Dominic Sacco and Ryan McVean take a look at some of the British academic establishments exploring esports (updated as of October 2020).
With more and more esports jobs cropping up around the world, educational establishments are starting to catch on.
For years, some colleges in North America have been offering scholarships in esports, and now UK colleges and universities are offering esports courses – or integrating esports into their existing ones.
British Esports Association partners with Pearson
to offer world’s first BTEC qualification in esports
The British Esports Association, the not-for-profit organisation set up to promote and support grassroots esports, has partnered with global learning company Pearson to create the world’s first qualification of its kind for a career in esports.
The new BTEC qualifications in esports are skills-focused and are a major step forward in supporting the creation of long-term careers in the growing esports industry both in the UK and internationally. The esports industry is projected to generate revenues of $1.1 billion in 2020, a year-on-year growth of +16%, with the total esports audience set to rise 11.7% to 495m individuals, according to Newzoo.
Institutions in the UK and around the world will have the opportunity to offer these new qualifications to students from September 2020, with funding confirmed in the UK from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
- The Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, part of Nottingham Trent University, has launched a BSc (Hons) degree in esports production
- Staffordshire University introduced the first esports degree in the UK, as well as a Masters degree, focusing on the business and event management aspects of esports. Students will be introduced to esports culture, learn about managing and developing events and teams, and will be given access to Staffordshire’s dedicated esports lab and ‘pro gamer training facility’.
- The University of York announced a partnership with ESL a few years back. You can read more about it in our original article here and some other info (as of May 2018) here.
- The University of Roehampton has a UK esports scholarship, as of summer 2018.
- London South Bank University is conducting some research in esports journalism and is part of ACES (see the ‘more esports initiatives’ section in this article)
- The University of Chichester has an esports degree. The University appointed former pro player Ramesh ‘r2k’ Singh as esports lecturer for a BA (Hons) degree in esports it’s offering.
— University of Chichester (@chiuni) July 15, 2019
- Teesside University began offering an MA in esports a few years ago (we’ve asked them if this is still available and will update this article when we hear back)
- ESL has teamed up with Birmingham City University for an Esports Management degree
- Furthermore, Chinese giant Tencent has teamed up with the University of Oxford to host tournaments and offer courses, in order to increase the profile of esports and foster talent.
- Elsewhere, the University of Leicester announced a partnership with ESL UK, to develop a course that helps students gain insight into the esports industry. Read more about this here.
- Sheffield Hallam University is running an esports events management degree
- Abertay University is also looking at holding esports courses and have a PHD student currently working on an esports thesis.
- In 2017, another university, the University of Manchester, launched a whitepaper on esports and the opportunities and challenges in this area. The uni called for greater unity in UK esports between companies and for strong collaboration between third-parties to help grow the esports ecosystem in the UK.
- The University of Manchester also held a workshop in London, which the British Esports Association spoke at.
- As mentioned, the British Esports Association has partnered with Pearson to offer world’s first BTEC qualification in esports. You can read more about the Pearson Esports BTECs here and see a map of colleges and schools running the BTEC here
- Leeds United Sports College launched an Esports Academy in association with Sheffield FC, offering students the chance to earn a Level 3 BTEC qualification at Elland Road.
- Harriers Esports is allowing colleges to teach its OCR Level 2 course in esports and media.
- Barnsley College has revealed it is offering the following course: Sports: Esports, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Level 3 Full-time.
- Furthermore, London South East Colleges is also looking at esports skills and aspects being added to their courses. Both British Esports and Ukie sit on its advisory board.
- From September 2020 West Suffolk College will be teaching a BTEC Level 3 National, Extended Diploma in Esports. The course is labelled as Managing and Developing Esports, with a focus on taking a more technical approach, looking at the production of Esports and Esports materials as well as Esports business.
- Speaking of colleges, the City of Liverpool College has partnered with alternative education provider VSI (Visionary Sports Investment) to deliver an esports course which aims to develop emerging talent
More esports initiatives within education
Other third-parties are looking at getting involved in esports courses in the UK to help train up and coming talent.
Of course, the British Esports Association has its own Championships for schools and colleges.
And there’s the brilliant Digital Schoolhouse tournament by UK games industry trade body Ukie.
The Prince’s Trust also backed an esports workshop course dedicated on teaching skills through esports. This helped unemployed young adults learn new skills and access new opportunities. The group behind it, EOB Esports Academy, is doing more in the esports space too.
Then there’s the National University Esports League (NUEL), a group focused on bringing nationwide varsity competition to the UK, holding national championships for many top games including League of legends and Counter-Strike, and National Student Esports (NSE), which launched in April 2018 and is also hosting university esports tournaments.
In 2020, the Association for Continuing Education in Esports (ACES) emerged to provide a link to industry and also academic research in this space.
Have we missed anyone? Are you from an educational establishment or a company looking at esports? Please let us know by emailing email@example.com and we’ll add you to this article