The University of Leicester is considering introducing some kind of eSports degree, or eSports content within other degrees, according to rumours.
eSports News UK understands the university is also planning to put together a network of academic people to better understand and present teachings around eSports.
It’s believed the university is currently talking to eSports organisers and executives about potential content.
While it’s not yet confirmed, we’ve heard it’s in the works from several reliable sources – and have reached out to the University of Leicester for comment and clarification. We’ll update this article with anything we hear back.
One source says the eSports program at Leicester is ‘not a degree program’ – rather it could be one module on eSports as part of a larger program, for example a section on eSports marketing within a Business Administration MA.
Last month, Leicester was named the UK’s Greatest Sporting City for 2016, according to research from ESPN and the University of Bath. Leicester also has a statue in its town centre depicting football, rugby and cricket.
Of course, Leicester is also home to ESL UK’s eSports studio, which opened earlier this year.
In terms of other eSports initiatives at higher education, the University of California Irvine is opening its own eSports arena next week, boasting a state for League of Legends tournaments and a live broadcast studio. Ten academic scholarships are also being offered.
Thomas Parham, vice chancellor for student affairs at UC Irvine, said: “We hope to attract the best gamers from around the world, and our academic programs in computer gaming science, digital arts, computer science, engineering, anthropology, law, medicine, neuroscience and behavior create a strong foundation for research and inquiry related to gaming.”
Collegiate eSports is growing in the US, and some colleges offer scholarships to League of Legends players. A Norwegian secondary school has also included eSports in its sports curriculum.
In the UK we have the National University Esports League (NUEL), a network of universities which play against each other in national leagues across a variety of games.
Josh Williams, founder of the NUEL, recently said the North American university eSports scene is ‘miles ahead’ of the UK, but that work is being done to grow university eSports competitions in the UK.
Other university-level eSports initiatives in the UK include GameBritannia and King of the North tournaments.
There was also a Europe-wide University Esports Masters League of Legends competition earlier this year, where the best universities from countries across Europe played against one other.
- How did the UK fare in the EU University Esports Masters?
- The story behind the NUEL
- King of the North 2016 review
- GameBritannia interview
- University of Bath win GameBritannia Dota 2 tournament
- An interview with the Manchester eSports Society
Image credit: By NotFromUtrecht – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15400893
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.