The skills of storytelling are timeless. Tackle the creative, analytical and professional sides of script writing for film, television and radio on this industry-accredited MA.
With myriad new media platforms there are more opportunities to create content than ever before. And all these require a script and a story. But how do you get your work to industry-standard and in front of the right people?
The questions we explore
The main question you have to ask yourself for this MA programme is: do I really need to be a writer more than anything else? That’s quite brutal, but script writing is a tough profession. You’re totally exposed as a creative person, it’s you and the page and the tradition in which you’re working, and that can be a liberating but also uncomfortable place to be.
The processes we use
The programme is not about learning how to be a writer; it’s about developing and pushing forward your own writing projects as far and as fast as you can within 12 months. You’ll be developing your own voice, learning how to critique the work of others, and getting to grips with marketing your projects. You’ll also be making industry contacts so you can pitch for employment in an extremely competitive industry.
You’ll cover every aspect of the writing process from getting ideas, maintaining productive writing practices and developing characters and story lines, to presenting your work to an industry standard and pitching your ideas. Writing is a lonely business – that’s why the community of writers that the programme gives you is such a creative advantage.
The approach we take
This is an MA that really focuses on you as the student. There are lectures, but most of the time you’ll be working one-to-one with a writing tutor or within small group workshops (with a maximum of 13 people).
We keep the course small deliberately. In this way we know your individual work and you know other students’ work through the weekly feedback process. We also believe you don’t know who you are until you’re relating to another person, and ultimately this is what script writing is about: making that connection.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Philip Palmer
Modules & structure
A core course is designed to give you the skills and understanding required to develop your Treatment for a feature film or equivalent television or radio script. The course is taught mostly with workshops, in which you present and discuss your own work with other students in a supportive environment. There are also class exercises, lectures, screenings, master classes, seminars and individual tutorials.
Starting in the Spring Term, the course then develops your Treatment into a second draft feature script (or its equivalent).
You'll then be able to pick from a selection of option modules.
The MA is composed of:
|Long Form Script (Scriptwriting Portfolio)||90 credits|
|Sound Story Telling and Intertextuality of Narrative||15 credits|
You also take a Reflection Essay (15 credits), and two of the following option modules:
|Adaptation and Script Editing||30|
|Strategies in World Cinema||15|
|Filmmakers Make Theory||15|
|Social Activist Film||15 credits|
|Representing Reality||15 credits|
|Sound Design Fundamentals||15 credits|
|Camera Fundamentals||15 credits|
|Film Producing Fundamentals||15 credits|
|Visual Storytelling||15 credits|
|Doctor Holby: Writing for Existing Continuing TV Drama Series||15 credits|
You are assessed on your portfolio, which consists of your long form treatment and second draft feature script or equivalent, your 4,000-word Reflection essay on this script, linked to issues in Media and Culture and a radio script adapted from a source text. In addition, depending on your options, your portfolio could also include a 10-12 page short script or script-editing proposal and coverage. Other modules are assessed by 5-6,000-word essays.
Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
We are ranked:
27th in the world for communication and media studies**
1st in the UK for the quality of our research***
Media and Communications
We’ve also been ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top graduate universities for media professionals, because so many of our graduates go on to find jobs in the industry.
The department includes some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – the pioneers of media, communications and cultural studies. They actively teach on our programmes, and will introduce you to current research and debate in these areas. And many of our practice tutors are industry professionals active in TV, film, journalism, radio and animation.
We also run EastLondonLines.co.uk – our 24/7 student news website – which gives students the opportunity to gain experience working in a real-time news environment.
And we run regular public events featuring world-renowned writers and practitioners that have recently included Danny Boyle, Gurinda Chadha, Noel Clark and Tessa Ross. So you’ll get to experience the latest developments and debates in the industry.
Find out more about the Department of Media and Communications.
**QS World University Rankings by subject 2016
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
At the end of the Summer Term every year MA Scriptwriting students organise and present a showcase for their work.
This consists of the first ten pages of the feature or TV script in a table read with professional actors. Friends, family and industry professionals are invited.
Samples of student work
MA Script Showcase Video Recordings, July 2013
- Rebecca Hudson
- Azrain Arifin
- Sanjit Randhawa
- Alan Flanagan
- Beate Groetsch
- Anna Forsyth
- John Johnson (start's with Anna's)
- Moisés Aisemberg
- Debbie Akinbola (starts with Moisés)
- Rogerio Correa
- Sian Astor-Lewis
At the end of the first term there is also a table read - Short Film Readings 2013
Alumni from the programme often go onto work together afterwards, as with Screen Rebels.
Skills & careers
MA Script Writing is all about the product. So when you complete this masters, you leave with a whole portfolio of writing, a set of professional skills, a list of industry contacts, and a set of professional friendships through the Goldsmiths Screen School.
The programme gives you a safe, supportive and stimulating environment to unpack your ideas, get constructive feedback, make mistakes, and find the story you want to tell. In the end though, it’s down to you as an individual to become the writer you want to be.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject and you should be able to demonstrate a commitment to creative writing and a level of practical experience.
You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 7.0 (including 7.0 in the written test)
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
- The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
Please include: evidence of your writing – and preferably your script writing abilities – either in the form of a draft ten-page short script, or opening ten pages of a longer script; or a ten-page short story; and several one-page ideas for short fiction and feature scripts you would like to consider for development and writing on the programme.
When submitting your application, please also submit (upload under 'additional') an example of your recent work in a related field, or include links to a page hosting that work. Failing which, please post an example of that work to: Admissions Office, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK. Please make sure you include your application reference number (which you will receive when you enter your online application) and the MA degree title. Please see ‘Returning your work’.
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
When to apply
We accept applications from 1 October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.
We 'batch' applications for this programme. This means that we'll wait until the closing date and then assess all applications together, to make sure they receive equal consideration. Therefore you won't receive a decision from us until after the closing date.
Find out more about applying.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Find out more about tuition fees.
The Olive Till Memorial Bursary
Since 2003 this bursary been offered to one female student on this course each year. Once an offer of a place has been accepted, the application for this contribution towards fees is by letter, as advised by the course convenor.
UK students offered a place on this course are eligible for the BAFTA UK Scholarships Programme.