MSc Commercial Games Development

Entry year
Course code
Computer Science and Creative Technologies
One year Full-time
Programme leader
Simon Scarle

This course is open for applications.

Page last updated 23 April 2020


A unique opportunity to gain advanced technical and research skills by working on live commercial projects within the PlayWest studio.

This Master's in Commercial Games Development provides students with an intellectual experience of study in the field of games technology. Developed and delivered by staff with both technical and games industry expertise, it is designed to meet the increasing shortage of technically adept games developers and programmers. The course also offers a unique pathway into the games industry and wider related research.

You will be engaged in advanced research and game development activities within PlayWest, UWE Bristol's in-house commercial games studio. Each member of the cohort plays their part in the development team according to his or her prior industry experience: those with more experience or a games-related degree will help guide the cohort as a senior developer, while others will take on the role of standard developer.

During the course, you will develop a portfolio of live commercial and technical projects, gaining practical experience, academic skills and a deeper awareness of commercial processes as you work in your dev-team.

A rich stream of live PlayWest research and development projects with industry partners that have previously included Rolls-Royce Aerospace and Bloodhound SSC, allows you to explore the use of games technology as well as virtual and augmented reality for real-world applications.

As well as giving equal weight to both the research component and the games development component, the course aims to establish an essential bridge between ground-breaking academic research and the entertainment software industry, each often overlooked or misunderstood by the other.

Industry-ready skills

By helping students form strong professional identities as developer-practitioners, graduates will be well prepared to step into roles within the games industry, academia and other emergent fields of games technology for the real world.

The degree provides an immersion into enterprise, cutting-edge technologies and practice. Along with practical skills, it gives students a thorough understanding of what is required to operate within a commercial entity and a game development team.

Unique study facilities

PlayWest is one of a group of Enterprise Studios at UWE Bristol created to give students opportunities to work on live and funded commercial projects whilst undergoing their study. The studio is involved in high-impact work with a growing list of exciting industry partners.

All principal members of the teaching team have AAA-studio experience.

The Games Technology subject area is part of "PlayStation First" program giving access to current PlayStation Dev-kits.



You will study the following compulsory modules over the course of a year:

  • Commercial Games Studio - In this module you will focus on the development of commercial entertainment software products in a real-world industry setting. It will involve working on commercial projects slated for release or stakeholder handover.
  • Games Research and Development - Immerse yourself in this rapidly moving stream of innovation and learn how to deploy new technologies across a range of contexts and emerging application areas. This module forms the basis of a portfolio providing an entry point to research and development within the Games industry and also to academic research and real-world application.
  • Creative Technology Dissertation - You will work independently to plan and manage a complex creative technology research project over an extended period of time, and complete it by a given deadline.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

The two taught modules will use collaborative game development techniques to help you develop both individual technical skills and advanced team working skills within your PlayWest dev-team.

Staff will be embedded in the activities acting as Technical Lead and Producer in PlayWest, leading teams and individuals under industry conditions.

You will use reflective video logs and streaming as effective industry and academic resources. Game jam learning will be used for producing prototypes, strengthening group dynamics and fostering continuing professional development and communities of practice.

For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

The MSc Commercial Games Development is offered as a full-time course over 12 months.

Two taught modules are spread across the first six to eight months, followed by a final 60-credit dissertation project.

You will be expected to attend two full contact days a week during the taught component of the course. The rest of the week is expected to be self-directed study time, with the recommendation that you work independently. If you are working on external client projects you will have access to the Foundry Collaboration space.


We will use a variety of assessment tools appropriate to the modules.

For the Commercial Games Studio module, you will submit a portfolio with group and individual vivas.

For the Games Research and Development module, assessment will be through video development logs, prototypes, industry standard documentation and a technical report in the style of a research paper.

For more detail, see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Study facilities

The course is run as though a development team within PlayWest, the University's in-house commercial games studio, on Frenchay campus.

Students will have the opportunity to work with PlayStation First hardware (PlayStation 4 and Vita), and across a growing range of virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.


Careers / Further study

As well as post-doctoral study and employment in PlayWest itself, the course prepares students for a diverse range of roles within games development (indie and AAA provision), visualisation, virtual and augmented reality, software provision, visual effects, and mobile and app development.

Whether students progress onto employment, academia or their own entrepreneurial enterprises, the course provides a useful and unique launchpad to future success.


Supplementary fee information

For information about funding for postgraduate course see our funding pages.


Entry requirements

We normally require an honours degree of 2.2 or above in Games Technology or similar technical discipline, with a substantial software development component.

We can consider applicants who do not meet the normal entry requirement, but who do have relevant professional experience or qualifications. In your application, you should describe in detail your professional experience and qualifications.

UWE Bristol's International College

International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.

For further information