The training programme is an essential part of the IGGI PhD.  It helps students acquire the knowledge and skills they need to do great research -- research that can change both video games and wider society.  The programme has a practical focus on the design and development of games.  By deepening our students' understanding of games, we aim to motivate and enable PhD research that has real relevance to how games are made and played.

The Modules

Because IGGI offers a four year PhD programme, our students are able to commit substantial time to this training during their first year.  There are four modules, with delivery shared by the University of York and Queen Mary University of London:

Game Design (York)

  • Students learn how to conceive, design, prototype and playtest their own games, be it for entertainment or a 'serious' purpose like health, education, or research.

Game Development (QMUL)

  • The module provides hands-on training developing video games using industry-standard game engines.  You will be working with other students to prototype a new game in one week.  It also introduces a range of state-of-the-art technologies for game development, such as novel interaction techniques, AI opponents and collaborators, and procedural content generation.

Methods and Data (York)

  • Students learn various methods for empirically studying games and players, including standard HCI methods and data science techniques for gaining insights from large game data sets.

Research Impact & Engagement (QMUL)

  • Students learn how to engage industry, players, and other societal stakeholders early on in their research, how to conduct responsible research and innovation that is overall beneficial to human wellbeing, and how to present their work online, to the media, and industry.  The second half of this module is a remotely-supervised individual project.


Bringing Students Together

A key aim of this training is to bring new students together as a well-connected cohort who will carry on learning from, and supporting, each other throughout their studies.  This has helped us build a strong IGGI community of researchers across four universities and multiple research fields, with a common goal of doing world class PhD research on games. 

Each module is delivered in two two-week blocks, with the exception of the  remotely-supervised individual project.  Six weeks of the training takes place in the Autumn of the first year, and another eight weeks is scheduled throughout the rest of first year.  For students in receipt of an IGGI EPSRC studentship, travel and accommodation is provided for York students to study in London, and vice versa.

Note: we have switched to online delivery of training during the Covid pandemic.

Training Requirements

  • Completing the training programme, including passing the modules, is a compulsory part of the IGGI PhD programme.
  • The Game Development module does assume some knowledge of programming, at least the equivalent of an introductory class.  However, we enthusiastically welcome novice programmers who wish to further develop their skills alongside more seasoned coders!  Applicants who are unsure about their programming skills, or want advice on how best to prepare for the module, are encouraged to contact the module organiser.