MA Screenwriting

Year of entry: 2021

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Degree awarded
Master of Arts
1 year [full-time]
Entry requirements

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Study on an intensive year-long course with a combination of workshops, seminars and one-to-one teaching.
  • Gain hands-on industry experience with an internship at a leading production company.
  • Work with industry experts to develop your portfolio and hone the practical skills you need to succeed in UK film and television.
UoM MA Screenwriting: Lime Pictures & Hollyoaks

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our  open days .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2021, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £11,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £22,000

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of School awards  and  Subject-specific bursaries  (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary  offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a 1st within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught masters course.

The Manchester Master's Bursary  is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

English language

An overall grade of 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS is required or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

You should include a personal statement (no more than 500 words) that demonstrates your understanding of the subject and your motivation for wanting to study the programme.

If your academic background is not directly related to the programme, you should supply an academic-standard writing sample on a subject related to the programme.

If English is not your native language, then you should provide an academic-standard writing sample in English directly related to the subject.

For more advice on the application process, please visit our  Applying  page.

How your application is considered

Applications are mainly considered on the basis of an assessment of past and predicted academic achievements, the academic reference(s) and any other supplementary evidence that supports the application. Once we have an application that is ready for a decision, the admissions tutor (often the Programme Director) will relay the decision to the admissions team, who will send you this decision.

Please note that your application is usually received by the School 24 to 48 hours after the time you submit it. If you have not provided documentation that allows the admissions tutor to make a decision, we will contact you.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.1. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of:

  • an overall grade 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS; or
  • 100+ in the IBT Internet-based TOEFL).

The other language tests we accept can be found here:

Exceptions to needing a language test (if English is NOT your first language) are:

  • if you have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least a UK Bachelors Degree or higher from one of the following countries:

Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; UK; USA.

Portfolio requirements

There are 12 places on this highly competitive course each year.  The closing date for applications to this course is 7 August 2020, or when all places have been taken.  We will update the main webpage if this occurs and notify any waiting applicants individually . Any successful applicants chosen after the programme is closed may be offered deferred entry in 2021.    

You must upload the following with your application:

  1. Three original ideas for film(s) or TV drama series (1 or 2 pages long each). Applicants should include the title of film and a logline describing it for the poster, where and when the film is set (eg contemporary/period), the genre (eg drama/comedy/sci-fi), and what it is about thematically.
  2. One A4 page on why you want to do the MA, including references to films and TV series that have influenced and interested you.
  3. A separate writing sample (no less than 10 pages of screenplay format) to demonstrate that you can write dramatic scenes and dialogue. This writing sample could be a screenplay draft of one of the ideas you are applying with, or of another screenplay, theatre play, TV/radio drama, short film. It should demonstrate your potential and your ability to create characters, lively dialogue and tell a story dramatically.
  4. Your CV/biography.

Course details

Course description

The only course of its kind offered by a Russell Group university, our intensive one-year MA Screenwriting training programme will professionalise writers and presents a genuine gateway into the film and television industries.

You will undertake a rigorous combination of workshops, seminars, one-to-one meetings and regular talks from a variety of industry professionals.

You'll also have the chance to gain hands-on industry experience through structured internship programmes with leading production companies that have included Film4 ( Room, Ex_Machina, The Lobster) , Wildgaze (Brooklyn) , Number 9 Films (Carol) , Left Bank (The Crown), Warp (This is England) , Red Productions ( Happy Valley, Scott and Bailey ), and Hammer Films ( The Woman in Black , Let Me In ).

Over the course of the year, you'll work with leading industry practitioners to develop your screenwriting, pitching and story-breaking skills. By the end of the course, you'll have developed a full length feature film screenplay, a pilot TV episode and two short films.

Like all courses at the Centre for New Writing, this MA is taught by practitioners and, as such, it is vocationally-oriented and industry-focused. You'll have access to individual career guidance and training in how to navigate entry-level work in both the television and film industries.

In the second semester, there will be a London industry day based at BAFTA with talks from agents, producers, and writers, as well as a meeting with the BFI.

You'll study story design, visual story-telling and character arcs in both long-running television series and feature films, and develop the tools to be able to analyse and critique screenwriting craft, as well as learn how to disseminate you own work.

There'll be film screenings, and you'll have access to an excellent lending library of films to watch at home.

Throughout the duration of the course, you'll develop a broad and eclectic knowledge of cinema and television.

Special features

Si Wall

"I came away from the London Industry Day feeling positive, empowered and genuinely believing that, with the right work ethic, a thick skin and a bit of luck, I could make it in the British film and television industry.

"This is the opposite of how I felt at the same time the previous year, which is also a testament to the MA as a whole."

Si Wall / MA Screenwriting

Industry speakers

The course includes regular speakers from the film and TV industry. Previous speakers have included Beth Pattinson BBC Films ( Brooklyn, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Philomena ), Chris Chibnall (writer and creator of  Broadchurch ) and Pete Czernin, producer of In Bruges and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (1 and 2).

Internship opportunities

Each summer, we offer students a two week 'hands-on' industry placement at a renowned film or TV production company in either London or the north-west.

These placements are an excellent opportunity for you to make useful contacts, and to develop a practical and direct understanding of the professional context within which screenwriters ply their trade.

Teaching and learning

We intend to keep learning as specific to individual study as possible, and study groups will be intentionally small in scale.

The course capacity is limited to 12 students each year, and you will be taught through a mixture of screenings, lectures and group discussion.

Our 'writers' room' ethos ensures an environment that encourages collaboration, sharing and creative risk-taking.

All writing workshops meet for three hours per week. Workshops will help students add to their portfolio by including adaptations, scenes, draft scripts, script reports, and genre presentations.

Each workshop is assessed by a portfolio which will include pitches, treatments, scenes, draft scripts, script reports and notes on how to progress a draft.

Seminars also meet for three hours per week.

You'll also be offered two individual tutorials per semester in order to discuss the progress of your writing.

Coursework and assessment

Each workshop is assessed by a portfolio which will include pitches, treatments, scenes, draft scripts, script reports and notes on how to progress a draft.

Over the summer, you will complete a 'dissertation' which consists of a final revised version of a full-length screenplay.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. This is made up of three core courses worth 90 credits, with the remaining 90 credits allocated to your dissertation.

The course runs across two 12-week semesters, during which you will attend weekly writing workshops to study the very best of contemporary screenwriting, including shows such as Breaking Bad, True Detective, The Killing, Broadchurch, This is England, Rev, Transparency and The Sopranos.

You will also cover British and American examples of charismatic film screenwriting, from Goodfellas to The King's Speech via Alien .

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Industry and Feature Film ENGL70002 90 Mandatory
Story and the Journey of Change ENGL70701 30 Mandatory
The Calling Card Script and Television ENGL70712 30 Mandatory
Genre and Theme ENGL70801 30 Mandatory


You will have access to one of the UK's five National Research Libraries at Manchester, as well as 24/7 study facilities at the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons.

Find out more about facilities for master's students .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

MA Screenwriting - Katie Lythgow

"If you want a career in TV/film and don't know where to start, I would recommend the MA for the insight it gives into the industry.

"It's not a typical academic course - it's very vocational and is focused on preparing you for a job."

Katie Lythgow / Junior Storyliner at Hollyoaks

This course is designed to train graduates to work in the UK film and television industries.

Some will work as professional screenwriters, while others may take up other related positions.

We offer talks from professionals in the industry and internship programmes to help you get an insight into what it's like to work in film and TV.

You can read profiles of some of our recent graduates to find out where they ended up working after completing the course - including two graduates who now work on Hollyoaks - on our student spotlights page.

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .