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Only 5 percent of game design degrees accredited

Only 5 percent of game design degrees accredited

Of over 81 game development courses in the UK, only four are accredited. How did you find your course at University?

It's long been known to followers of the computer games industry that the UK doesn't hold the same sway that it used to, but according to the BBC we may now know why - a lack of proper courses for professionals.

In a survey of game development courses in the UK, the BBC found that there were a healthy 81 available courses centered around computer game development...but that only 4 of them were accredited courses.

The survey comes fresh on the heels of an outcry from the computer games industry in the UK, which claims that the UK government is not doing enough to support it compared to other arts businesses such as film. There's also a serious worry that graduates from all these 81 courses are not being properly equipped with the fundamental skills required to work in computer game development.

David Braben, creator of Elite! and chairman for the Games Up? campaign which is seeking to highlight the skills shortage in the UK put it bluntly, sayin "95% of video gaming degrees are simply not fit for purpose. Without some sort of common standard, like Skillset accreditation, these degrees are a waste of time for all concerned."

"We are facing a serious decline in the quality of graduates looking to enter the industry," continued Braben. "The death of maths, physics and computer science graduates is hitting us hard."

Comments from the BBC story are also quite interesting and eye-opening, with lecturers claiming that the problem lies in finding out what skills and tools the industry requires graduates to be skilled in.

Are you looking to get in to game design, or have you studied one of these course? If so, we'd love to hear from you so drop us a line in the forums.

22 Comments

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badders 19th June 2008, 11:28 Quote
Quote:
"The death of maths, physics and computer science graduates is hitting us hard."

Sounds like an epidemic.

Seriously though, it is a pity. Lack of accreditation could mean that talented people with original ideas are not getting jobs in the industry, and fading away into obscurity - trying to do indie games whilst holding down a McJob.

How come universities can offer non-accredited courses? Surely they're not worth the paper the certificate is printed on?
cjoyce1980 19th June 2008, 11:48 Quote
I did an accredit computing science degree (BSC) but every computer game job i when to they said they were really looking for graduates with a computer games programming degree.....

so from my point of you, the industry want games based degrees, not computer scienists... and now they want my sort again... talk about crying wolf and blaming universities.

industry wanted these student so its there fail for not activity getting involved with the university to get the skill set they want. Rare have a strong link with Derby Uni, so maybe they should take a leaf out of there book.
Flibblebot 19th June 2008, 11:56 Quote
Accredited by whom, exactly?
CardJoe 19th June 2008, 11:58 Quote
The governments chosen independant regulation body,
Timmy_the_tortoise 19th June 2008, 12:30 Quote
Quote:
The death of maths, physics and computer science graduates is hitting us hard

Sorry if this is stupid.. But how is a physics degree going to help Video Game development? It's not like physics students learn any programming languages or even necessarily how to use a computer properly..
Bauul 19th June 2008, 12:30 Quote
Yay that's my Management School building! Ah brings back memories....

By the way, you've misquoted the guy from Games Up? He didn't say the "The death of maths, physics and computer science..." he said "The dearth of maths, physics and computer science..." which isn't quite as bad. As badders pointed out, the way you quoted it sounds like the graduates are all just spontaniously dying in their sleep.

Lol, sounds like a bad M. Night Shalymanananananan film.
diasam 19th June 2008, 12:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
Quote:
The death of maths, physics and computer science graduates is hitting us hard

Sorry if this is stupid.. But how is a physics degree going to help Video Game development? It's not like physics students learn any programming languages or even necessarily how to use a computer properly..

Physics degree is VERY useful in game development. See how Crysis have amazing physics? Could that be achieved by normal programmers alone who have no idea on physics? No. It's the collaboration between physics graduates and programmers that makes the physics engine. That's why they're needed in the industry, and they're in high demand.
DougEdey 19th June 2008, 12:41 Quote
The article doesn't state which four courses though...
karolis 19th June 2008, 13:34 Quote
I'm not aware of any problems surrounding university degrees in computer science, but i just finished my a-levels,one of them being computing. And i must say, the situation there is terrible. the syllabus is outdated, and people who write the questions seem to have no knowledge in current computer industry whatsoever. The exam is, essentially, indentical to last years, which in turn was a copy of the one the year before, and so on..

Now as i said, i'm not aware of the situation in university courses, and games design courses, but i wouldn't be surprised if the same plaque has hit them too.
RollingRemains 19th June 2008, 15:21 Quote
Where are the accredited courses run?
Jordan Wise 19th June 2008, 16:27 Quote
yeah i'd like to hear which ones are seeing as i'm aiming to go to Newcastle for such a course
[PUNK] crompers 19th June 2008, 16:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Wise
yeah i'd like to hear which ones are seeing as i'm aiming to go to Newcastle for such a course

+1

im thinking of starting leeds in sept so any further information would be great
RollingRemains 19th June 2008, 17:05 Quote
I am finishing my 3rd year placement, and off to do my final year at LJMU in sep.

bitlate to realise realy. :(
Timmy_the_tortoise 19th June 2008, 22:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by diasam
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
Quote:
The death of maths, physics and computer science graduates is hitting us hard

Sorry if this is stupid.. But how is a physics degree going to help Video Game development? It's not like physics students learn any programming languages or even necessarily how to use a computer properly..

Physics degree is VERY useful in game development. See how Crysis have amazing physics? Could that be achieved by normal programmers alone who have no idea on physics? No. It's the collaboration between physics graduates and programmers that makes the physics engine. That's why they're needed in the industry, and they're in high demand.

Hmm... I suppose that makes a lot of sense...

Would my Physics A-Level help? I know basic Mechanics and particle physics. :P
Mr_Wade 20th June 2008, 16:02 Quote
I've seen these so called "Games Design" courses and they are awful. Their only requirements are tariff points and they claim to be able to teach you both modelling and programming in the space of THREE years. I feel sorry for these guys that are doing them because I don't believe that they will be hirable and their degree will just end up being a waste of time and money.

If people are looking for a good university in the UK for video game related courses then I highly suggest The University of Derby. I've been accepted onto the 4 year 3d modelling and animation course for video games. There's also a five year course for computer game programming for those that would do that. I am not sure on the course specific requirements for programming but Art was a must for those wanting to do modelling.

Their video game courses only take 25 students each per year though but the quality is second to none. These courses were created by the industry and are taught by industry proffessionals- their computer labs are a testament to this fact; they have spent thousands upon thousands on ensuring students are equipped with the SDK's for the current gen consoles and on ensuring the equipment you use is always up to date.

Honestly I think that these universities offering up these "games design" degrees do it to attract those who wouldn't normally go into higher education.
Brulath 22nd June 2008, 02:55 Quote
Quote:
"We are facing a serious decline in the quality of graduates looking to enter the industry,"
I'm quite surprised nobody has mentioned it yet, but this is the core issue from what I can gather. All of the news stories I've read about this particular topic have had comments that surround the issue that game development companies in the United Kingdom simply pay horrendous wages so nobody is actually looking to enter the industry, because they can get better paying jobs elsewhere. When you compare the pay, benefits, vacation time and job security of a job in the game industry versus a job elsewhere a qualified individual is entirely unlikely to seek out the game development one.

They're just trying to get a flood of people with the required skill-set that are willing to work for pittance trained, rather than simply paying better wages and utilising the people that are already trained but too smart to settle for bad treatment. From what I gather you don't even need a "Game Design" degree to acquire the required skill-set for the vast majority of the technical tasks.

They're their own worst enemy and are resorting to abusing the media to try and get cheap labour; don't let them :)
CardJoe 22nd June 2008, 11:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Wade
I've seen these so called "Games Design" courses and they are awful. Their only requirements are tariff points and they claim to be able to teach you both modelling and programming in the space of THREE years. I feel sorry for these guys that are doing them because I don't believe that they will be hirable and their degree will just end up being a waste of time and money.

If people are looking for a good university in the UK for video game related courses then I highly suggest The University of Derby. I've been accepted onto the 4 year 3d modelling and animation course for video games. There's also a five year course for computer game programming for those that would do that. I am not sure on the course specific requirements for programming but Art was a must for those wanting to do modelling.

Their video game courses only take 25 students each per year though but the quality is second to none. These courses were created by the industry and are taught by industry proffessionals- their computer labs are a testament to this fact; they have spent thousands upon thousands on ensuring students are equipped with the SDK's for the current gen consoles and on ensuring the equipment you use is always up to date.

Honestly I think that these universities offering up these "games design" degrees do it to attract those who wouldn't normally go into higher education.

Hm. Personally I'd wary of Derby. I don't know about their games courses, but I chose them as my 'safe' choice on my UCAS and they rung me up personally to extend an unconditional offer in any of the courses I was applying for. Given that my predicted grades were pretty poor (though I did well in the end), it just smacked of desperation to me. Another friend of mine mine messed up her UCAS application and could only get accepted there as well - she didn't seem impressed with the University or the course.

But, m'eh - different courses have different standards and I'm sure it warrants closer investigation. Congrats on your acceptance.
Coldon 22nd June 2008, 11:44 Quote
if you go to a private college/institution offering a "Degree" (most likely a diploma) its your own fault if its not accredited, did any of those graduates even bother checking if their institution was accredited?

If you look at a place like gameversity.com, they offer a game dev qualification based on what? a c++ course and a d3d course and a basic maths course? thats a joke. I've got a bsc in computer science (form the university of pretoria), i've also completed 3 years of computer engineering before i changed major and am now doing my honors with an artificial intelligence specialization. I can apply for any IT job with the security of knowing i have a proper degree behind my name.

The earlier statement that industry didn't want computer science graduates is ridiculous, where in those game dev courses do they teach software architecture, basic algorithmics, touch on functional and other forms of languages, handle most than just linear algebra 101? in my degree program i did 4 calculas courses, 2 linear algebra, 2 discrete systems course, a numerical analysis course, a mathematical modelling course, a differential equations course and a stochastic processes course, not to mention 2 stats modules... having a good mathematical/statistical basis is more important than a course in D3D openGL.

Any monkey can use an API, being able to think is the skill...
Mr_Wade 22nd June 2008, 23:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldon
if you go to a private college/institution offering a "Degree" (most likely a diploma) its your own fault if its not accredited, did any of those graduates even bother checking if their institution was accredited?

you've missed the point of this article. The point is there aren't ENOUGH accredited courses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
But, m'eh - different courses have different standards and I'm sure it warrants closer investigation. Congrats on your acceptance.

thanks and yes you're right different courses do have different standards, I'm not sure what their other departments are like but Derby was one of the only UK universities that was featured in video game publications and video game careers sites, that and how blown away by how professional they were at the open day I went to made me choose them. Their development studio is outstanding.
DarkReaper 23rd June 2008, 14:38 Quote
I'd think that might be supposed to read "dearth" rather than "death".

Either way, I'm on track for a physics degree so I'm not worried. Yay for not graduating into a saturated market!
Trevelyan 29th July 2008, 12:13 Quote
I just checked skillset.org. There are four courses that are "skillset approved" but nowhere says that others arent accredited. Universities in the UK accredit the courses, I thought, not this skillset thing. Sounds like typical media overreaction.

I think the main thing here is that when you apply for a job, you cant rely solely on the degree. Im going to graduate next June, and I really need to get something worth showing employers before then. Dont really know exactly what I should do my final year project on, but I figured something to do with AI would show some good science and maths skills.
idontwannaknow 18th June 2009, 22:01 Quote
Luckily, I found out that there are <a href="http://www.americansentinel.edu/online-degree/bachelor-
degree-online/bachelor-computer-science-gaming.php">game programming degrees</a> online that are accredited.

This helps alleviate the lack of accreditation and standards among gaming programming courses in the UK.
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