Screenwriting MA

Course fees (figures quoted are for 2016 entry)

Option / fee Value
Home full time annual tuition fee: £2,875
Home cost per credit: n/a
International full time annual tuition fee: £11,330

More about course fees »

Course type


Master of Arts


Liverpool Screen School

Study mode

Part Time (2 years)

About your course

Explore the creative potential of your narrative constructions, observations of character and the aesthetics of dialogue within the tradition and potentiality of Screenwriting as designed for the next generation of industry writers.

  • This course runs on a biennial basis and the next intake will be 2018
  • Part-time programme that can be completed alongside full-time employment in two years
  • The £38million Redmonds Building provides state-of-the-art facilities for the Liverpool Screen School
  • Skillset Accredited status ensures an exceptional quality course
  • Liverpool Screen School is part of the BBC North Developing Talent Scheme

The MA Screenwriting is a challenging, inspiring and thoroughly engaging course which has helped open doors to a fulfilling new career. A truly rewarding and life-changing experience.

Margy McShane

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 twenty shorts. I also have a feature film in development.

Gerry Linford

Introduction to the School

The Liverpool Screen School offers you a warm and friendly environment founded on a strong commitment to nurturing and supporting creativity while offering excellent learning resources and first-class student support. You will be taught by professional, experienced and enthusiastic academic staff with extensive and current practical industry experience.

The Liverpool Screen School offers you a warm and friendly environment founded on a strong commitment to nurturing and supporting creativity while offering excellent learning resources and first-class student support. You will be taught by professional, experienced and enthusiastic academic staff with extensive and current practical industry experience. 

Outstanding industry links

The School is part of the BBC North Developing Talent Scheme and the Journalism teaching team has a growing international reputation and has in the past won contracts with the British Council to liaise with universities abroad. The team is involved in a range of international projects and is developing links with various countries. The department also has close links with local and national news organisations, including the BBC and ITV. 

Staff have all worked in the industry with years of experience in print, radio, television and online journalism. Many of them have an excellent record of research and publications in Journalism and International Relations.

Liverpool is a truly international city with a thriving journalism industry. The city has one of the country's largest and most successful evening newspapers (the Liverpool Echo). Merseyside also has a flourishing local newspaper and magazine industry. There are several television companies in Liverpool such as the BBC and Granada TV. Lime Pictures (formerly Mersey TV), creators of Brookside and Hollyoaks as well as numerous other TV programmes are located in the city.

Top class facilities

skillset approvedThe School is based in the Redmonds Building, located in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant campus and Liverpool’s growing Knowledge Quarter. Redmonds Building is shared by three Schools within the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies – Liverpool Business School, Liverpool Screen School and the School of Law - making for a rich blend of student learning experiences.

As well as broadcast studios, news rooms and media production suites, you will have access to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, social spaces, and the ground floor Starbucks cafe.

Redmonds Building 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.

Why study this course at LJMU?

This MA in Screenwriting is a Skillset Accredited programme with strong links to the film industry, locally and nationally. Alumni from this course have enjoyed success as writers, directors and producers.

Liverpool is an important hub for film, television and independent production and the course, and Liverpool Screen School, have significant links with the screenwriting industry locally and nationally. We are regularly visited by industry professionals who give guest lectures and run practical workshops with our students.

Through practice, application of theory and an awareness of the professional world, you will be encouraged 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 alternate between lectures, screenings, practical exercises, workshops, specialist visiting lectures and field trips.

Programme outline and structure

LJMU’s Skillset Accredited MA Screenwriting programme is designed to prepare screenwriters for the exacting demands of the industry.

The UK film and television industry is enjoying sustained growth and increasing international influence, and the demand for screenwriters with a distinct voice and original vision has never been greater. 

Liverpool has established itself as a centre for regional film and television production both in the commercial sector, and increasingly through independent production.

This is a highly participatory course for committed writers of all ages who show originality and talent and is taught by experienced tutors with strong industry connections.

The course emphasises the development of practical screenwriting skills and the production of a portfolio of work, developed to the highest professional standards. An understanding of professional practice, pitching and marketing screenplays, and the critical analysis of films and screen texts are further key elements in the programme.

The course is regularly visited by industry professionals which means you will have great networking opportunities plus the chance to engage directly with leading practitioners in the field.

Throughout the two year programme, you will be engaged in the production of varied and increasingly challenging projects, beginning with short film scripts and culminating in the development of feature-length screenplays. All screenplays are developed in small group workshops.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below on core modules for further information on what you will study.


  • Discovering the Screen as a Writer

Introduces practice creative, formal, research and technical skills appropriate to Screenwriting at masters level, allowing you to gain an understanding of the difference between writing for different mediums

  • Ongoing Narrative

Introduces the concepts behind writing something that has an ongoing narrative in order to create a dynamic world for stories to occur in engaging, complex characters

  • Writing the Feature Film

You will complete your first feature film draft and further develop research abilities, in particular, how to broaden your writing craft in order to have dramatic stories with a high level of realism or detail

  • The Importance of Rewriting and How to Do It

You will develop the ability to reappraise your own work, to enrich you with screenwriting concepts in order to write an accomplished second draft

  • The Third Act

Continue your growth as a feature film writer, deepening your creative voice and making you a more ambitious writer

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled 'What you will study' is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Academic Framework reviews are conducted by LJMU from time to time to ensure that academic standards continue to be maintained.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a series of screenwriting tasks.

These will include screenplays, treatments and selling documents for a variety of film works, starting with five-minute and 10-minute shorts and progressing through 30-minute and 60-minute dramas to two feature-length (90-minute) scripts.

The first of these full-length screenplays will be developed into several drafts with peers and tutors and the second will be further developed independently after teaching finishes and delivered as an exploratory draft after a 3-month writing-up period.

You will also be required to present a formal ‘pitch’ of a feature-length film idea to tutors, to write self-reflective commentaries on their work in terms of genre, story, character development and marketability, and to produce an academic analysis of a film of their choice in terms of its story structure.

Staff research interests

Liverpool Screen School research covers a number of high-profile national and international areas across four key programmes.

Film Studies research examines European cinema, early Hollywood, documentary practice, film theory and film-philosophy. The influential Liverpool Film Seminar provides the opportunity to hear international film scholars talk about their recent work.

The Centre for Responsible Journalism‘s current research focuses on: Journalism Regulation, privacy, codes of conduct, interviewing vulnerable people, social media journalism, journalism in minority languages as well as work on radio and journalism and international relations and journalism.

Drama has expertise and interests in both practical and more traditional academic research. Practical areas include play and screenwriting, devising and the creation of new work, directing, acting and stand-up comedy. Other projects focus on regional and local theatre, contemporary performance practice, applied theatre and ethnodrama.

The Centre for Writing’s team of tutor-writers includes published poets, novelists, short story writers, screenwriters, and writers for stage and radio. The Centre also manages the ‘Free to Write Project’, which is run in conjunction with Merseyside Probation Services and the Learning and Resource Centre in HM Prison Liverpool funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Entry requirements (Home)

An honours degree in Media Production, Drama, Journalism, English or related programme of study. Degree classification 2:1

Applicants with a suitable background, or work experience in the film and television industry, or those who have published work or demonstrate good writing skills and a genuine passion for the medium, but without sufficient formal qualifications are encouraged to apply.

The course is suitable for candidates with varying levels of experience in creative writing, screen craft or related subjects. The current cohort comprises of writers with professional experience and others who have demonstrated a keen interest in the subject and hold equivalent expertise in an alternative, but parallel medium.

IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each subtest.

All prospective students are required to submit a portfolio of between twenty to a maximum of thirty pages of screen, stage and/or radio play(s), or 5,000 words of fiction, or an equivalent combination of these genres. Applicants providing portfolios larger than specified will be requested to resubmit a new portfolio adhering to maximum page limit. Filmmakers and producers are encouraged to submit their films (DVD, CD or VHS format) in support of their application.

Will I be interviewed?

Decisions usually made based on application and portfolio, however some applicants may be asked to attend interview. 


6.5 (Min. 6.0 in each component)



Is RPL accepted on this programme?


Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

Financial support

Tuition fees

All full and part-time students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible.

Sources of funding

Postgraduate loans

Postgraduate Masters loans are available for the 2016/17 academic year. The new loans, of up to £10,000, will be available for students attending eligible full and part-time Masters courses, in line with the existing qualification framework for England. Administered by the Student Loan Company, the loans will be available to those under 60 at the start of their course.

Loan repayments will begin the April after course completion, with the first cohort of borrowers commencing repayments in April 2019. Repayments will be made at a rate of 6% of income above an earning threshold of £21,000. This threshold will be frozen until 2021. For details of loan terms, conditions and eligibility, go to: LJMU Alumni Award

Final year undergraduates and alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 20% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both Home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*). 

Postgraduate International Scholarships

LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants. 

English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary

A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU’s International Study Centre.




Earn While You Learn

Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time.

LJMU’s Vacancy website can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships / summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work-based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)

Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you’ve completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs. 

Employer sponsorship

Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn’t always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.

Support for disabled students

Disabled Students’ Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don’t have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU’s Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.

Council tax exemption

All full-time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.

Graduate employment

As well as being a thriving academic community, the Liverpool Screen School has strong links with local, national and international media companies and institutions including the BBC, Trinity Mirror and Lime Pictures. These productive working relationships provide opportunities to undertake research projects, thereby enhancing your employability.

skillset approved

International study

Please note: this programme is not suitable for students who require a Tier 4 visa. Due to immigration requirements, Tier 4 international students must study on a full-time basis.

The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where 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.
Further guidance on programme changes

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