MA Creative Writing Scriptwriting
- Full Time
- Degree of Master of Arts
- Course Length
- 1 year
- Course Start Date
- September 2024
Prepare for a career writing for theatre, radio, film, or television with an MA that allows you to explore and produce dramatic writing across the media.
You’ll study both the theory and practice of dramatic writing, addressing contemporary dramaturgical debates, analysing written and performance texts, and experimenting with a range of techniques in original writing. You’ll develop your skills in constructive criticism and the creative editing of your peers’ writing, creating a supportive writers’ network in the process.
You’ll be taught by renowned practitioners and visiting specialists through seminars, presentations, screenings, workshops, readings, and performance visits. All with the rigour and professional insight that are the hallmark of our creative writing teaching.
The scriptwriting strand of our world-renowned MA Creative Writing has three core modules.
Firstly, Dramaturgy, in which you’ll study the core conventions of drama as explored from Aristotle to McKee and as embodied in a range of plays, films, and TV programmes, from Antigone to I May Destroy You.
You’ll also take part in the Scriptwriting workshop, building upon your study of dramaturgical theory, where each week you’ll benefit from the scrutiny and feedback of your fellow writers and workshop leaders, such as the renowned scriptwriters Steve Waters, James McDermott, Ben Musgrave, and Sian Evans. You’ll incorporate this theory into your own writing practice in weekly creative development workshops, completing scriptwriting and planning exercises. Over the course of the workshop, you and your fellow writers will bring your exercises to the group for discussion and evaluation.
You’ll then go on to study the Process module, where you will explore the differing contexts of scriptwriting across media and develop a script for your choice of medium, building an idea from concept to realisation and exploring the modes of script development that are common practice for working writers.
Over the summer, you’ll also write a dissertation, under the supervision of a member of our faculty.
Study and Modules
You’ll take four taught modules (two in the autumn semester, two in spring) and write a dissertation during the summer, with tutorial supervision. This structure gets you writing from day one. From the moment you arrive, you’ll have the chance to engage with the work of your peers and study some of the most important plays and films in the repertoire.
In autumn semester, you’ll study Dramaturgy alongside your Creative Writing Workshop, giving you the chance to delve into dramaturgical theory as you develop your own writing voice, and critique one another’s work.
In spring semester, you’ll explore the industry across dramatic media, learning how to present and develop an idea. You’ll also choose an optional module from a range offered within the School (excluding other Creative Writing workshops), which includes modules such as Creative Encounters and Adaptation and Interpretation. These choices allow you to design your own course of study and enable you to extend the range of your learning, your fellow students, and indeed your breadth of ideas.
During the spring semester, you’ll also embark on your dissertation, benefiting from close supervision and advice as you write a full-length drama for the medium of your choice. You’ll create an original script, written to at least second draft stage, for stage, screen (TV or feature film), or radio. With expert supervision you’ll take your story from initial idea, through a series of drafts, to a fully-realised script. Along the way, you’ll have an extract workshopped and presented by performers to an invited audience of industry professionals. You’ll also be able to publish a short piece of your choice in our professionally produced anthology.
Throughout the year, you’ll have one-to-one supervision, whilst also working closely with your peers who’ll read your work and offer their notes. In addition, you’ll enhance your studies by attending screenings, theatre productions, and talks by visiting writers. In recent years these have included Christopher Hampton, Roy Williams, James Graham, Lucy Kirkwood, Simon Stephens, Winsome Pinnock, Deborah Davis, Alice Birch, Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Inua Ellams.
Optional A Modules(Credits: 20)
Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, the University will endeavour to consult with students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will inform students.
Teaching and Learning
You’ll benefit from a distinguished and experienced team of lecturers on this course, all of whom are working writers who are celebrated in their given media. Our team has included the lecturers below, listed with their research specialisms.
You’ll also benefit from regular masterclasses with professionals in the different dramatic media in our ‘ScriptXtra’ slot and your work will receive rehearsed readings and be showcased in events with invited guests from the industry.
Steve Waters is an acclaimed writer for stage, radio and screen. His plays include The Contingency Plan, (Sheffield Theatres, 2022), Temple (staged at the Donmar Warehouse, London, in 2015), and Limehouse, which opened in 2017 at the same venue. His interests include drama and ecology, evident in his research project 'Song of the Reed: Dramatising Conservation' and his acclaimed four-part Radio 4 drama 'Song of the Reed' starring Mark Rylance. His books include The Secret Life of Plays and A Life in 16 Films: How Cinema Made a Playwright.
James McDermott is an acclaimed playwright, screenwriter and poet, who graduated from UEA in 2016. Since then, his plays have included Rubber Ring and Time and Tide. In addition, James has written for Eastenders and published two volumes of poetry, Manatomy and GreenAppleRed.
Ben Musgrave is an award-winning playwright whose plays include the Bruntwood Prize-winning Pretend You Have Big Buildings, and Crushed Shells and Mud. His plays for BBC Radio 4 include The Last Missionary of Kanaipur, and Vital Signs.
Siân Evans is a highly successful writer for stage, screen and radio; she has translated plays for the Sheffield Crucible and Liverpool Playhouse, and has had plays produced by the National Theatre, Theatre Clwyd and the Arcola among others. She has written and devised original series for ITV and the BBC and was a staff writer on continuing series like Casualty and Holby City. She is currently writing her third libretto for the contemporary opera company NOISE.
Alongside your taught sessions, you’ll do independent reading, writing, and viewing throughout your MA. You’ll build towards working independently on your dissertation with supervision from one of our tutors. They’ll give you support and expert advice, guiding you through the different drafts of your script. You will receive one-to-one supervision at regular intervals as you progress from the conception to the culmination of your project.
You’ll be independently assessed for each module – through an analytical essay, original creative writing, and working process materials.
Your modules will be worth 20 credits each (with the exception of Research Methodology, which is worth 10 credits) and the dissertation is weighted at 90 credits.
- Degree Classification
- Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2:1
- Degree Subject
- Any subject
- English Foreign Language
Applications from students whose first language is not English are welcome. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):
IELTS: 7.0 overall (minimum 7.0 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components)
Test dates should be within 2 years of the course start date.
We also accept a number of other English language tests. Review our English Language Equivalencies for a list of qualifications that we may accept to meet this requirement.
If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:
Promising candidates will be invited to one of our online interview days, which are scheduled across the academic year. Typically a candidate will be interviewed by two members of the Creative Writing faculty and we aim to inform candidates of the outcome within five working days. Unsuccessful candidates are welcome to re-apply, though not within the same academic year. Successful candidates will either be offered a place for the forthcoming academic year or a place for the following academic year (if it is felt that they need more time to develop as a writer). Once the forthcoming year is ‘full’ candidates will be offered a place on our reserve list with the option of a place for the following academic year if a place does not become available.
This course is open to UK and International applicants. The annual intake for this course is in September each year .
Please note that those candidates offered a place on the course will not be able to defer their offer to the next year if they are unable to take up the offer of a place, however they are welcome to reapply the next year.
Additional Information or Requirements
Candidates are required to submit a portfolio of writing for assessment with their application - up to 30 pages of dramatic script/screenplay.
Our Admissions Policy applies to the admissions of all postgraduate applicants.
Fees and Funding
Tuition fees for the Academic Year 2024/25 are:
UK Students: £9,975 (full time)
International Students: £21,200 (full time)
If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home students).
We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month.
Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.
Scholarships and Bursaries
The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.
Course Related Costs
Please see Additional Course Fees for details of course-related costs.
How to Apply
Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.
To apply please use our online application form.
If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying, please do contact us:
Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.
After the Course
Graduates of the course have a variety of related careers. Some are acclaimed playwrights for the stage, such as EV Crowe and Bruntwood Prize winner Janice Okoh, or nominees such as Patrick Hughes and Martha Loader; some are Oscar-nominated screenwriters like Deborah Davis; some are writer/performers who make films and sitcoms, such as James McDermott; some, like Paul Farrell and Rob Kinsman, work on television series such as Waking the Dead or Doctors; and others, like Mags Chalcraft go on to take up a PhD. Our graduates have gone on to win BAFTAs, and work in radio, teaching and script editing – even running other MAs.
A degree at UEA will prepare you for a wide variety of careers. We've been ranked 1st for Job Prospects by StudentCrowd in 2022.
Example of careers that you could enter include:
Playwright, screenwriter or radio writer
Theatre outreach officer
Discover more on our Careers webpages.