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Game Programming

Bachelor of Software Engineering

Auckland, NZ Sydney, AU Brisbane, AU
  • Length:
    Three Academic Years
  • Qualification:
    Degree NZQF Level 7 (420 credits) 1.2 EFTS per year
  • Cost:
    Domestic - $10,714.55​ NZD
    International - $26,400.00 NZD
  • Intake Date(s):
    September 25th, 2017
    February 19th, 2018
    July 16th, 2018
    September 24th, 2018 View Intake Calendar
  • Click here to access key information about this qualification
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Course Overview

When becoming a Game Programmer, you'll learn best while doing. You'll code, you'll craft and, in the end, you'll graduate with a gaming portfolio like no other. By the end of your third year at Media Design School, you'll have worked with other like-minded programmers and artists to develop an industry level game, giving you the perfect showreel to kick-start your professional career.

Better yet, Media Design School is the only school in New Zealand who has partnered with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's PlayStation First Academic Development Programme, giving our students the opportunity to develop games for the PlayStation platform.

Careers & Industry

To be a game developer you'll need both the experience and practical skills to be able to work across multiple game platforms and the ability to collaborate in a group that simulates the industry environment.

In this course, you'll be learning C++ along with other coding languages that will help you succeed in the games industry. In your third year, you'll experience an end-of-year project which will be the closest experience you'll get to an industry environment at any tertiary provider in New Zealand. You'll be collaborating in a group with fellow programmers and artists to create a commercially viable game, which you can include in your portfolio and show-reel by the time you go on to work as a professional.

You'll also have the opportunity to work with the PlayStation game platform. Media Design School has partnered with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) to become the only tertiary institute in New Zealand where students can develop for PlayStation platforms, giving you the edge once you graduate.

Our graduates go to work in game studios here and around the globe, such as Game Loft, Grinding Gear Games, Pik Pok and Krome Studios.

A degree in Software Engineering could take you down the following career paths:

  • Game Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Graphics Programmer
  • Engine Programmer
  • Artificial Intelligence Programmer
  • Technical Lead
  • Gameplay Programmer
  • Tools/UI Programmer
  • Network Programmer
  • Physics Programmer
  • Sound Programmer
"Media Design School graduates are among the best game programmers in New Zealand. The focus on working in mixed teams mimics the conditions found at real game studios and means that graduates hit the ground running once they join our team. They come pre-loaded with all the skills we need, including the soft skills you get working through tough teamwork situations."
Joe O'Sullivan Technical Director, PIKPOK

Student Work

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More information

Course Outline

Year 1

Start your learning with the essential theories, principles and knowledge needed for game programming and development. This includes an overview of C++ programming and practical mathematical skills. You will also gain experience constructing, testing and debugging simple computer games.

Qualification Code Course Code Bachelor of Software Engineering  Level  Credits
PC3992 GD1P01 Introduction to Software Engineering for Games 5 15
PC3992 GD1P02 Algorithms and Data Structures 5 15
PC3992 GD1P03 2D Game Programming 5 15
PC3992 GD1P04 3D Graphics Programming 5 15
PC3992 GD1S01A Introduction to Game Mechanics 5 15
PC3992 GD1M01BSE Fundamental Mathematical and Engineering Principles 5 30
PC3992 GD1M02 Mathematics for Graphical Games 5 15
PC3992 GD1J01BSE Game Design Principles 5 20

Year 2

Prepare for a major game production by learning the management strategies needed for a collaborative project. You will also learn software engineering principles, advanced graphic programming and advanced game programming strategies.

Qualification Code Course Code Bachelor of Software Engineering Level Credits
PC3992 GD2P01 Artificial Intelligence 6 15
PC3992 GD2S02 Software Engineering for Games 6 15
PC3992 GD2P02 Physics Programming 6 15
PC3992 GD2P03 Technology Leverage for Games 6 15
PC3992 GD2P04 Advanced Graphical Games Programming 6 15
PC3992 GD2S01 Software Engineering Principles and Practices 6 15
PC3992 GD2S03 Advanced Software Engineering and Programming for Games 6 15
PC3992 GD2J01 People and Games 6 15
PC3992 GD2J03BSE Game Mini Project II - Rapid Game Prototype 7 20

Year 3

The final year focuses on creating a major game production in conjunction with Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art) students. Students also begin developing for PlayStation platforms Vita and PS4.

Qualification Code Course Code Bachelor of Software Engineering Level Credits
PC3992 GD3P01 Game Engine Development 7 15
PC3992 GD3S01BSE Software Engineering Capstone Project 7 30
PC3992 GD3S02BSE Software Engineering Game Development Capstone Project 7 20
PC3992 GD3J02 Preproduction 7 15
PC3992 GD3J03BSE Game Development Team Production Alpha 7 30
PC3992 GD3J05 Game Development Team Production Gold 7 15
PC3992 GD3J01 Professional Practice and Communication 6 15

Click here for further information on the course components.

Entry Requirements

To apply for this degree, you'll need a minimum qualification of NCEA University Entrance or equivalent, such as:

  • An appropriate qualification from an overseas secondary school or tertiary institution, deemed by Media Design School to be sufficient for admission into a bachelors programme.
  • CIE (University of Cambridge International Examination)
  • IB (International Baccalaureate)

Plus, you will need to have fulfilled the following credit requirements:

  • 28 NCEA Credits, Level 3, in Mathematics and Physics.

It is also highly recommended that you obtain credits in Computing and Technology subjects.

If you are enroled at a New Zealand secondary school and have not yet completed your NCEA (CIE or equivalent) qualification, you can still apply now for admission. When your NCEA results are available in January, we will check them and contact you.

International Students

If you are an international student, you'll need to prove you have sufficient English language skills in order to complete this course. We'll be looking for Academic IELTS 6.0 (minimum), or equivalent qualification if English is not your first language.

Special Entry, Discretionary Entry and Cross Credits

If you don't have university entry, you may still be able to apply for this course. More information about Special Entry, Discretionary Entry and Cross Credits here.


A portfolio is not required if you are applying for Game Programming (Bachelor of Software Engineering).


Study at the Media Design School in Auckland, and you can assure your family that you'll be staying in one of the safest and most live-able cities in the world. Auckland is such a diverse city that, no matter where you're from, you'll find food and experiences here that remind you of home.

This wonderful city has nature on its doorstep and, in the same amount of time it takes to fetch a latte, you could travel to spectacular countryside or beaches, all within a stone's throw from the Central Business District.

If you're thinking about making New Zealand your home while you study for your world recognised qualification, you can find more information about making the transition to our beautiful country here.

Looking to enrol or find out more?