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MA Screenwriting

Course Description

The only course of its kind offered by a Russell Group University, our MA in Screenwriting is an intensive one-year training programme designed to professionalise writers and present a genuine gateway into the film and television industries. Over the course of the year, students will work with leading industry practitioners to develop their screenwriting, pitching and story-breaking skills, including masterclasses led by leading UK screenwriters such as Abi Morgan and Russell T.Davies. By the end of the programme, each student will have developed a full length feature film screenplay, a pilot TV episode, two short films and two treatments for feature films or TV series. Like all courses at the Centre for New Writing, this programme is taught by practitioners and as such it is vocationally-oriented and industry-focused. Students will have access to individual career guidance and training in how to navigate entry-level work in both the television and film industries.

The course runs across two twelve week long semesters, during which students will attend weekly writing workshops in which they will study the very best of contemporary screenwriting, including shows such as Breaking Bad, True Detective, The Killing, Broadchurch, This is England, Rev, Transparency and The Sopranos. They will also cover British and American examples of charismatic film screenwriting from Chinatown to Star Trek via Slumdog Millionaire .

Students will study story design, visual story-telling and character arcs in both long-running television series and feature films. They will develop the tools to be able to analyse and critique screenwriting craft, and learn how to disseminate their own work. There will be weekly film screenings, and students will have access to a world-class lending library of box-sets and films to watch at home. Through the duration of the course students will develop a broad and eclectic knowledge of cinema and television.

We intend to keep learning as specific to individual study as possible and study groups will be intentionally small in scale. The course capacity is limited to twelve students each year and you will be taught through a mixture of screenings, lectures and group discussion. Our `writers' room' ethos ensures an environment that encourages collaboration, sharing and creative risk-taking.

Importantly, each summer, we offer students a four week `hands-on' industry placement at a renowned film or TV production company either in London or the North West. Current partners include Red Productions ( Last Tango in Halifax , Queer as Folk ), Hammer Films ( The Woman in Black , Let Me In ) and BBC Films ( Billy Elliot , Philomena ). These placements are an excellent opportunity for students to make useful contacts, and to develop a practical and direct understanding of the professional context within which screenwriters ply their trade.
Coursework and assessment

To complete the MA, students are required to take 180 credits in total. They will take two semesters of courses consisting of workshops/tutorials and seminars. These are worth 60 credits per semester.

All writing workshops meet for two hours per week.
Each workshop is assessed by a portfolio which will include pitches, treatments, scenes, draft scripts, script reports and notes on how to progress a draft.
Seminars also meet for two hours per week.
Students will also be offered three individual half-hour tutorials per semester in order to discuss the progress of their writing.

Over the summer students complete a 'dissertation' which consists of a final revised version of a full-length screenplay or TV episode and series bible. This is worth 60 credits.
Course unit details
In both semesters all students take a weekly writing workshop and a parallel seminar on craft. Both are 2 hours long. All teaching takes place on Monday or Tuesday.

Visit the MA Screenwriting page on the University of Manchester website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold a good, Upper Second Class Honours degree, or its overseas equivalent, normally in a relevant subject. Please visit the course listing at View Website for portfolio requirements.

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Recipient: University of Manchester

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