This is a potential research degree area, subject to the approval of the University. If you are interested in undertaking a research degree in this area, please make contact with the Dean to discuss your proposal.
Game studies as an academic field investigates digital games from a humanities-oriented perspective, utilising critical, historical, and social research methodologies. Prospective projects may explore issues such as narrative, ethics, audiences, and semiotics, and apply theoretical approaches such as literary theory, philosophy, postcolonialism, political economy, or psychology.
Game studies at Abertay benefits from close collaboration with Abertay's leading Games programmes as well as Dundee's status as a UNESCO City of Design. Abertay University is the lead partner for InGAME: Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise, an AHRC-funded R&D centre for Dundee’s games cluster. Postgraduate students at the University will have access to research and development opportunities, as well as contact with professionals working within the games industry. Dundee is one of the UK’s oldest and most successful games hubs, and we have longstanding relationships with local, national and international game studios.
Abertay has hosted international games conferences including Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) and Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) as well as world-leading game studies scholars for seminars and lectures. As a member of SGSAH, a collaboration of Scottish universities whose goal is to provide the highest quality postgraduate education and research experience, Abertay is well-placed to deliver effective supervision. The programme will prepare you for a career as a researcher and academic, as well as an exciting range of roles outside of academia.
As a postgraduate research student, you will carry out an original, independent research and/or practice-based project, whilst being guided and supported by a team of expert academic supervisors. As you do this, you will benefit from an extensive programme of researcher development tailored to your background, needs and future ambitions. This will in turn help you develop the skills required to deliver research excellence.
Your progress will be monitored throughout the year and via an annual review. The final assessment is by examination of your submitted thesis and a viva voce (oral examination).
With the help of your supervisors, you will be encouraged to publish your research during and after your studies.
You have the option of studying an MSc by Research, an MPhil or a PhD.
When deciding which degree is right for you, you should consider the level of commitment required, the duration, cost and your career aspirations.
That being said, our research degrees are flexible. You can begin an MSc or an MPhil and then seek to transfer to a PhD without having to start your project all over again. You can also switch from full-time to part-time study, and vice versa.
The award of Master of Science by Research (MSc by Research) demonstrates a practical ability to undertake research studies, a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or the application of original thought.
If you are studying full-time, you will be expected to complete the award in 12 months. The minimum period to receive this award is 10 months and the maximum is 14 months.
If you are studying part-time, you will be expected to complete the award in 24 months. The minimum period to receive this award on a part-time basis is 20 months and the maximum is 28 months.
The award of Master of Philosophy demonstrates a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or the application of original thought, much of which is at (or informed by) the forefront of your field of study or area of professional practice.
If you are studying full-time, you are expected to complete the award in 24 months. The minimum period to receive this award is 12 months and the maximum is 48 months.
If you are studying part-time, you are expected to complete the award in 48 months. The minimum period to receive this award on a part-time basis is 24 months and the maximum is 72 months.
The award of the Doctor of Philosophy demonstrates that the main focus of your work is your personal contribution to knowledge in your discipline or field, through original research or the original application of existing knowledge.
If you are studying full-time, you are expected to complete the award in 36 months. The minimum period to receive this is award is 24 months and the maximum is 48 months.
If you are studying part-time, you are expected to complete the award in 48 months. The minimum period to receive this award on a part-time basis is 72 months and the maximum is 96 months.
Abertay is a small university, which means that as a research student, you’ll be joining a close-knit community of scholars and researchers.
Watch Prof Nia White, Dean of Research and Abertay’s Graduate School, along with some of our research students discuss what makes Abertay’s Graduate School different from other universities.
The minimum entry requirement for all our research degrees is an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) at undergraduate level in an appropriate discipline and/or a Master’s degree. In some cases, appropriate professional or experiential learning may be considered in combination with a lower classification of Honours degree.
If you're not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland, you may need to apply for a visa. You can find out more about applying for a visa and collecting your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) on our Tier 4 visa page. To identify whether or not you need to apply for a visa, please visit the UKBA website.
We accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:
For candidates whose first language is not English or your undergraduate/Master’s degree was not awarded from a University from a UKVI designated English Speaking country, you are required to show evidence of one of the following qualifications:
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
To identify whether or not you need to apply for a student visa, please see here or visit the UKVI website.
You can look for potential supervisors by searching keywords, names or publications in the Staff Explorer. This will ensure that we have appropriate expertise within Abertay. You will also gain an understanding of the prior work of the researcher.
You should consider contacting the potential supervisor to discuss your ideas and the possibility of undertaking a research degree under their supervision. Discussion will also help you tailor your application to suit Abertay’s specific expertise in the area. Ask for feedback and be prepared to take those comments into consideration when finalising your research proposal.
You can also contact the Dean of School or our Graduate School if you would like advice on potential supervisors.
Please avoid vague blanket emails to several potential supervisors as these are unlikely to be successful.
There are two different routes to studying a research degree at Abertay – you can apply for one of our funded studentships or propose your own area of research. Find out more about our funded studentships.
If you are proposing your own area of research, you will need to consider how you will fund your studies – either through self-support or by securing a scholarship or some other form of external funding. See what scholarships are available to Abertay research students.
This is your opportunity to state your research objectives, to grab the reader’s attention and highlight your suitability for research degree study.
The proposal should be around 6-8 pages in length (including references) and follow the section headings below.
Some good practice tips:
You can start a research degree at Abertay in February, June or October of each year. You can apply to defer from one entry point to another on one occasion, however, subsequent requests must be supported by an additional full application.
Unless otherwise stated, the deadlines for submitting a full application are:
You will need to include the following documentation when you apply online:
The fees you'll pay depend on factors such as your nationality, location and personal circumstances. See the links below and scroll down to find the Postgraduate section.
Find out about potential bursaries, student loans and scholarships in our postgraduate research fees and funding section.
+44 (0)1382 30 8610
+44 (0)1382 30 8254