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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

With a uniquely collaborative emphasis, this course offers opportunities for some of the scripts you develop over the course to be produced, through close collaboration with students from MA Producing for Film and TV, MA Directing for Film and TV and MA Radio Production. This equips you with the skills and attitudes required for successful script development processes in the industry. The course is busy, intensive and involves much teamwork alongside individual writing practice.

Throughout the course, you will develop your ideas from concept to industry standard final draft, with a development process that includes research, pitching, presentations, script reading and networking events, workshop groups, tutorials, script editing, and rewriting for production.

You will be encouraged to nurture and reflect on your creative process and originality of voice, and to explore the contexts – critical, creative and industrial that inform scriptwriting today.

The course is taught by scriptwriting professionals and theorists, alongside an exciting programme of industry guest speakers. The course is suitable for students who have previously developed their own creative writing projects within humanities or media production courses or with relevant professional experience. You may have an undergraduate qualification in a related subject or may be able to show your suitability for this programme of study through associated work-experience or evidence of and outputs from other related activities.

Successful participation in MA Scriptwriting will enable you to emerge from the course as a writer with a distinctive authorial voice, an industry standard portfolio of scripts, experience of writing in formats and genres, and a robust attitude to collaboration and development.

Key information

Next start date:

September, 2017


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


1 year

Entry requirements:

A Bachelor Honours degree, 2:1 or above or equivalent. Applications are also welcome from experienced professionals working within the media industry. An interview will be required. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Core units

  • Scriptwriting Across Platforms & Genres: Develop knowledge and skills in scriptwriting with an emphasis on theoretical and practical approaches to creating dramatic narratives, along with your creative voice and vision as an originating author and collaborator in the script development process. You'll develop works for short film, web drama, games and radio drama, both as standalone narratives and in context to transmedia storytelling principles. You'll also experiment with generic conventions, and participate as writers on collaborative projects with MA Directing for Film & Television and MA Producing students.
  • Creative Story Development: The scriptwriting development process, in terms of the writer’s role and the skills required for supporting and taking part in creative collaboration. You'll choose a feature film or television/web series/serials for the writing elements of this unit, which are standard industry development documents. These documents form the basis of the Master's Production Project.
  • Narrative Constructions: Establishing a social, cultural and intellectual context for scriptwriting issues, combined with other practical and professional actions, this unit offers a strong critical foundation for effective script realisation. Teaching will help you collectively engage with narrative theory in a critical and analytical forum.
  • Professional Practice: An introduction to key skills and knowledge you'll need for employment in the media industries.

Option units (choose one)*

  • Master's Production Project: This unit allows you to show the scriptwriting skills, knowledge and professional competence you've gained on this course by producing a major scriptwriting project that is original and emerges from a development process involving workshop groups and tutorials. You'll be supported to develop career plans as a writer beyond this course.
  • Master's Research Project: You can produce a practice-based research artefact supported by a written analysis, or an individually or collaboratively written paper. The latter consists of a written investigation into an aspect of practice, supported by media artefacts. Both of these will be the basis of a presentation of research findings at a final exhibition.

*Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MA Scriptwriting.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready.

Selection criteria

Applicants are encouraged to provide details of relevant work experience on their application and will need to provide examples of creative writing with their application.

Examples could include pieces of scriptwriting work (fictional pieces for film, TV drama, radio drama, online drama, etc) or factual pieces (television documentary ideas or scripts, radio features, corporate films, commercials, etc). Produced work, if available, would also be acceptable.

An interview is required for this course and will be marked on the following criteria which you can request feedback on afterwards:

  • Creative and craft abilities in scriptwriting
  • Understanding of the role and power of drama
  • Evidence of a developing authorial voice
  • Experience of and ambition to collaborate
  • Capacity for Level 7 academic inquiry.

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon a postgraduate taught degree are:

  • Qualification equivalent to a UK Honours Degree, 2:1 or above. Applications are also welcome from experienced professionals working within the media industry
  • Applicants without a first degree but with significant industry experience may be considered in exceptional circumstances
  • Applicants are encouraged to provide details of relevant work experience and will need to provide examples of creative writing their application
  • An interview is required.

If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow - some based on experience. Contact the AskBU Enquiry Service for more information.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • ​IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our study postgraduate entry requirements page.


The knowledge and skills you will gain from this degree will enable you to pursue relevant roles in the film and television industries such as reader, scriptwriter, script editor, and creative producer

Some of our Scriptwriting graduates are now undertaking roles such as*:

  • Readers
  • Scriptwriters
  • Script editors
  • Creative producers.

Industries worked in

  • Film
  • TV
  • Scriptwriting
  • Media
  • Production.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

*All information shown has been taken from Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) or BU institutional data unless otherwise stated.

Your lecturers

Our staff are actively engaged in research and professional practice in the scriptwriting sector which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Find out more about some of the staff and their research activities who will be teaching on this course below.

Dr Helen Jacey

Helen is a professional scriptwriter who has developed numerous film and TV projects in the UK and internationally. She is a renowned story consultant and part-time lecturer, internationally recognised as an expert on screenwriting and gender, and author of the first-ever book on writing female characters for the screen: The Woman in the Story.

Helen has been interviewed for radio and print, including the Daily Telegraph and Variety. She has also written guest columns for several industry magazines.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork, and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide.
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU pages.
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies (with or without attendance), you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Additional information

Simon Phelps

Career development

Read about career and development opportunities and discover how gaining industry experience could help you.

Omolola Fagbule

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.