About this course
This MA in Screenwriting from LJMU invites you to explore your creative potential, by giving you the creative space to develop as a writer.
- Develop your own original voice to create challenging and innovative TV and feature film ideas
- Learn key industry-skills within a professional writers’ room environment
- Produce a substantial screenwriting portfolio to industry standard
- Be taught by highly experienced professionals who have collaborated with such scriptwriters as Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) and Peter Morgan (The Crown) amongst others.
- Benefit from Liverpool’s reputation as a world-leading hub for TV and film production.
- Experience masterclasses from top visiting industry professionals
- Forge links with award-winning production companies
- Recruits biennially - next intake is September 2024
With the focus on current professional practice within the TV & Film industry, as well as learning scriptwriting theory, this course will encourage you to develop an original voice, pursue challenging and innovative methods of storytelling, engage in research and development, and view your work in the context of the marketplace. Sessions include lectures, screenings, practical exercises, workshops, specialist visiting lectures and masterclasses.
The course emphasises the development of practical screenwriting skills and the production of a portfolio of work, developed to the highest professional standards. You will gain an understanding of professional practice, pitching and marketing screenplays and learn to critically analyse films and screen texts.
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students
The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- access to programme-appropriate software
- library and student IT support
- free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.
Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.
Further your career prospects
LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.
Alumni from this course have enjoyed success as writers, directors and producers.
Our dazzling list of alumni includes:
Joe McNally graduated from the MA in 2022, and recently won the Channel 4/Bonafide Films Northern Writers Award for his screenplay for
Adam Bennett-Lea, who since graduating has been a part of Royal Exchange Theatre's Young Writers programme. He has had several scratch comedy productions staged regionally, and co-created the comic-book series Queer Tales
Gail Young, who's play Bouncing Back & Cheshire Cats was recently performed at Royal Court, Liverpool & Theatr Clwyd (National Theatre of Wales)
Laurence Wilson, recently adapted George Orwell's Animal Farm for the Young Everyman Players at the Everyman & Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool. His recent audio work can be listened to on Soundcloud
Other alumni have since seen success writing for ITV soap, Emmerdale, participating in the Liverpool Royal Court Stage Write new writing programme, having film selected by BAFTA Shorts 2019 competition and becoming a script editor for Hurricane Films. Companies graduates have gone to work for include:
- Filmnation Entertainment
- Hurricane Films
- The Forge
- LA Productions
- Channel 4
- NBC Universal
- Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre
- Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse
- Theatr Clwyd
"Undertaking the Screenwriting MA was a fantastic way to further my understanding of what is expected from a writer in the television and film industry. Under the tutelage of really professional and knowledgeable course leaders, we were helped to understand the expectations and realities of the business, whilst still being allowed the creative freedom to hone our craft and produce work to an industry standard. While nobody needs a qualification in order to write, my experience of the course was a really positive and rewarding one. I wouldn’t think twice in recommending it to people."
Joe McNally, Graduate
Discover the building blocks of your programme
Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.
The module aims to introduce and practice creative, formal, research and technical skills appropriate to Screenwriting at Masters level. You will gain an understanding of the adaptation process, identify and develop an original and creative voice. We emphasise the importance of presenting work to professional standards and working in a professional manner within a writers' room environment. You will initiate a comprehensive understanding of theoretical screenwriting techniques that enriches and advances your creative work.
Writing the Feature
The module will further develop key research skills. It aims to further expand workshopping and feedback insights on peers' work as you write a feature length film script and identify potential markets. You will further develop key screenwriting skills based on theoretical analysis of films and craft texts.
Developing TV Series (Research Methods)
The aims of this module is to increase students’ awareness of screenwriting concepts relating to TV series. You will further develop an understanding of the writing process and the theoretical. elements that make an effective screenplay and write an industry standard script report on peers' creative work. You will further develop the ability to communicate ideas effectively, while creating work and stories in a group setting across a vast range of different dramatic proprieties.
Writing the Pilot
During this module, you will further develop key screenwriting skills based on theoretical analysis of TV series and craft texts. You will further expand workshopping and feedback insights on peers' work, and write a 45 min TV pilot episode script and identify potential markets. You will further develop relevant research skills and work collaboratively in writers’ room environment.
Writing is Rewriting
The module aims to further develop your creative voices. You will further develop students’ understanding of screenwriting techniques based on theoretical analysis of existing work and craft texts. You will reflect upon your own creative process in relation to screenwriting theory and develop the capacity and skills to rewrite the TV Pilot script.
An insight into teaching on your course
This Masters is a part-time degree which is designed specifically around creating a programme of study ideally suited to people in work or with other responsibilities. The two year programme duration gives students the time and space to concentrate on improving their writing skills, giving more time for reflection, editing, group critique and hearing from practising writers.
Teaching staff on this course are practicing award-winning writers with years of experience in the industry. You will participate in small seminar groups, where your tutor contact time will be maximised and you will receive more opportunities to discuss ideas and techniques with fellow classmates.
You will receive continual feedback from peers and tutors, helping you to improve as a writer while developing your critical skills when looking at synopses and scripts.
During your studies you will hear from current practising screenwriters, editors and producers.
Recent guest speakers have included:
- Commissioning Editor - Drama CBBC Independents
- VP Drama - Fox Networks Group
- Shane Meadows (This is England)
- Head of Development LA Productions
- Andrea Gibb (Writer - Elizabeth is Missing)
- Phil Collinson (Producer - Dr Who, Gentleman Jack, Coronation Street)
- Stewart Harcourt (Poirot, Maigret, Churchill's Secret)
- Torfinnur Jacobson (Creator/Writer - Trom BBC4)
We've also held Masterclasses from the likes of:
- Shane Meadows
- Paddy Considine
- Tony Schumacher
- Mike Leigh
How learning is monitored on your programme
To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.
Knowledge and understanding are assessed through coursework (creative and analytical), in written, oral and electronic form. The effectiveness with which you organise your time has a direct bearing on the quality of your work and this is, therefore, indirectly assessed in every exercise.
Other assessment methods used on the programme include: workshops, creative pitches and presentations, critical commentaries and screenwriting tasks.
Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning
Dr Richard Monks is an award-winning writer and director with over 25 years experience in the film and television industry. He studied Film Direction and Scriptwriting at the Royal College of Art and has written award-winning drama for television and radio. He has worked with the likes of Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Maxine Peake (Funny Cow), James Norton (Happy Valley) and many others. His television work includes In the Cold Light of Day, Mysterious Murders (co-written with Julian Fellowes) as well as episodes of Casualty, Heartbeat, Doctors and Dangerfield. His radio work includes Hearing Sense, which won a Sony Award, One Church, which won an IVCA award for best radio drama, and a number of critically acclaimed series, including Donor Trail, Shattered and Belgrano. He was one of the core writers on Radio 4's landmark WW1 drama serial, Home Front. He also worked with Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless) on Radio 4s popular detective series, Stone, starring Hugo Speer.
It is a wonderful opportunity to help new writers to establish their own voice and to share ideas and thoughts that may enrich their stories. Working with writers as they write their feature films and create their own TV shows is a real pleasure and it's always a fantastic experience watching them grow and develop.
What you can expect from your School
The School is based in the Redmonds Building, in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant Campus and Liverpool's growing Knowledge Quarter. Redmonds is shared by two Schools within the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies Liverpool Screen School and the School of Law - and Liverpool Business School, making for a rich blend of student learning experiences. The building is home to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, broadcast studios, news rooms, media production suites, social spaces and a cafe. It is only a short walk from LJMU's Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies.
You will need:
- a minimum 2:1 in Media Production, Drama, Journalism, English, or a related degree
- IELTS English language requirement: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in each component)
- Candidates that are short listed for the course are offered an interview to discuss the programme
- RPL is accepted on this programme
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.
Due to the competitive nature of this programme, applications are considered in stages. As the programme recruits biennially the next intake is September 2024.
Application dates for the next intake will be published here in Autumn 2023.
1. Applicants should complete the online application form and include in the personal statement section reasons why they wish to study this programme.
2. Attach a 15 page sample script
3. Attach a synopsis (maximum 500 words)
4. Attach a CV
5. Provide a reference which should concentrate on the following areas: Attendance, punctuality, participation, ability to meet deadline, response to feedback and communication skills
Stage 2 Interviews for short-listed applications submitted prior to the February deadline will be interviewed late February. Short-listed applications submitted after the February deadline will be interviewed in May. Short-listed applicants will be advised on interview dates as soon as possible. Applicants will be invited to a face to face interview, however if this is not possible applicants will be invited to attend a Microsoft Teams interview.
Applications received after the May application deadline may not be considered if the programme is full.
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.