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Postgraduate

MA Screenwriting

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours
MA Screenwriting, photo credit Ana Escobar 2018, London College of Communication, UAL.
College
London College of Communication
Start date
September 2023
Course length
1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

MA Screenwriting is an industry-focused course that develops writers for film, television and radio to develop your writing, script reading and script editing skills.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Industry links: The reputation of our course, staff and alumni help us to maintain strong links with industry. We have relationships with producers, development executives and commissioning executives from leading organisations including the BBC, Red Planet, Sky, Tiger Aspect, Trademark Films, Wall to Wall and World Productions.
  • Building networks: You'll have opportunities to connect with industry through events such as ‘Pitching to Producers’ and ‘Agents Meet Our Writers’, where previous students have been offered representation and/or had work picked up for future development.
  • Portfolio: You'll develop a strong portfolio of work that matches industry expectations and prepares you for your chosen career.
  • Collaboration: Reflecting the collaborative nature of industry, you'll have opportunities to work with other creatives ranging from your MA Screenwriting peers to students across other disciplines including film, animation and graphic design.

Open Evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be announced soon.

Follow MA Screenwriting

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Course overview

MA Screenwriting at London College of Communication is one of the UK’s leading film and television scripting courses, and has a strong professional reputation.

Graduates of the course have gone on to receive critical acclaim, and been recognised by national and international awards. Their successful careers can be followed in all areas of the industry across fields as diverse as television, film, radio, stage, web, animation, novels and computer games. 

What to expect

  • MA Screenwriting introduces you to the foundations of contemporary scriptwriting through practical and theoretical contexts. 
  • You’ll develop research methodologies that will become the foundation for all future practice and project development. You’ll engage in peer-to-peer reviews and the writing of reader reports, building your understanding of narratives, structure, characters and worlds while opening doors into script reading, script editing and potentially script development work.  
  • You'll have the opportunity to develop feature film, television and/or radio narratives, honing your writing voice, scriptwriting skills and research methods as you build a strong and industry-relevant portfolio.  
  • You’ll also undertake a Major Project, which can be within the medium of film or television, and will enable you to focus on a specialist area of interest. 

Work experience and opportunities  

You’ll be encouraged to use MA Screenwriting as a stepping-stone to reach your career ambitions as you explore your interests in scriptwriting and related topics. 

By engaging with your personal writing, you’ll develop an understanding of how to communicate with the industry you wish to work in. 

Additionally, this will be achieved through interaction with your tutors and peers, as well as through a collaborative unit that reflects the ways in which industry relies on successful collaboration and communication. 

You’ll also connect with the industry directly and develop a strong understanding of how it works by exploring one of the following:  

  • Masterclub - an industry networking event  
  • Screenworks - a screenwriting magazine 
  • Database – a detailed listing of production companies, agents and writing opportunities 
  • The Masters – an interview with high-level industry personnel. 

Mode of study

MA Screenwriting is offered in full-time mode and runs for 45 weeks over 15 months, with a break over the summer. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study. 

Course units

In common with all postgraduate courses at University of the Arts London, this course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits and the maximum is 60 credits. The MA course structure involves 5 units, totalling 180 credits. All of the units on MA Screenwriting are compulsory. 

Autumn, term 1

Short Screenplay (40 credits) 

You’ll be introduced to the theoretical framework for the course, the course ethos and current industrial practice. You’ll focus on acquiring screenwriting knowledge and skills, leading to the production of a short screenplay.  

Major Project (60 credits)

This unit concentrates on the creation of a Major Project. You’ll focus on the framework required and the various writing stages involved in the development of a feature film screenplay or a pilot episode(s) for an original series/serial together with the relevant development documents.  

Spring, term 2

Working with Existing Formats (40 credits)

You’ll explore advanced scriptwriting theory through the creation of a half-hour script: either an episode of an established television series or serial, or an adaptation of a short story for film, television or radio.

Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

You’ll identify, form and develop collaborative working relationships with a range of potential partners, such as undergraduate or postgraduate students at the University or external parties (e.g. companies, cultural organisations, community-based groups, NGOs or charities).

Major Project (Continued)

Summer, term 3

Working with Existing Formats (Continued)
Major Project (Continued)

Industry Interaction (20 credits)

You’ll focus on the current industry and your future career ambitions. You’ll gain detailed knowledge of industry roles and personnel as you engage with professional writers, directors, script editors, producers, commissioning editors, programme/schedule controllers and agents. 

Autumn, term 4

Major Project (Continued)
Industry Interaction (Continued)

If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Screenings
  • Discussion
  • Exercises
  • Tutorials
  • Peer-to-peer review
  • Guest speakers
  • Assessed assignments
  • Self-directed study
  • Collaboration

Online Open Day

(Recorded February 2022)

Course Leader, Kelly Marshall, gives an overview of studying MA Screenwriting at London College of Communication.

Graduate Showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Graduate Showcase

  • UNGODLY
    UNGODLY, Mallory Fanton, 2021 MA Screenwriting, London College of Communication, UAL
  • GENTRIFICATION
    GENTRIFICATION, Mallory Fanton, 2021 MA Screenwriting, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Weightless
    Weightless, Anna Hooper, 2021 MA Screenwriting, London College of Communication, UAL
  • MA Screenwriting X BA Graphic Design Poster Collab
    MA Screenwriting X BA Graphic Design Poster Collab, Joe McEwan, 2021 MA Screenwriting, London College of Communication, UAL
  • I'll Leave You To It
    I'll Leave You To It, Joe Groves, 2021 MA Screenwriting, London College of Communication, UAL
  • KILLING TIME
    KILLING TIME, Matt Soden, 2021 MA Screenwriting, London College of Communication, UAL

Course films

Studying MA Screenwriting

We speak to Course Leader Kelly Marshall, current students and graduates about their experiences on the course.

Student voices

Michael Amaning-Ampong | Student Voices

MA Screenwriting

Michael talks about writing his series about a family living on a notorious estate and struggling with death and grief.

Camila Rodo | Student voices

MA Screenwritinng

Camila talks us through her major project – a comedy-drama with a sci-fi twist.

Renee Donlon | Student voices

MA Screenwriting

Renee talks to us about her final year screenplay.

Paolo Silvestro | Student voices

MA Screenwriting

Paolo tells us about making his sitcom, Sheltered.

Course stories

Facilities

  • Red light indicating recording is taking place.
    Image © Vladimir Molico
    Lens-Based and Audio-Visual

    Find out about the workspaces and studios that support Lens-Based and Audio-Visual practice.

  • A tutor in the process of producing a print.
    Image © Lewis Bush
    Printing and Finishing

    Discover our printing techniques, from Lithographic Printing to Print Finishing and Bookbinding.

  • Student reading a book in between two bookshelves in the Library
    Students in the Digital Space. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
    The Digital Space

    The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

Guest Lecturers

Many former students, now professional screenwriters, return to teach on the course which ensures it has a strong basis in the day-to-day practices of contemporary film and television production. In addition, we have visiting lecturers from the industry who regularly share their knowledge and experience.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£12,700

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£25,970

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to demonstrate a clear and passionate commitment to the medium of screenwriting together with their intent to extend their knowledge in this subject matter. Detail of prior experience and/or study are required to indicate a clear desire to write for film, television and radio and to successfully complete this programme of study.

An applicant will be considered for admission if they have already achieved an educational level equivalent to an honours degree. It is preferable that you have a previous degree, but it is not essential. We also accept students based on their writing talent and the work they submit during their application.

Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • OR a combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

  • IELTS 7.0 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

Selection criteria

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • A clear and passionate commitment to the medium of screenwriting, together with your intent to extend your knowledge in this subject matter.
  • Detailed prior experience and/or study required to indicate a clear desire to write for film, television and radio and to successfully complete this programme of study.

Apply now

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement and your written assignment
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Extra information required for applications to this course:

  • Written assignment
  • Video task

Start your application now

The online application can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you press submit.

Apply now

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Personal statement advice

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Screenwriting. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you have a strong interest in scriptwriting and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future. This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

The round 1 deadline has been changed to 19 December to give you more time to make your application.

When you'll hear from us

If this course requires a digital portfolio as part of the application process, we will contact you to invite you to submit this through UAL’s online submission tool, PebblePad. For Round 1 applications, you will need to submit your portfolio by 9 January 2023 at the latest and by 20 April 2023 for Round 2.

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in 2 rounds, after each application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about the outcome of your application until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by (at the latest) end of March and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by end of June 2023.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement and your written assignment
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Please note: we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas). Read our immigration and visa information to find out if you need a visa to study at UAL.

You can only apply to the same course once per year. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.  Read the UAL international application advice for further information on how to apply.

Extra information required for applications to this course:

  • Written assignment
  • Video task

Start your application now

There are 2 ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course:

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Personal statement advice

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Screenwriting. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you have a strong interest in scriptwriting and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future. This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in two rounds. This means that offers won’t be sent to successful applicants until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by 31 March 2022 and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by 30 June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal. Please add @arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.

Please log into the portal, as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, and you can contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

Written assignment

Part 1: Please submit ten pages of script – this can be from a short film or from a larger piece of work. If from a larger piece of work we ask that you also give a brief one-page (max) synopsis of the full project, together with the reason you chose this particular section for submission. For example, you may feel that these opening ten pages really set up the world and your characters.

Part 2: Please also submit a 2-4 page outline for a second additional project.

Video task

We'd like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you.

  • Please speak clearly in English and face the camera.
  • Your video task is submitted via PebblePad.
  • Read our guidance for more information about how to submit your video task and the file types we accept.

As part of your video task, please respond to the following direction:

In 90 seconds, name a film you wish your name had been on the credits as the writer, and why. In 90 seconds, name a television series you wish your name had been on the credits as the writer, and why.

Interview advice

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will be held online, and details will be sent via the UAL Portal.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Requesting feedback

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview.

We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf. If you would like to request feedback  please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course.

Careers

A high percentage of MA Screenwriting graduates go on to work in the industry as writers, script editors, producers, development executives, directors and readers. Graduates are employed not only in the UK but also in Europe, around the world and even in Hollywood.

Our current and past students are also regularly nominated for national and international awards, in addition, won critically acclaimed awards such as the Emmy Award, Page Award and The Palme d’Or.

The course team and alumni of MA Screenwriting maintain strong links with industry and production companies including: Working Title, ITV, Tiger Aspect, Feelgood Fiction, BBC Film, BBC Drama, Trademark, Red Planet, Red Productions, World Productions and many more.

A high percentage of students who have obtained commissions also return as industry guest speakers or to teach on the course and to help ensure that there is a continual open channel between the ever-changing industry and our students.