Heriot-Watt University
MDes Games Design and Development
Department of Computer Science
The Grid, HWU's Discovery Laboratory

MDes in Games Design and Development icon

The Master of Design teaches graduates with coding skills how to create digital games to industry standards in an open IT studio. Students learn the knowledge and skills to design and develop computer games as well as the entrepreneurial skills needed to launch and make a commercial success of them. A flexible, practical, student learning experience is fostered by tutorial interaction, design-led education, and business guidance.

The F2G1 full-time MDes programme starts in mid September and lasts one year. Admission requires a second class honours degree in a science, engineering or maths subject with software development as a major component or its academic equivalent. Familiarity with digital games is also essential.

MDes students take 3 courses in semester 1 and 3 courses in semester 2 and must take courses in bold.

Semester 1
F21GA 3D Graphics and Animation
H11EN Entrepreneurship and Creativity
F21GB Games Design and Pre-Production
F21SC Industrial Programming
Semester 2
F21AD Advanced Interaction Design
F21AS Advanced Software Engineering
H11EV Entrepreneurial Venturing
F21GC Games Production and Playtesting


After semester 2, students continue full time on the F21GD Masters Project in Games until the MDes ends in mid August.

Various schemes are available for financing study on this programme. Applications are made to the programme Admissions Officer at the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

English Requirements

Non-native English speakers are expected to be proficient in English at the CEF level of B2 (upper intermediate). This can be established by an IELTS Academic English score of 6.5 or in other ways. English language training courses can be taken at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh during the summer before postgraduate study begins.

Programme Requirements

To qualify for an MDes, students must successfully complete 6 courses at Masters level in semester 1 and 2. The assessment of the mandatory courses is 100% by coursework and of most course options is partly by exam and partly by coursework.

MDes students must also complete the F21GD MDes project at Masters level. It involves completing their computer game, submitting a report that reviews its design, evaluates its implementation, and plans its future commercial exploitation as well as publicly presenting the finished product.

Further Information

For further information on the programme or to arrange a visit to the Department contact the admissions officer.

The Department reserves the right to modify the list of courses and may not run every course every year. It may not be possible to take all combinations of courses, students must satisfy the prerequisites of any courses and any course choice must be made in consultation with the programme director.