A Look at the UK’s Rising Esports Programs

Wednesday 27th Dec 2023 |

Esports is on the rise around the world—and especially within the UK. Throughout the country, millions of gamers regularly tune in to interact with gaming content. This includes Twitch streams, which connect players to gaming communities headed by streamers, along with major Esports leagues, tournaments, and matches.

Similarly, there’s a growing number of ways to engage with Esports. The Premier League, for example, was one of the first pro sports groups to opt into the Esports hype. It runs its annual ePremier League, which launched back in 2019. The idea is to bridge the fan experience for FIFA gamers and Premier League fans. 

Prior to the Esports hype, UK gamers were largely focused on poker. In fact, the UKPT (UK Poker Tour) remains a hugely popular way to compete and game online. While many hobbyist players stick to free table games, others instead have their eye on much larger stages and are concerned with the path that could lead there, such as competing in live tournaments.

But things like online poker and the annual ePremier League are only the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to Esports in the UK, there are a growing number of universities and colleges focusing squarely on this new trend in entertainment. In fact, there are national competitions that focus on competitive programs, along with the National Student Esports (NSE) body, which oversees university-level competitions.

As this field grows, so will the programs offered to learners. Let’s cover some of the most common programs available in the country right now.

Esports (BA)

A degree in Esports might mean a few different things. At the moment, there are five universities that offer these programs, including the University of Northampton, Falmouth University, Staffordshire University, University of Chichester, and UCFB.

An Esports degree includes three years of education, which covers a wide range of concerns related to this field. As mentioned above, the modern Esports movement is about competitive gaming—but it’s also about joining gaming communities on Twitch and other streaming sites, such as YouTube. 

Esports degrees cover the competitive side of gaming, along with the basics of live streaming. For example, the Falmouth degree is listed as ‘Esports & Livestreaming’, highlighting just how integrated these two elements are.

Degrees in Esports usually include courses on content management, organization, and even elements like marketing. Just like an athlete needs to understand the ins and outs of their sport and its organizing bodies, so do potential Esports players and professionals.

Colleges of Esports

Above, we listed five universities that offer Esports programs. However, there’s also the UK’s College of Esports, which is the world’s very first university-level school that focuses solely on the business of Esports. Interestingly, this college isn’t remote or online. Instead, students head to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

There, they’ll take a variety of courses designed to help them catapult their careers in Esports—no matter which path they take. This includes education related to coaching and management, international Esports business, digital marketing, digital media, and even events management.

Specialized Approaches, Coaching, Business Management, & Production (2-Year)

Dozens of colleges and universities are pivoting more slowly toward Esports. These two-year programs offer a more tailored look at certain aspects of the industry. As outlined in the header, coaching, business management, production, events, and even sports media are all part of these educational schemes.

In terms of Esports coaching, there are three programs available, including those in Barnsley College, University Centre Leeds, and University Centre WISE. On the other hand, business management programs are a bit more common. These can be found at Belfast Metropolitan College, Dundee and Angus College, University of Salford, University of Sunderland, and Sheffield Hallam University.

Lastly, programs related to production and design are also popping up. These courses blend topics related to eSports coaching and management, as well as creative pursuits such as live-streaming. Courses are currently on offer from Dundee and Angus College, Nottingham Trent University, and University Centre WISE.