Postgraduate MSc

Games and Extended Reality

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Attendance

Full-time

Part-time

Course

One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2023

Introduction

In a nutshell

Are you looking for a path into the exciting and rapidly evolving area of gaming and XR?

This programme provides you with the skills and knowledge to break into this new and exciting field, becoming one of the key innovators that will shape its future. The focus of this course is on the creative application of immersive and extended reality technologies to a wide range of design contexts. This is a rapidly evolving field, with applications as diverse as engineering, architecture, heritage, medicine and education. 

In particular, the growth of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality applications, grouped under the umbrella term of ‘Extended Reality’ (XR), is driving to radical transformations in the production and consumption of digital media products. As leading brands such as Facebook (now Meta), Microsoft, Apple and Google all align into this direction, the surge of new XR products and experiences will redefine the ways in which we interact with the people and the world around us. This explosive growth is substantially increasing in the demand for professionals with the creative and technical skills to lead the way. 

Find out more by signing up to an upcoming Open Day, or if you have any generic questions please contact course enquiries.

You will:

  • explore and gain an in-depth knowledge and skills on the technologies that are shaping the future
  • be part of an active and vibrant learning community that will boost your creative, technical and entrepreneurial skills
  • have access to a range of cutting-edge technologies and equipment that will turn you into a confident and capable developer
  • be guided by an enthusiastic team of active practitioners and leading scholars in games and XR
  • develop contacts and relationships with leading industries in Manchester, a city leading the next wave of innovation in the UK and Worldwide
International

students accepted

Course details

All about the course

The programme will be delivered across three trimesters using a combination of practical workshops, lectures and tutorials. Through practical and theoretical modules, you will gain the confidence and in-depth understanding of the technologies and techniques used in game and XR production while acquiring the critical skills to become the innovators able to shape the future of this new field. 

See below for module details. 

The details below outline the structure for full time. 

Part time delivery would be spread across two years. 

Trimester one

Games and XR Lab I

In this module, you will become familiar and develop expertise with game engines, asset production and coding. You will develop your skills in 3D modelling and visualization, acquiring practical skills in industry-standard techniques and pipelines for the production of 3D assets and environments. You will also be introduced to the latest technologies used for immersive visualisation, such as motion capture, photogrammetry and PBR texturing. 

Creative Research Methods

This module will lead you to become a creative reflective practitioner, capable of proposing innovative solutions to complex problems using ludic and immersive development pipelines. Through selected readings, seminars and guest lectures, you will gain a thorough understanding of the main debates surrounding the fields of creative gaming and XR.  

Trimester two

Games and XR Lab II

In this module, you will develop your expertise in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality design and development. You will start by working with Web XR, moving to more complex projects using game engines such as Unity and Unreal. You will also have the opportunity to produce social VR environments evaluating current frameworks for implementing immersive spaces for social interactions. 

Project Research and Proposal

In this module, you will apply your skills to designing a solution for a real-world problem. This proposal will form the basis for your final project in Semester 3. 

Trimester three

Final Project

In this module you will develop your project proposal. This project will provide you with the opportunity to critically engage in an action-research project, applying your skills to respond to a defined research problem. The outcome of this project will be discussed with your supervisor, who will help you define your research questions, methodology and support needed. This project will allow you to develop an original piece of practice-based research demonstrating an advance degree of specialist knowledge. 

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?

70%

Practical projects

30%

Written assessments

Teaching 

Based in our campus at Mediacity, this course uses a range of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, practical workshops, seminars and tutorials (group and individual). In combination, these methods will progressively build your situated understanding of technical, theoretical and practical topics, developing your professional identity and specialism. 

Independent learning 

At a Master level, it is expected a degree of self-direction and independent pursuit. Tutors will guide you through complex topics, encouraging you to take ownership of your process and decisions. 

Assessment

Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark. 

BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY

This course is delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.  

Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.  

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it. 

FACILITIES

Our MediaCity and Peel Park facilities are industry-standard, so much so that they are used by our industry partners themselves. 

When you study with us on this Creative Games and XRs course, you’ll learn from our experienced tutors and demonstrators, who’ll teach you how to use our facilities. These include: 

  • Digital labs – use the latest XR equipment in an space especially designed for virtual and augmented reality development. 

  • Fabrication labs - bring your designs to life using 3D scanners and printers, power tools and a range of art and craft materials.   

  • Computer Suites and Editing Studios – our computer suites are equipped with the latest industry-standard software. You’ll learn from our experienced demonstrators, who’ll teach you the skills needed to turn your concepts into a reality. 

  • Green screen facilities - these allow you to create effects such as those you see on weather reports and incorporates a camera system and 3D graphics software.   

  • Equipment stores - we have a fully equipped equipment store available for you to use in your projects. 

Explore our Creative Digital Media and Gaming facilities at the University of Salford.

ACADEMIC STAFF

Dr Juan Hiriart is an artist, programmer, digital designer and lecturer with more than twenty years of professional experience in various creative industries. He started his professional career working in the film and animation industries, later specialising in game design and development. As an academic, Dr Hiriart has developed and taught in a range of digital design and creative technology courses at undergrad and master levels. In this master, he teaches on the modules Games and XR lab I-II and Final Project. 

His research interests lie in the intersections between serious and critical gaming, digital heritage, and education. His current research focuses on developing participative and ethical design frameworks for historical game design and, more generally, the use of XR and game technologies in contexts where they can promote positive social change. He is also interested in digital storytelling, the design of affective and empathic user interfaces and creative design research methods. 

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Graduates from this programme will find professional opportunities in games design and development, XR development, instructional design and software engineering. Graduates will have access to a wide spectrum of roles in the public and corporate sectors, all of which are searching for individuals with specialised knowledge and skills on this rapidly evolving field. As the adoption of gaming and XR technologies continue to increase, professionals with the creative and technical skills on this type of development will be in high demand in sectors including but not limited to retail and fashion, healthcare, workforce training and real estate. 

Entrepreneurial endeavor is also a potential avenue for graduates, who will be supported to start start-ups and new business. 

A taste of what you could become

A games designer

An XR developer

A software engineer

And more...

Career Links

This postgraduate degree course benefits from established partnerships and links with creative industries in the UK, which have been working with us at several levels, ranging from guest lecturers, live briefs, placement opportunities and extra-curricular activities. These include the BBC, Matmi New Media, Trunk Manchester, Yippee Entertainment and Carbon Digital, among others. 

Requirements

What you need to know

This is an interdisciplinary course open to students from a wide range of backgrounds, however, a previous academic or industry experience in any of the following disciplines would be beneficial: game design and development, 3D art and animation, game programming, digital media, and computing science. 

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

A relevant undergraduate degree, normally at 2:1 or above, and supporting evidence of digital/games design experience. 

 

For International students

If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5. We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2023/24 £8,550per year
Full-time international 2023/24 £15,750per year

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for International Students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2023