The Bachelor's Programme in Game Design programme gives you the tools to work with the game medium on a professional level and equips you to develop new experiences in the field. Former students have gone on to run their own studios or work at some of the world’s best known game studios.
You’ll study at Uppsala University’s Campus Gotland, located in Visby on the Baltic island of Gotland, Sweden – the best-preserved Medieval city in Scandinavia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Campus Gotland is an environment characterised by close proximity between professors and students.
Numerous profiles from the game industry and higher education have given the programme high praise: “This game design programme is one of the best that I have seen, particularly the polymorphous approach to design. The code is only as good as the player experience, and this shows. Also, there is a political approach that inflects design that gives many of us hope for a mature and complex industry of the future.” – Prof. Derek A. Burrill
Why this programme?
The Bachelor's Programme in Game Design alternates between theoretical courses and project based courses, where skills and theories are applied in practice. In the first year, you will take two programme-specific Game Design courses. During the project based courses, you will produce games in collaboration with students from the international Game Design programmes in graphics, programming and project management. Since the project courses effectively model the challenges that must be faced when working in a diverse team of creative, artistic, organisational and technical individuals, the programme provides a continuous opportunity to test your skills and knowledge in realistic scenarios. In the second year, you will specialise within a minor subject of your choosing. Project courses, as well as the theoretical courses, trains you in academic and writing as preparation for the degree project that concludes your third year.
The game design courses start from the basics and will after the first term lead to a small game development project, after which the education and the projects increase in complexity and size. The game design courses teach prototyping, documenting, communicating, narrative, game systems and game analysis.
The Department of Game Design currently has cooperation agreements with four institutions in Tokyo and Erasmus-agreements with the university in Riga as well as Université d’Angers for the purpose of student exchange. A cooperation agreement with the University of Silesia, Poland, will soon be established. In addition to this, Uppsala University has a wealth of cooperation agreements, providing numerous exchange programmes.
In 2014, the Department of Game Design joined the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, a gathering of mainly North American higher game development educations where both education and research and industry questions are on the agenda.
The programme leads to a Bachelor of Arts with Game Design as the main field of study.
Name: Emilia Daniels From: Norrköping Programme: The Bachelor Programme in Game Design
How did you choose your programme?
– I had heard about the programme from a couple of friends that attended earlier, and they were so satisfied with the programme and their education that I got interested myself. I’ve also always liked gaming so I thought it would suit me!
What is the best thing about studying at Uppsala University Campus Gotland?
– Meeting so many new people from all over the place, especially now with the international students! I also love Visby, it’s such a nice place to live in.
Describe what a normal day is like for you?
– We have lectures in the mornings and when all the classes are done I often stay behind with the group I’m currently in to work on some project. The most recent one was to make a “shoot ‘em up” game. As a designer, I try to make sure that what we do as we work holds up to our creative intention, and make sure that we work on every detail. After that, I would go back home and do some work alone.
What is something unique about your programme?
– I think the fact that we work so independently in groups is something unique, and the fact that the programme focuses a lot on actual practical work like making games, instead of just reading about them.
What is your reason for studying and your ultimate goal?
– My reason for studying is to constantly improve myself, and to study something that I find interesting. My ultimate goal would be to work as a game designer at a studio.
Describe student life / What is your best experience so far?
– It’s a lot of hard work, but in the end, it’s always worth it. I think finishing a project and feeling happy with what you and your group created is a great experience!
Three Quick Questions What is the best thing about Visby as a city?
– Everything inside the City Wall is so cosy and I haven’t had a single bad experience from the city since coming here.
What is your favourite student tradition at Uppsala University?
– Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to experience any yet.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
– I see myself working as a game designer at a studio somewhere!
The programme comprises three years of full time studies where the major subject Game Design is read alongside the minor subject you choose yourself in the second year. Both theoretical and practical courses in Game Design are read together with the international programmes within Game Design.
Game Design makes up 105 credits out of the total 180 credits. Your chosen minor subject makes up at least 30 credits.
Courses within the programme
Semester 1 Game Design 1 – Introduction, 15 credits Test Driven Game Design 1, 15 credits Semester 2 Game Design 2 – Game Development, 7.5 credits Game Production 1 – Arcade Game, 15 credits Test Driven Game Design 2, 7.5 credits Semester 3 Game Design 3 – System Design, 15 credits Chosen Minor Subject, 15 credits Semester 4 Game Design 4 – Serious Game Design, 7.5 credits Chosen Minor Subject or optional courses, 7.5 credits Game Production 2 – Vertical Slice, 15 credits
Semester 5 Optional courses*, 30 credits *within major, minor or other subject, alternatively studies abroad.
Semester 6 Game Design 5 – Theory and Method, 7.5 credits Game Design 6 – Experimental Game Design, 7.5 credits Degree Project, 15 credits
The programme is offered in Visby, a town on the island of Gotland. Instruction is in English.
The theoretical courses within game design are taught through lectures, workshops and smaller projects. The majority of the courses contain group projects.
Students will take one or two project courses each year, in which students work with their specific role in groups to produce complete games. During these courses, the teaching takes the shape of guidance and tutoring.
The Bachelor's Programme in Game Design prepares students theoretically and practically for a professional career within the game design industry, in companies, organisations, public authorities or as a business owner.
One of the strengths of the programme is its well-developed connections with the game industry, and the programme's former students make up an especially useful network. At annual events, notable individuals from the international game industry, former students and academics are invited to judge student projects and share their experience. This provides an excellent opportunity for students to build their own contact network for the career ahead of them.
Former students have gone on to become both business owners running their own studios, and employees at some of the most successful game studios both within and outside of Sweden. Notable examples where former students have found work include Blizzard Entertainment, Massive Entertainment, Starbreeze Studios, Crytek, Fatshark, Frictional Games, Ubisoft, Avalanche, Lionhead, CCP, DICE and Might and Delight. A number of former students also work within the Swedish higher education sector, teaching and running courses and programmes with the field of game design.
The game industry is the largest and fastest growing business in the entertainment industry. It is in continuous development, which leads to a large demand for a broad spectrum of creative professionals with game development as the common denominator. In addition to the expansion within the entertainment industry, games are increasingly used within education, training and medicine, under the name Serious Games.
After completing the programme, students will be able to continue their studies at the MA-level in or outside of Sweden.
Voices from three alumni "The game design education at UU equipped me with an indispensable understanding of the framework of both trust and craftsmanship that is inter-disciplinary collaboration. It offered a comprehensive overview of the development process of interactive media while also letting me build my personal portfolio. It has been an instrumental piece in my success in the game industry both as an artist and manager." - Nicodemus Mattisson, Concept Art Director at Virtuos
"I think that the time on Gotland was an excellent opportunity to make my first contacts in the industry. All the founders of Toadman started their journey on Gotland. The chance to spend years to immerse oneself in game development and to meet like-minded people is invaluable.” - Robin Flodin, CEO at Toadman Interactive
"Visby is a wonderful place to study at with an great environment and where your classmates become family. If you ever lack inspiration you could just take a walk through the charming medieval town and along the harbour to recharge and gather new ideas and thoughts. During my studies I participated in many game development events where students got to meet developers from the industry. I believe networking today could be as important as having a strong portfolio when it comes to getting a job in the industry today. " - Lisa Wackenhuth Svanström, 3D Artist at Star Stable Entertainment