Three Academic Years

Degree, NZQF Level 7 (420 Credits, 1.2 EFTS per year)

Start Dates
Course Fees (Year 1. See fees information.)
Domestic $11,990.00 NZD
International $33,500.00 NZD
Admission Requirements

Minimum qualification of NCEA University Entrance or equivalent, such as CIE or IB University Entrance, or, level 4 or higher Qualification from a related discipline (not required for students 20+).

Plus, you will need to have fulfilled the following credit requirements:
28 NCEA credits* at Level 3, in a range of the following subjects: Mathematics, Physics, Computing and Technology. *Note: At this time, students completing NCEA Level 3 will only require 24 credits in the above subjects. Learn more about NCEA and UE here.


Full details including discretionary entrance based on Level 2 Excellence Endorsement can be found here.


Study On Campus or Online

Portfolio Requirements

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


Study On Campus or Online

Study Options

Study on campus Study online

Exclusive Industry Partners

PS First logo
MDS is the only school in New Zealand where students can develop games for the PlayStation platform.


MDS is the only Unity Authorised Training and Certification partner in the country.

What is Game Programming?

Breathe life into unimagined worlds.

As a highly sought-after games programmer, you'll collaborate with artists to create scenes defying the laws of physics. Learn game coding in a variety of languages, including C++, which will help you succeed and actually make games. Media Design School is the only school in New Zealand who has partnered with Sony's Academic Development Programme, giving you the opportunity to develop for the PlayStation platform. Kick-start your future-proof career now.

This programme is available both on campus and online.

Why study Game Programming in 2023?

You should study Game Programming in 2023 if you are passionate about studying, analysing and creating video games. As a game programmer, you will learn how to use coding languages like C++, collaborate with artists and game designers, and transform ideas into living, breathing, and functional worlds that beg to be explored.

Grame Programming
Why study Game Art at Media Design School?

Develop an industry-level game at Media Design School

years of Game Development degrees
of our Year 1 cohort identified as women in 2022
increase in Game Development jobs in New Zealand in 2022^

NZGDA data

Digital Games are New Zealand’s fastest growing export


Course Outline

What you'll cover in this course

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

Component Name Credits Toggle
Introduction to Software Engineering for Games
Algorithms and Data Structures
2D Game Programming
3D Graphics Programming
Introduction to Game Mechanics
Fundamental Mathematical and Engineering Principles
Mathematics for Graphical Games
Game Design Principles

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements for this course

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* at Level 3, in a range of the following subjects: Mathematics, Physics, Computing and Technology.

*Note: Students completing NCEA Level 3 in 2020 will only require 24 credits in the above subjects.

If you are enrolled 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.

You may be eligible for discretionary entrance if you have:
- Excellence Endorsement(s) in Mathematics, Physics, Computing or Technology subjects at Level 2, AND
- Literacy and Numeracy requirements (i.e.: 10 credits in Maths at Level 1 and 10 credits in English at Level 2 (5 reading/5 writing))

You may be eligible for Special Admission if you:
- Are over 20 years old
- Have relevant experience or can demonstrate mathematic knowledge

Click the title for more info!

International Students

To apply for this degree, you'll need a minimum qualification of NCEA University Entrance or CIE (University of Cambridge International Examination) or IB (International Baccalaureate) or equivalent overseas secondary school qualification or have completed one year of tertiary study from recognised institution.

Please Note: Entry requirement may vary based on your country of citizenship. Please refer to our International Page for entry requirements at mediadesignschool.com/international-students. If you country is not on the list, please email international@mediadesignschool.com for further information.

All international students must be 18 years of age when the programme commences (on- campus or online). International applicants can start their application before they turn 18 years of age.


Please note, quotas may apply to some programmes. Where demand exceeds the number of available places, applicants who meet entry requirements will be admitted on a first-come-first-served basis.

Language Requirements

As 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 overall score of 6.0 (minimum) with no band less than 5.5, or equivalent test result.

We accept a range of internationally recognised English Language proficiency test. Find out more on the NZQA website or download the NZQA list HERE.

Portfolio Requirements

Portfolio Requirements

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

See the video on entry requirements and tips for your application.

Entry requirements for the Bachelor of Software Engineering - Game Programming

BYOD Requirements

BYOD Requirements

Before you begin your study with us, you will need to have a suitable device that has the functionality to run the programmes required for your course.

Follow this link to find course-specific requirements and recommendations, along with links to more information about hardware specifications. We have prepared these recommendations to help our students equip for flexible, blended learning.

Careers & Industry

Industry Insights

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

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.

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
Joe OSullivan PikPok

Student Success Stories

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