Top five in the UK for standard of teaching and student satisfaction in Design and Crafts - Guardian League Table 2022)
If you want to become a skilled and professional game artist, our BA (Hons) Game Art degree develops the creative and technical skills you will need.
You’ll develop traditional art skills alongside cutting-edge digital artwork. Your studies will also explore professional and theoretical elements of the games industry.
The Game Art course includes professional live briefs, competitions, game jams and project collaborations with other courses such as Games Design and Computer Animation to design, develop and publish games for PC, console and mobile games.
Art and Design at USW is rated top in Wales for Teaching Quality and Student Experience (Times Good University Guide, 2022)
The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.
Year one - The Fundamental Year
We introduce core art skills such as drawing, sculpting, 3D modelling and texturing, before progressing to technical software. You’ll study comparative anatomy, architecture, environmental art and vehicle modelling through projects.
Year two - The Advanced Year
It allows you to take a pathway towards your preferred skill set. All modules include industry simulation of concept art, advanced modelling and sculpting, 3D printing, motion capture, competitions and live briefs.
Year three - The Professional Year
This is your year! Year three gives you space and direction to produce specialized portfolios and games which support your applications for studio jobs. You may want to create a start-up business or move into postgraduate study. Whatever you decide, we have the support and experience to benefit your decision.
Collaboration and team working are an important part of the Games Industry and we have a range of projects which allow you to work alongside students from other disciplines.
Guest speakers, Alumni and demonstrations are integral to the course and happen throughout the academic year.
Year one: Game Art degree
● Introduction to Game Art
● 2D and 3D Game Art Production
● Technical Studies
● Character and Creature Design and Modelling
● Visual Studies for Game Art
● Game Art Studies 1
Year two: Game Art degree
● Advanced 2D and 3D Game Art
● Professional Practice (Game Art)
● Practice Based Techniques
● Game Art Studies 2
Year three: Game Art degree
● Game Art Project 1 - Preproduction
● Game Art Project 2 - Development
● Commercial Project
● Future Ready
● Critical Research: Computer Games
Your practical work will be strengthened by taught modules in the culture and history of game-playing, which will give you a contextual background. There are also elements of business studies to ensure you have a thorough understanding of the industry and the computer games marketplace.
You will work on ‘Live’ projects with team pitches to industry studios. Studying through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops, you will also participate in group and individual project work; supervised independent learning; open and resource-based learning; e-learning and production practice.
You will be assessed 100% through coursework.
Tutors have many years' of experience in all areas of game art and have worked on projects for Codemasters, Pixologic, Allegorithmic, Disney, EA Games, Sega, Nickelodeon, Lego, The BBC and S4C amongst others.
Staff have successfully displayed work at the Tate, given lectures at Digital Art conferences, won BAFTAs and authored critical papers.
At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.
If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.
The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.
Applicants in the UK
Selection for this course is based on a suitable application and attendance at an interview with successful outcome. You may also be required to provide a portfolio of your work prior to attending interview where your course requires this, and full details of what is required will be provided once your application has been processed.
Applicants outside the UK
Selection for this course is based on a suitable application and submission of a portfolio of your work which the Course Leader confirms is suitable for an offer to be made.
BCC - CDD to include a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level with a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£100||
Drawing Equipment (required all academic years)
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£500 - £1500||
PC Hardware (required all academic years)
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£10 - £20||
Software (required all academic years). Cost is per month.
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£100||
Wacom Tablet (required all academic years)
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£60||
USB Hard drive (required all academic years)
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£50||
Grad Show materials in year 3
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£100||
Books (per year)
|Field Trips||£100 - £1000||
Extra curricular trips . (All academic years)
|Other: Misc. travel/ entry costs for visits||£0 - £100||
All academic years
If you've been invited for an interview for our Game Art degree in Cardiff, you will need to bring with you a portfolio of work.
So what should you include?
"Show your enthusiasm for art and games, and talk through any personal projects. We want to see your passion shine through," says Simon Reed, Course Leader.
-Aim to include a minimum of around 8-12 pieces.
-Put most recent and relevant work at the front. Work should show clear evidence of the logical progression of your ideas and creative ability.
-Demonstrate a range of design projects and drawing skills.
-Be prepared to talk these through with clarity, confidence and enthusiasm.
It’s fine to include work in progress, the development process of a project is just as important as the final ideas.
Try and show us a range of skills:
● Drawing - observational, figure, life drawing, landscape drawing, concept sketching or technical drawing.
● A range of 3D design, including model-making or product design, or sculpture. These can be photographed or documented in the portfolio as screenshot renders if too large to bring in.
● Experience of using computers and software - Photoshop and 3D modelling software would be desirable.
● An interest in game art and art in general, characters, graphic design, observational images and landscapes.
Bring sketch-books which show idea generation, drawings, personal and college projects. These can be any medium.
'Many people have a digital only portfolio. That's fine. We have facilities at the Atrium for your online work to be viewed, make sure you have a USB memory stick as a backup. Don't rely on your phone!'
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU.
The appetite for more visually realistic and imaginative games means that skilled and professional game artists are in demand in a number of areas including environment art, character art, concept design and vehicle production.
You will have the skills to work within game art, game design, animation, indie development and teaching.
Graduates have been employed at a range of cutting-edge computer game studios including Ubisoft, Creative Assembly, Rebellion, Codemasters, TT Games, Climax Games, Supermassive Games, Sega and Airship Images.
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.