The University of Agder will offer a new bachelor’s degree in academic esports from autumn 2022. The initiators behind the degree believe the programme will be very popular, and the one-year programme now underway provides a good basis.
“We will start by offering 40 places, 20 of them are for Norwegian students and 20 for international students. We are in the accreditation process and look forward to starting up. Esports is gaining popularity, and it is high time to offer an academic programme in the field in Norway”, says Programme Coordinator Rune Andersen.
The bachelor’s degree was formally adopted by UiA in May this year. The one-year programme is already underway, and the response has been such that the programme coordinator has high expectations for the bachelor’s degree.
“The one-year programme is a continuing education offer and costs NOK 33,000. Fourteen days after we first advertised the course, there were waiting lists. This is a field that hasn’t been developed in Norway. In the UK there are esports degree courses and they get more applications than they have places available,” Andersen says.
Students on the one-year programme have already received job offers on the basis of the skills they are acquiring. Andersen and Head of Department Sveinung Berntsen Stølevik have had meetings with businesses, the gaming industry, esports industry and politicians through the summer, and the signs have been very positive.
“We spent a lot of time during Arendalsuka meeting with party leaders, ministers and Members of Parliament. They are all interested in the development and see the potential of the field. It is clear that having the first bachelor programme in esports will put UiA on the map”, says Stølevik.
The bachelor's degree in academic esports has an academic angle, as the name implies. It is not gaming training but emphasises gaming skills, and gaming will be used as a teaching tool. The bachelor programme is a collaboration between the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering and Science.
Students will learn about the physiological and psychological conditions that underlie the training and performance of an esports athlete. In addition, they will learn to develop and produce content for digital platforms and get an introduction to finance, entrepreneurship and branding. Programming, cyber-security, data protection and the use of drones and other remote controlled devices are also included, in addition to game design and gaming history.
“We have communicated clearly that this is an academic degree. We see that the students on the one-year programme aren’t there to sit and play games but want to learn about the processes and the concepts behind it. The academic aspect has drawn attention from other academic environments, and we have been invited to be part of several exciting research collaborations, including with NTNU”, says Programme Coordinator Rune Andersen.