation game, was released in 2018 on Oculus, HTC Vive and PS VR. Full story here.

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“Thanks to the NFTS I am able to confidently step out into the industry as a professional Games Designer and Developer.” Tim Kaufmann just graduated from the NFTS Games Design and Development MA in February 2019 and landed a job in the industry as a Developer at Factory 42. 

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“I received so much help when applying for jobs, how to network, and gained a huge list of contacts that will be useful for years to come.” Hannah Burdett graduated from the NFTS Games Design and Development MA in February 2019 and landed a job as a Junior Project Manager for games company Scary Beasties

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“The Games course really has changed my life and helped me pursue a career I have been interested in since I was a child.” Daisy Fernandez graduated from the NFTS Games Design and Development MA in February 2019 and landed a job in the industry as a Game Designer and Generalist at games development company, State of Play.

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“I would recommend this course because quite simply it's contributed to two of the best years of my life so far!” David Cecil just graduated from the NFTS Games Design and Development MA in February 2019 and already landed a job in the industry as a Technical Designer at VR and AR Studio, Dream Reality Interactive (DRI). David is not alone – a fantastic 90% of this year’s Games Design graduates are already working in the industry! Full story here.

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NFTS Games Design and Development MA graduate, Daisy Fernandez, has won the 2019 Rising Star - Development Award at the MCV Women in Games Awards - full story here.

What you will study

The video games industry is continually innovating and evolving, and new platforms and technologies have created fantastic opportunities for technical invention and artistic innovation. This course provides the practical skills and creative knowledge to design, devise and build games, from inception to delivery. We strive to develop the creative leadership necessary to become a leading innovator and practitioner within the industry.

Students work alongside film, television and animation practitioners, developing creative and technical skills in games design, code, art, animation, production, audio and interface. The NFTS is a uniquely creative environment, enabling students to benefit from numerous collaborative opportunities across our production studios. 

In the first year students undertake a series of set projects – both group and solo – during which they also learn core games development disciplines of design, art, animation, coding and production. The modules and workshops cover 3D modelling/animation, game programming (C#/Unity), game design, character creation, producing and project management. In the second year students focus on their Final Major Project, working with students from other disciplines. 

Download programme specification (PDF)

Download course outline (PDF)

Head of Department

Head of Games is Alan Thorn, a multidisciplinary game developer, author and educator with 17 years Industry experience

Current or Recent Tutors

Mike Bithell (Creator of Thomas Was Alone), Jess Curry (The Chinese Room), Phil Harrison (formerly of Sony Computer Entertainment and Microsoft Game Studios), Imre Jele (Co-founder of Bossa Studios), Richard Lemarchant (Formerly of Naughty Dog), Barry Mead (Fireproof Games) and Siobhan Reddy (Co-founder of Media Molecule. Credits include LittleBigPlanet).

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home Fees:  £14,800 per year 

International Fees (including EU nationals): £26,000 per year 

These are the fees for January 2023 intake.

Please note:

EU nationals who have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme may be eligible for “Home Fees”, subject to meeting the residency requirements. (You need to be  ordinarily resident in the UK or EEA for 3 years prior to the start of your course).  

The NFTS has £900,000 of scholarships and bursaries available.

There is a compulsory, non-refundable £25 application fee for each MA application. A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place. 

All production costs are included in the course fees, including the use of School facilities and equipment. Students are expected to provide their own laptops. The School makes a contribution towards the travel, accommodation and accreditation for students attending the Develop conference in Brighton and EGC in Brmingham and students are also expected to contribute to the costs. Students will be expected to pay for their travel for non-compulsory off-campus events.

The NFTS is committed to ensuring it is open to students of genuine ability, no matter what their background or financial circumstances. We don’t want anybody to be put off applying for a place at the NFTS because of the cost, which is why we award more scholarships and bursaries to British students, relative to the size of our student body, than almost any other educational institution in the UK. 

At the NFTS you will get far more time learning directly from tutors, in real production facilities and on real projects, than in the vast majority of film schools or universities – and we won’t charge you extra for the cost of productions or materials. The specialist nature of our courses mean that our students gain the relevant skills and experience they need to go straight into the industry.


For their final year projects, all students create a game of their own design from scratch.


Entry requirements

Games design and development students at the NFTS come from a wide range of backgrounds and prior experiences, and have demonstrated an excitement, aptitude, creativity and willingness to learn new skills. We actively seek a diverse and interesting group of people who have something new to bring into the games development fold. Successful applicants have come to us with previous qualifications from across the arts, sciences and humanities; and from all walks of life as far as profession and practice is concerned. Games development experience is welcome, but by no means essential.

While many applicants will have a degree from a British or overseas university, we will consider applicants who do not have a degree if they have an impressive portfolio, a creative track record or an alternative qualification.

For international students, more information about our entry requirements, including Visa and English language requirements, can be found on our What You Need To Know section of our Students From Abroad page. 

If you have any questions, please email

How to apply

Application deadline: 08 Sep 2022

Applicants must complete the online application form and submit the following supporting material:

  • A digital portfolio of your creative work presented online (Send us a link to your YouTube videos or a Google Shared Folder or a personal website). This may show sketches, illustrations, animations, sample games, design documents, and others. The purpose is to showcase your creative skills.

You can apply online by clicking on BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION below. We are happy to receive applications at any time up until the midnight of the application deadline date.

Begin your application