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Course Description

The NFTS screenwriting course has produced some of the outstanding writers of our generation. The course prepares writers for work in film and television. Taught by working writers, producers and commissioners, the course addresses the main aspects of the profession of writing. Recent students' work has been nominated for an Oscar, a Bafta, several Royal Television Society awards and countless other awards

Quick Facts

- 2 Year Course
- Full-time
- Course runs Jan-Dec each year
- Next intake: January 2017
- NFTS Scholarships available for UK Students

TO APPLY CONTACT REGISTRY - https://nfts.co.uk/contact-us

Visit the website https://nfts.co.uk/our-courses/masters/screenwriting


Graduating screenwriters will have had the opportunity to complete a range of work for their portfolio, demonstrating their talent and unique voice. Introductions are made to literary agents, broadcasters and film and television production companies. Unlike a Screenwriting MA based in an academic institution, this course is set in a working film and television studio. It covers all aspects of screenwriting, from the development of ideas through to production and post-production. Screenwriting students have their writing work-shopped by professional directors and actors. Working with student producers and directors, they have the chance to see their writing tested in production.

The NFTS programme also includes masterclasses from eminent practitioners in all fields, and regular previews of current film releases. Screenwriting graduates have access to feature and TV project development opportunities, set up by the School in partnership with broadcasters and film companies such as BBC Films and Vertigo Films. There are also extended industry–oriented script development workshops like Regards Croisés and Writers for Europe.

*There are a number of different scholarships that support this course, including the Wellcome Trust Science Media Studentship. For more information see Scholarships and the Wellcome Trust (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Public-engagement/Funding-schemes/Broadcast-games-and-film-awards/Science-Media-Studentships/index.htm).


The first year of the course deals with the basic principles of storytelling, the craft of screenwriting for film and television, and the collaborative nature of production via exercises with other departments; some shorter writing assignments; and the formal groundwork for writing industry-length material. Writing for the expanding field of animation will be introduced via a series of practical collaborations. Writers also learn about writing for the stage and their short plays are performed to the school by a professional cast.

The second year is a project-based course focussing on longer writing assignments. Individual talents and interests will determine the content of the final portfolio, though this must include at least one full-length screenplay (feature film or television-hour), plus a short piece (a short fiction, animation, short stage play or sitcom). At the School’s discretion, one or more of the short pieces may be filmed. Writers may opt to write two feature screenplays. The second year will also feature specialist modules tailored to the interests of the students, e.g. comedy, horror, factual-based drama, radio. There is also an introduction to online drama and virals.

The course ends with extensive introductions to the industry with preparation on the practicalities and legalities of working. In this process, writers learn to pitch the projects in their portfolio. This has resulted in many graduating students securing agents either prior to graduation, or immediately following their studies.

The course is full time and requires a high level of dedication; a prolific output, and the ability to meet professional–style deadlines. Graduation is also based on completion of a tutored dissertation.

Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School. In addition you will be given a cash Production Budget. NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any of our competitors.


Brian Ward (The Interpreter, Death Defying Acts, Tabloid, Shoebox Zoo) is the NFTS Head of Screenwriting. Other tutors include Simon Beaufoy, Visiting Chair in Screenwriting (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, The Full Monty), Holly Phillips (Sugar Rush, As If, Trinity), Peter Berry (The Luzhin Defence, The Last Enemy, Prime Suspect), Clive Bradley (City of Vice, The Harlot’s Progress, Last Rites), Brian Ward (Death Defying Acts, Shoe Box Zoo, The Interpreter), Roger Smith (Script Consultant: My Name is Joe , Sweet Sixteen; Writer: Up The Junction), Sarah Golding (Script Consultant; Head of Development at Rainy day Films and previously at Potboiler Productions (The Constant Gardener, Brothers of the Head), Rob Ritchie (Script consultant; Writer: Who Bombed Birmingham; ex-literary manager Royal Court Theatre).


Ashley Pharoah (Ashes to Ashes, Life on Mars), Shawn Slovo (A World Apart, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), Sandy Welch (Jane Eyre, Emma), Amanda Coe (Filth, Margot), Simon van der Borgh (Script Consultant: Kidulthood), Ben Court & Caroline Ip (The Hole, Cracks, Whitechapel), Amanda Coe (Room at the Top, Elizabeth David -A Life in Recipes, Filth – The Mary Whitehouse Story), and Nick Hoare (Waterloo Road) studied at the NFTS.


- One original screenplay, typed, twenty pages in length, together with a two-page (A4) synopsis. The screenplay may be short (up to twenty pages) or the first twenty pages of a longer work. All work must be original and must not be adapted or co-authored. Uploaded or e-mail to as a Word, Final Draft or pdf document

- Optional: If your writing to date has been in a different field (other than screenplays) you may consider that you are better able to demonstrate your ability by submitting a piece of original fiction typed and double spaced, together with a two-page (A4) synopsis. This piece of fiction may be a story, novel or play. It may be a short work, up to twenty pages, or the first twenty pages of a longer work.
You must also submit the screenplay. Uploaded or e-mail to as a Word, Final Draft or pdf document.


The application deadline has now passed, however there may still be a chance to apply. Please contact registry via email stating your name, course of interest and contact details:

Visit the Screenwriting page on the National Film & Television School website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Sarah Woolner

Writer. Won the BAFTA for the Best Short Animation with her NFTS Graduation Film 'Sleeping With The Fishes'

(Student Profile)

Caroline Ip

Screenwriting Graduate. Credits include: Whitechapel


Science Media Studentships - Single Award

The NFTS studentship offers financial support for one PhD-level biomedical scientist to undertake a postgraduate qualification (MA) at the NFTS in Games Design and Development, Directing Fiction or Screenwriting, all of which last 24 months.The awards will pay for tuition costs plus a grant to cover basic living expenses for the duration of the studentship.The next NFTS application deadlines are as follows:8 July 2016 (17.00) - Games Design and DevelopmentIf you are interested in making an application, please contact Dr Jonathan Wardle - Director of Curriculum and Registrar.
T +44 (0)1494 731475
E [email protected] Or visit the NFTS website (http://nftsfilm-tv.ac.uk/our-courses/masters).

Value of Scholarship(s)

tuition costs plus a grant


Applicants should be PhD-level biomedical scientists wishing to explore a career in the broadcast, games and film industries in the UK and/or Republic of Ireland. Applicants must have a PhD or equivalent, some experience of science communication, and a demonstrable aptitude for working with TV, radio, film or games.

Application Procedure

The studentships will only be awarded to applicants who have a confirmed place on the course of interest.For the NFTS, application is through the NFTS website: Games Design and Development, Directing Fiction, Screenwriting.After the application deadline, a shortlist of candidates for interview will be drawn up, with interviews taking place in late July.

Further Information



NFTS Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

All long term resident UK students, once they are offered a place on the MA programme, are invited to apply for an NFTS funding award. Awards may consist of either a bursary or a scholarship or a combination of both. NFTS Scholarships are donated by individuals or organisations with a direct involvement in the film, games and television industries. They often include a mentorship and an individual donor may take in interest in your work. Therefore they have an added prestige.The NFTS funding awards contribute directly to tuition fees and may be between £1,000 and £10,000. They are not re-payable by the student. They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Value of Scholarship(s)



They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Application Procedure

Students are invited to apply in both of the two years of the course. Some scholarships are intended to be for a particular specialisation, for female students, or awarded on ethnicity or according to the UK region of an applicant.

Further Information



The Toledo Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

Applications are treated confidentially and are means tested. The school reserves the right to ask an applicant to provide proof of his/her financial circumstances and of possible family support. The Assistant Registrar must be notified immediately of any change in an applicant’s financial circumstances. Careful consideration is given by the Scholarship Panel with a view to responding to demonstrated financial need. Funds are limited and students are asked to estimate responsibly how much assistance they think they will need as this affects the School’s ability to accommodate students in serious need.Unfortunately, we are unable to open this scheme to EU or International students, or to students on the Diploma programmes. There are some course specific scholarship opportunities available to Diploma students. Please check the latest situation on the NFTS website course pages. There may not be enough scholarships available to allow the school to give one to all applicants. Therefore it may be necessary for you to make alternative arrangements for your tuition fees and maintenance. All students offered a place are provided with guidelines for applying for independent funding. This information is distributed during the summer. NFTS funding applications are received in September and the Scholarship Panel meets in October to decide the awards for the following year. Decisions are announced shortly afterwards.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See the website


The Toledo Scholarship is an NFTS scholarship specifically intended to enable talented newcomers from the UK’s ethnic minorities to fast-track their ambitions and join the British film industry.

Application Procedure

Application is made in the same way as all other NFTS scholarships but candidates will need to identify themselves as an UK ethnic minority candidate in order to be considered automatically.

Further Information



BAFTA Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

The BAFTA Scholarship Programme assists talented individuals in need of financial support. A BAFTA scholarship can help you afford an NFTS course in 2016 or 2017. Recipients will receive:
- Up to £10,000 to cover their course fees
- An Industry mentor
- Free access to BAFTA events around the UKUK students who have worked in the industry for at least two years may qualify for assistance from the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. Students with relevant experience who have been offered a place on a course should apply direct to the CTBF. There is also an opportunity to apply early and directly for a BAFTA scholarship before your application has been completed. UK applicants should look out for the BAFTA scholarship announcement on their website.Some of the remaining UK Regional Screen Agencies offer scholarships to students from within their region. Some are arranged through the School as NFTS Scholarships, while others must be applied for direct, in competition with students at other institutions.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to £10,000


Eligible courses are listed on the website.

Application Procedure

The deadline for applications is Friday 17 June 2016. You can apply to BAFTA before you are offered an NFTS place.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Applicants will have a developed talent for writing (plays, screenplays, novels, short stories), a body of work, a fund of ideas and the desire to express them in screen form. Professional experience in any field is an advantage, in particular work in film, TV or theatre, or allied fields. It is not essential to have a degree, but a sound general knowledge of film, TV and theatre writing is expected, as well as a high level of self-discipline and personal motivation. If your first language is not English, please note fluency in English is essential for the MA Screenwriting course.

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