This is a degree in world-making. You craft stories, characters and plot in order to build imaginary worlds that a player can journey through. Our work is driven by creativity and imagination as well as technical excellence; at Essex you master both game design and computer programming, giving you total control over the worlds you want to create.
Our course gives you the skills to design and specify complex, non-trivial games through focusing on the following areas:
- The mechanics of a game, including gameplay elements and the relationship with story
- The concepts and techniques of computer game programming
- Real and virtual worlds
- Artificial intelligence behaviours for non-player characters
- 2D and 3D graphic effects and game objects (e.g. weapon systems)
At the end of your course, you will be able to create the outline design specification for a computer game of your own design, and to implement a game using industry-standard techniques.
Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. Today’s computer scientists are creative people who are focused and committed, yet restless and experimental. We are home to many of the world’s top scientists, and our work is driven by creativity and imagination as well as technical excellence.
More than two-thirds of our research rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014).
Both for entertainment and for more serious purposes such as virtual reality training, computer games, gamification and games intelligences are increasingly important in today’s world.
Programming at Essex
Teaching someone to programme is about opening a door. In your first year at Essex you will study a module that introduces you to programming using Python. We assess your ability to think in a programmatic way in the very first week of term and if you require additional support, we offer classes which will boost your skills and confidence with programming.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement with an external organisation, as part of one of our placement year degrees. The learning outcomes associated with this programme focus on using the specialist technical skills acquired in the first two years of the course and developing communications skills with customers.
Students are provided with support to secure a placement. Recent placements undertaken by our students have been with ARM, Microsoft, Intel, Nestlé, British Aerospace, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, as well a range of SME software and hardware companies.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
The University of Essex was the birthplace of the ‘virtual world’. Multi-User Dungeons (MUD) – multi-player, real-time virtual worlds – were created by our students, including Richard Bartle, who still teaches Computer Games here today. Richard was also included in Geek.com’s list of the most influential game developers of all time.
Our research staff also includes Dr Adrian Clark, who works on computer graphics and augmented reality.
- We have six laboratories that are exclusively for computer science and electronic engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress
- All computers are dual boot Windows 10 and Linux. Apple Mac Computers are dual boot MacOS and Windows 10
- Software includes Java, Prolog, C++, Perl, Mysql, Matlab, DB2, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and Project
- Students have access to CAD tools and simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (OMNet++)
- We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robotics, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors.
We have many graduates in senior positions in the computer communications industry, as well recent graduates working in IT and computer companies. An incredible 92% of our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020).
Our department has a large pool of external contacts, ranging from companies providing robots for the media industry, through vehicle diagnostics, to the transforming of unstructured data to cloud-based multidimensional data cubes, who work with us and our students to provide advice, placements and eventually graduate opportunities. Read more about computer science and electronic engineering career destinations here.
Our recent graduates have gone on to secure impressive roles, including as a Java/Actionscript Developer for Playtech and as an Associate Software Developer for Sky.
We also work with our University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- You join a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development.
- We are home to many of the world’s top scientists and engineers in their field.
- 92% of our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020).
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Courses are taught by a combination of lectures, laboratory work, assignments, and individual and group project activities
- Group work
- A significant amount of practical lab work will need to be undertaken for written assignments and as part of your learning
- You are assessed through a combination of written examinations and coursework
- All our modules include a significant coursework element
- You receive regular feedback on your progress through in-term tests
- In your first year, you will have exams before the start of term in January