- MA Scriptwriting
- School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
- Campus or location
- Newton Park and Corsham Court (Newton Park only from 2023)
- Course length
- One year full-time or two years part time.
We’re looking for individuals with either a good first degree or a thorough professional training in acting, theatre, television or film.
Please contact our admissions team for more information: email@example.com.
Develop your scriptwriting to the highest level and tailor your work to different types of media on this practical and collaborative course.
- Join a lively, creative community and collaborate with your peers across various disciplines, from acting to directing and filmmaking.
- Taught by leading industry professionals – working practitioners who love what they do.
- Develop skills that prepare you for a professional life in the industry.
Take your writing to the highest level, and develop clear strategies for professional success. With a combination of expert guidance and peer-group workshopping, you’ll develop your unique voice as you learn to meet the demands of a highly competitive industry. The course will help you to become a more adept scriptwriter, able to work across theatre, radio, film, and television. Along with a comprehensive training in key writing skills, you’ll develop your critical thinking, creative dexterity, and coherent strategies for professional progress.
With access to campus resources such as professional recording equipment and television studios, you’ll collaborate with acting, directing and film-making students to make films, record audio drama, and develop plays for theatre. Creative collaboration forms the heart of the Scriptwriting course, as you develop an understanding of live presentation, of idea as word, and of the direct relationship, in any given medium, between writer and audience.
“I finished three full scripts during my MA, and have seen my work performed in an international theatre festival, in regional theatres, in a pub cellar, and online.”Kirsten Stoddart, MA Scriptwriting
What you'll learn
Through seminars with leading industry practitioners, intensive peer workshops, and practical exercises, you’ll develop a full understanding of the relationship between script and production. The emphasis is on the architecture of story: learning how to build a narrative out of words and exploring different ways to bring those words to life through performance and production.
Collaborative exercises with actors, directors, and film-makers will make your writing a reality, strengthening your craft while providing finished pieces for your portfolio to showcase your development.
We make full use of the resources available at our Newton Park campus, including audio recording suites, film and television studios, rehearsal spaces, a well-stocked asset store, and a state of the art screening room. By the end of the course, you’ll understand how to tailor your writing to any chosen media.
The programme is offered full-time over one year, and part-time over two years.
For full-time students the programme runs over three trimesters. For part-time students, the programme consists of two trimesters in the first year, and three in the second. The third trimester focuses on the dissertation project.
The craft of story - Explore the key literary elements of a script through text-focussed study.
Writing for Performance - Through active collaboration, you'll be introduced to the challenges and possibilities of writing for the performing arts. For part-time students, this forms the first Trimester of year two.
Professional Practice - Equip yourself with the knowledge to pursue careers in the industry.
Production Lab - Collaborate with others on the production of creative pieces in a variety of media, ready for a presentation event. For part-time students, this forms the second Trimester of year two.
Final Script - Develop a polished creative work to the highest professional standard.
This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document for more information on which modules are core, required or optional.
- Story Workshop
- Writing for Performance
- Production Lab
- Professional Practice
- Final Script (Double Module)
How will I be assessed?
You’ll be assessed by coursework and practical presentation.
How will I be taught?
You’ll learn through a mix of intensive residential days, weekly seminars, individual tutorials and online provision. The course structure allows for a progressive development of essential skills.
MA Scriptwriting provides a foundation in writing for all the major media. Our graduates can find (and have found) work as script editors and story editors within mainstream broadcasting. Graduates can find employment in numerous capacities within the industry, working as: researchers, location managers, publicity managers, literary agents and, of course, as scriptwriters.
Many graduates find teams with whom to produce independent work in film and theatre, taking their productions to regional theatres and film festivals.
- Ilsa Ure has recently signed with one of the top literary agencies in the UK.
- Keith Kopp and Laurence Guy have won awards at film festivals.
- Douglas Murdoch has won an Arts Council grant for his theatre production company, Greedy Pig.
- Brittany McComas has had two feature films produced by US companies.
- Tom Parfitt is a Story Editor for Emmerdale (ITV).
- Sarah Curwen has toured China with a play about the poisoning of a British businessman.
We encourage group trips to the cinema and theatres. We may organise visits to production facilities.
Course delivery in 2022/23
Our focus is on providing the best possible in-person experience for you and your peers whilst maintaining the most successful aspects of online delivery that we know will benefit your learning. Learn more by reading our programme delivery statement.
Facilities and resources
Where the subject is taught
You'll have access to:
- Technical facilities at Newton Park including cameras, lighting and sound equipment, studio and post production
- Purpose-built theatre workshops designed and built to industry standard, replicating the real-world production processes of staging theatre performances
- Theatre Lab – a monthly opportunity to share your work with actors.
Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are not generally eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate. Irish citizens and those granted Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme are eligible for UK (Home) fee status. There are also other circumstances where this may apply: See UKCISA for more information.
UK students full time
|2023/24 entry||Published Jan 2023|
|2024/25 entry||Published Jan 2024|
UK students part time
Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.
|Year 2||Published Jan 2023|
|Year 1||Published Jan 2023|
|Year 2||Published Jan 2024|
|Year 1||Published Jan 2024|
|Year 2||Published Jan 2025|
International students full time
|2023/24 entry||Published Jan 2023|
|2024/25 entry||Published Jan 2024|
Interested in applying?
What we look for in potential students
We’re looking for committed, self-disciplined writers with a few scripts behind them, not necessarily produced. We expect students to engage with each other in a supportive environment. Writing is hard work, and rewriting can be challenging, so we need students who genuinely want to learn and develop.
Usually, you will have a good undergraduate degree in any subject. Relevant experience can be considered and entrance is through submission of work which needs to be presented to professional formatting standards, a personal statement, associated documentation as needed, and interview.
Overseas students are also required to provide evidence of their English language ability. Ideally this should be IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum score or 5.5 in each element, or equivalent.
We’ll consider candidates without prior academic qualifications based on a short assessment.
How do I apply?
Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.
Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply pages.
Interview and portfolio guidance
In addition to a personal statement, we’ll ask you to submit a sample of original writing, including script for any medium. The script can be a complete short piece, a collection of short pieces, or an excerpt from a longer work, totalling 20 pages in standard format.
The interview will be informal, conducted in person or online as appropriate.
Ideally, you should already be writing. The writing doesn't have to be perfect (we’re here to help with that!), but it should raise questions, have a sense of what needs to be strengthened, and form a part of the writer's continuing development of craft and exploration of ideas.
Read widely - we have a suggested list, but also welcome intensive and intelligent consumption of dramatic material in all its forms. We particularly encourage applicants to read plays and screen texts.
Suggested reading list:
- Writing for the Stage, Clark.A (Crowood Press. Ramsbury 2021)
- The Shifting Point, Brook.P (Methuen. London. 1997)
- The Playwright’s Guidebook, Spencer. S.
- The Crafty Art of Playmaking, Ayckbourn. A.
- Booker, J. (2004), The Seven Basic Plots. London: Contiuum.
- King, S. (2012) On Writing. London: Hodder.
- Strunk, S. and E.B, White, (1999) The Elements of Style. London: Pearson.
- Mukherjee, R. (2014) The Art of Screenplays - A Writer’s Guide. London: Creative Essentials.
- Field, Syd. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting, Delta, 2005.
- Howard, David. How to Build a Great Screenplay: A Master Class in Storytelling for Film, St. Martin's Griffin, 2007
- Tierno, Michael. Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters: Storytelling Secrets From the Greatest Mind in Western Civilization, Hyperion, 2002
- Trottier, David. The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script, Silman-James Pr, 2010
- Vogler, Christopher. The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd ed., M. Wiese, 2007
- The BBC Writersroom website
Want to apply for this year?
Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.
Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.
Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.