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.
- Learn from experienced writers with extensive and current practical industry experience
- Hone your craft in the Liverpool Screen School, a highly respected provider in creative writing education and training
- Benefit from Liverpool's reputation as an important hub for film, television and independent production
- Enjoy the Screen School's significant links with the screenwriting industry locally and nationally
- Experience guest lectures and practical workshops from visiting industry professionals
- Recruits biennially - next intake is September 2022
Through practice, application of theory and an awareness of the professional world, 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 field trips.
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 use your own)
- 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 2017) 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:
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.
"I always wanted to be a writer but lacked four essential qualities: focus, discipline, motivation and technique. The MA Screenwriting enabled me to develop these traits and so much more. Since graduating I have had a film broadcast by the BBC and have written and produced approximately 20 shorts. I also have a feature film in development.”
Gerry Linford, 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.
Discovering the Screen as a Writer
This module aims to improve your knowledge of the creative, formal, research and technical skills appropriate to Screenwriting at Masters level. It:
- improves your understanding of the difference between writing for different mediums
- enables you to identify and develop an original and creative voice as a writer
- emphasises the importance of presenting work to professional standards
- initiates a comprehensive understanding of scriptwriting and screenwriting techniques that enrich and advance creative work
- creates reflection on your creative choices as a writer
This module aims to introduce you to the concepts behind writing something that has an ongoing narrative. It:
- helps you to create a dynamic world for stories to occur in engaging, complex characters
- enables you to develop the ability to sell an idea to others
- helps you to create work and stories in a group setting across a vast range of different dramatic proprieties
- helps you to outline a feature length work, using narrative theory such as the Hero’s Journey and Three Act Structure
Writing the Feature Film
This module aims to develop research abilities, in relation to writing craft, to have dramatic stories with a high level of realism or detail; it employs specific and highly focused research to give an original and accomplished presentation. It:
- helps you to improve insight into workshopping and feedback on peer work
- helps you to increase understanding of what makes for effective screenwriting
- enables you to incorporate narrative theory on feature film writing into your own creative work
The Importance of Rewriting and How to Do It
This module aims to provide you with the skills necessary to reappraise your own work. It:
- introduces you to the screenwriting concepts required to write a second draft
- enables you to write industry-level script and reports on peers’ creative work
- enables you to rework, redevelop, strengthen ideas, concepts and writing of original material
The Third Act
The aim of this module is to develop your skills to work as a writer and a critical thinker. The emphasis is on producing a second draft to a high standard so that you have a polished piece of work with which to enter the film industry. It:
- helps you to grow as a feature film writer
- enables you to grow and deepen your creative voice as a writer
- enables you to illustrate excellent understanding of narrative structure in established works
- helps you to become more ambitious with your own creative project
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 have all worked in the industry with years of experience in radio and television. 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; this year we hear from the likes of writer, Stuart Harcourt, script developer, Sarah Deane and producer, Phil Collinson.
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. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.
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
Programme Leader Screenwriting
Richard is a well-known writer and director with over 25 years experience working in the film and television industry. He studied Fine Art at Exeter College of Art and Film Direction and Scriptwriting at the Royal College of Art. He also has a PhD in Creative Writing, awarded by Lancaster University. He has written award-winning plays for radio and television. His radio work includes Hearing Sense, which won a Sony Award, One Church, which won an IVCA award for best radio drama in 2005, and a number of critically acclaimed series, including Donor Trail, Shattered and Inquest. 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. Recently he was one of the core writers on Radio 4's landmark WW1 drama serial, Home Front. He is also part of the writing team behind Radio 4's 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 café. It is only a short walk from LJMU’s Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Order your brochure Research
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)
- Pearson requirements: 58-64
- RPL is accepted on this programme
- Candidates that are short listed for the course are offered an interview to discuss the programme
If you have any specific queries, please contact email@example.com
- International students entering on a Student visa cannot study part-time
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.
- Due to the competitive nature of this programme, applications are considered in stages. As the programme recruits biennially the next intake is September 2022.
- Stage 1 Application Deadlines to be confirmed but usually early February and mid May:
- 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 Short-listed applicants invited to attend interviews, dates to be confirmed: Usually late February for applications submitted prior to the February deadline and mid June for applications submitted after the February deadline. Applicants will be advised if the interview will be carried out via Skype/Zoom if a face to face interview is not possible.
- 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.