TV and Radio Scriptwriting
MA

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

3 good reasons to study TV and Radio Scriptwriting at Salford:

  • Study at our MediaCityUK campus in industry-leading facilities
  • Participate in masterclasses run by industry professionals
  • Work on a one-to-one basis with an experienced professional scriptwriter on your final MA project.

Key Information

Start Dates: September
Duration:

MA (two years, three months part-time)

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.

Related Courses

91% of Media, Music and Performance postgraduates go on to employment and/or further study within six months

DLHE 2009 and 2010

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 15 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.

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

A range of radio drama will be examined including one-off plays, series, serials, comedy and comedy drama in order to examine how story structure, character development, dialogue, sound effects and music all contribute to the creation of an aural environment that enhances the narrative. You will explore how variety and contrast in sound is used within a script's narrative structure to imaginatively engage with the listener to create powerful and atmospheric drama.

As well as writing an original radio script to third draft stage, you will have the opportunity to watch an excerpt of your script being performed at a radio recording studio.

Year 2, Semester 2

The module will begin with an examination of specific television genres and forms as a starting point for the analysis of narrative, structure, character, dialogue and the writing techniques that define the genre/form. You will engage in practical exercises designed to develop your skills in writing creative material in the appropriate genre/form. You will then develop an original story treatment in the appropriate genre/form. This is followed by a comprehensive story outline and a script to third draft stage.

Year 3

The MA Project is a 15-month process of developing a story from concept to a third draft stage script. The script can be in any form or genre from TV comedy to radio drama, from feature film to two-part series. In script development you will move from idea to treatment to outline. The outline is used to bring on board a professional advisor who will mentor you through the three drafts of your script. Past 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 (Blackpool, Single), Tony Marchant (The Whistle Blowers, Great Expectations), David Nobbs (Reginald Perrin, The Two Ronnies), Henry Normal (The Mighty Boosh, The Royle Family).

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

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.

International Students - Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

International Students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studying their course. You may need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions.

You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website at https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme with your JACS code which will be on your offer letter should you choose to make an application. If you cannot find it please contact International Conversion team at application@salford.ac.uk. If you have any queries relating directly to ATAS please contact the ATAS team on Salford-ATAS@salford.ac.uk.

You can apply for your ATAS Certificate via this link: https://www.atas.fco.gov.uk/

Teaching

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.

Assessment

  • 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 has been developing a police series with Lime Pictures.

Employability

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.

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

Recent graduate David Isaac's Lunch Monkeys (starring Nigel Havers) is in its second 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.

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 now firmly established in his new profession.

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, Granada, Baby Cow Productions, Ten Alps, Red Productions, Channel K, 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 course.

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 2014-15

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,314 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

Facilities

Watch our video

Take a guided tour of the University's facilities at MediaCityUK.