TV and Radio Scriptwriting

Part-time study available
Based at MediaCityUK
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study TV and Radio Scriptwriting at Salford


Work within a heavily script centred programme that mirrors industry practice and reflects the industry’s need for originality and commercial viability in modern media storytelling.


Participate in masterclasses run by industry professionals   and work on a one-to-one basis with an experienced professional scriptwriter on your final MA project .


Study at our MediaCityUK campus with state of the art facilities and industry links.

Course Summary

This is an intensive, hands-on writing course that is ideal if you want to specialise in dramatic scriptwriting for television and radio.

The course is aimed at you if you have scriptwriting potential or wish to develop your television and radio writing skills to professional standards. During your time with us, you will enhance your knowledge of storytelling and the demands of television and radio, with the goal of mobilising your creative potential for the 21st-century scriptwriting marketplace.

Course Details

This course enables you to develop your professional scriptwriting goals by providing the opportunity for you to learn not just scriptwriting skills but an awareness of the demands of the broadcast industries served by these skills and how to address an audience through genres developed specifically for broadcast media. You will be enabled to work autonomously and in groups to solve problems of storytelling, plot and characterisation and to demonstrate an awareness of the commercial demands of the industries you will serve. 

The ability to advance your knowledge of scriptwriting and the industries of television and radio are provided on this course and you will also experience the opportunity to develop new skills such as pitching script and story ideas and communicating in more traditional academic formats like essays alongside your existing scriptwriting ability. Issues of employment are addressed in modules where you will develop an appreciation of the existing broadcasting landscape and also through the provision of optional modules in year two which enables you to acquire dedicated training in scriptwriting for genres or working in a collaborative creative environment.

Course Structure

This course is taught on a part-time basis, with teaching delivered on a Thursday evening. The Masters award consists of four core taught modules followed by the MA Project (60 credits). The PgDip requires the completion of four core modules. The PgCert requires completion of the first two core taught modules. All modules are delivered over a 12 week semester.

Year 1, Semester 1

You will study narrative theory and look at a variety of case studies from contemporary television and radio across a number of different forms and genres. You will study the principles of classical dramatic story-telling and examine theme, structure and plotting. Characterisation and dialogue will be discussed in terms of personality development, intentionality and narrative progression. To develop writing technique, students will script seven assignments in ten weeks.

Year 1, Semester 2

The political, social and cultural context of contemporary television drama production and commissioning will be explored through initial lectures. Issues such as the collapse in boundaries between cinematic genres and television forms, the internet and on-demand television, will aim to place the contemporary screenwriter in an industrial context. You will devise an original 6-part television series, write a pilot treatment and write up this pilot to second draft stage. Feedback will occur in workshop sessions.

Year 2, Semester 1

Students will collaboratively develop and write either a television or radio series. The process begins with students pitching ideas for the series they will write. The determination of which idea to develop in the module will be determined by originality, commerciality, genre, potential for development and the consensus of the class. Theme is then determined and character development and storyline development begins. The physical world of the series is established. As character development reaches lockdown the emotional world of each character is also created. Once character and storyline development are determined an episode breakdown is decided and individual episodes are assigned to students. Students then write story outline which is submitted and work-shopped in class. This is followed by a step outline and 1st draft script which are also both work-shopped. At the end of the semester a portfolio is submitted. The Portfolio assignment will vary depending on roles in the development team and may include a story pitch, episodes breakdown, episode summaries, character studies, breakdown sheets, character storylines, mood boards, location plans, story outlines and step outlines. All students will write one episode of the developed project to second draft stage.        

Year 2, Semester 2

Each student brings in a slate of project ideas they wish to develop as their MA Project. In discussion with other students in the group the slate is, through a process of selection defined by creative, commercial and genre determinants, reduced to a single story idea. The student then writes up a series of developmental documents which are used to progressively flesh out the story idea. These are a treatment, character storylines, story outlines and step outlines. At each step the documents are work-shopped by the group. Issues are identified and various solutions proposed. The key for the success of the Project is the creative choices the student chooses to utilise as the narrative develops. At the end of the module the student will have a Portfolio that will allow them to confidently begin their MA Television and Radio Project module.

Year 3

Based on the narrative developed in Creative Script Development Project, students will have regular one-to one tutorials with professional mentors in order to write a TV or radio script to 3rd draft stage. The Project may take a variety of forms but must have a minimum of 90 minutes of script text. The student will submit the Creative Development Project Portfolio to the industry mentor as a starting point on a discussion on the future progression of the narrative and the writing of the first draft. Tutorials will also occur after the completion of the 1st and 2nd draft. Previous advisors have included Paul Abbott (State of Play, Shameless, Clocking Off), Willy Russell (Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine), Carolyn Reynolds (Executive Producer Coronation Street; CEO, Lime Pictures), Tony Jordan (Life on Mars, Hustle, EastEnders), Mark Herman (Brassed Off, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas), Peter Baynham (Borat), Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions, 24 Hour Party People), Peter Bowker (From There to Here, Marvellous), Tony Marchant (The Whistle Blowers, Great Expectations), David Nobbs (Reginald Perrin, The Two Ronnies), Henry Normal (The Mighty Boosh, The Royle Family), and Debbie Horsfield (All the Small Things, Poldark).

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a BA honours degree. You are required to submit two pieces of writing work (at least one must be a film or television script) with your application form. There is no minimum length to submitted written work but all work must tell a complete story. Prospective students will then be invited to an interview.

Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 (with no element below 5.5) as proof of this.

Suitable For

Students come from a wide range of employment and educational backgrounds but what they all have in common is the potential to be a professional screenwriter. Ideally, you will have a passion for storytelling in all of its forms and a desire to communicate a message creatively to an audience. You will have some awareness of the different TV and radio programme formats and a willingness to share your work and learn from others.

Applicant profile

In your interview, you will need to demonstrate a passion for the craft of writing and an ability to generate ideas suitable for television and radio. Some awareness of the markets for these media is an advantage, along with an ability to accept constructive criticism of your work. A general awareness of the British television and radio industry and its recent output is considered to be fundamental.


This course mainly uses group readings of scripts and group feedback sessions as the predominant teaching tool. Every week, you share your writing work and it is discussed with other students and a member of staff. This not only encourages reflection on your writing style and script structure, but also enables you to learn to respond positively to constructive criticism. The course uses more traditional lectures and seminars for the modules that address issues of industry practice. As you become a more independent learner, you will also experience one-to-one feedback sessions with your supervisor with, for example, your MA final project.


  • Scripts (70%)
  • Essays (20%)
  • Reflective statements/critical analysis (10%)

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Colin Muir

Programme leader

Colin Muir was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1956. He studied American History at the University of Ulster and the University of Tennessee before gaining an MFA in Theatre Directing from the University of Connecticut and an MFA in Film and Television Directing from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Colin lived in the USA for over ten years and worked as a director, producer and scriptwriter in Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles before starting his own production company in Philadelphia.

He developed and has been programme leader for the MA in Television and Radio Scriptwriting since 1996 and the MA in Film Screenwriting since 2007.

His most recent project is a film script contracted to a French/UK co-production partnership.


As well as establishing themselves as successful scriptwriters, our graduates have also entered occupations including producer, storyliner, script editor, and story consultant with employers as diverse as Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, EA games, Hat Trick, Sony and SEGA.

Our graduates have predominately entered the scriptwriting and satellite professions in roles such as producer, script editor, storyliner, and story consultant as well as narrative director and narrative and speech design for video games. All of these professions involve knowledge not just of the detail of scriptwriting but also of industry practices and conventions. Richard Smith's Trauma starring Colin Firth and Mena Suvari was, we believe, the first MA script project to progress to feature film production. This was followed in 2016 by Anna Heinämaa’s, The Fencer, which was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Our graduates have worked on Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Shameless, Hollyoaks, The Street, Heartbeat and Doctors and have written plays for BBC Radio 4.

  • David Isaac's Lunch Monkeys (starring Nigel Havers) ran for two series on BBC 3.
  • Andrew Walsh won the 2009 Writer's Guild award for best video game with Prince of Persia.
  • In 2010, Hannah Pike won the BBC's New Writers Award.
  • In 2011, Bill Grundy won the BBC's New Writers Award.
  • David Arrowsmith became Head of development for Channel 5 in 2011. He is presently Head of Development for October Films.
  • In 2011 Rebecca Papworth was awarded the CTBF / UK Film Council John Brabourne Award. She has since become Executive Producer for Citizen Khan and Home from Home.
  • In 2015, Katie Mulgrew won the £10,000 Liverpool Hope playwriting prize.
  • In 2016, Anna Heinämaa’s film script, The Fencer, was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes.

Career Prospects

Alumni Profile

David Isaac came to the MA from a background as a solicitor. He had always been interested in writing, especially comedy, and was keen to explore the opportunities offered in scriptwriting. He benefited from the course's emphasis on regular writing exercises and group and individual feedback which resulted in the honing of his comedic writing skills and the importance of character, plot development and timing. He went on to write for BBC's Scallywagga and Lee Mack's sitcom Not Going Out, and these experiences led to his first writing commission, Lunch Monkeys, for BBC 3. This series was based on David's own experience of the legal profession and won him an RTS NorthWest Awards nomination for Best Scriptwriter. David is presently a Story Editor on Coronation Street.

Links with Industry

Industry links are a significant component of the course at present and their numbers are increasing all the time. This course is actively involved with the following companies: BBC, ITV, Granada, Baby Cow Productions, Red Productions,  Tightrope Productions, Lime Pictures.

These links provide opportunities to network with key industry figures and to get feedback on their work; to learn the demands the industry makes on writers; to be at the cutting edge of changes and developments that occur in the industry; and to develop mentoring relationships that may persist beyond the programme.

Further Study

Graduates could go on to further study at PhD level after the completion of this course. Academic analyses of the process of scriptwriting are growing and this is now an acknowledged field of academic enquiry. Other possibilities include PhDs in the field of the television and radio industry and/ or cultural history.

Fees and Funding

Fees 2016-17

Type of StudyFee
Part-timeUK/EU £1,017 per 30 credits, International £2,084 per 30 credits

Scholarships and Bursaries

We offer awards to help you study through our:

  • Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship
  • University of Salford student loyalty discount
  • Country bursary scheme for International students only

There are also other sources of funding available to you.

For more information please see our funding section