MA Screenwriting

Study mode

Part-time (2 years)

Start date(s)

September 2020

Tuition fees 19/20
2020/21 fees to be confirmed: Not applicable

General enquiries:

0151 231 5090

Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies:

0151 231 5175

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About this course

This MA in Screenwriting from LJMU invites you to explore the creative potential of narrative constructions, character observations and dialogue aesthetics.

  • Learn from highly respected academics 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 

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

Additional costs

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)

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  • 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.


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.

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 key research projects, thereby enhancing your employability.

Alumni from this course have enjoyed success as writers, directors and producers.

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"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

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Course modules

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.

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Core Modules

Discovering the Screen as a Writer
30 credits

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

Ongoing Narrative
30 credits

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
30 credits

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
30 credits

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
60 credits

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

Study hours

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.

Teaching methods

Teaching staff on this course have all worked in the industry with years of experience in print, radio, television and online journalism. Many also have an excellent record of research and publications in Journalism and International Relations.

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Person sat using laptop


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.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Gavin McGibbon

Gavin McGibbon

Programme Leader Screenwriting

Gavin McGibbon is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. He has written seven commercially produced plays, three produced radio plays, and co-written two short-films. He has a MA and a PhD in Scriptwriting from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. McGibbon has taught scriptwriting at Massey University, The NZ Film and Television School, EAT, and the International Institute of Modern Letters. He has worked as an external adviser for the New Zealand Film Commission. His areas of interest and expertise are adaptation between mediums and contemporary playwriting and screenwriting.

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.

School facilities

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.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a minimum 2:1 in Media Production, Drama, Journalism, English, or a related degree

Additional information:

  • 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

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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.

All prospective students are required to submit at the point of application:

  • 15 page sample script
  • Synopsis (maximum 500 words)
  • CV & reference 
    The reference should concentrate on the following areas: Attendance, punctuality, participation, ability to meet deadlines, response to feedback and communication skills. 

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.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.