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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Postgraduate > Screenwriting for Television and Film (in Retreat)
More in this section Media Arts

Screenwriting for Television and Film (in Retreat) MA

UCAS code
Year of entry 2017
View 2018 entry »
Course Length
1 year full time
Department Media Arts »


During the MA in Screenwriting for Television and Film (in Retreat) you will cover writing for feature film and television as well as new developments such as web drama. You will develop a range of ideas, then go on to write film and television outlines, and several drafts of a feature film screenplay, a TV single drama, or a TV series or serial bible and sample episodes.

Commencing in September, you will be taught through a mixture of intensive writing retreats and distance learning techniques, including Skype and our dedicated online learning environment, Moodle.  The course includes four week-long residential retreats throughout one year (full time), with some taking place in Central London and others at our beautiful Egham Campus, near Windsor. This structure immerses you in a creative atmosphere conducive to concentrated learning and group interaction, with Development Lab as a core module, where you will present your work in progress to the group for criticism and feedback, and experiment with co-writing.

Between retreats the course is run via distance-learning with a website, chat room and e-tutorials. This makes it possible for those living outside the UK, and those with busy working lives, such as freelancers and those in full-time employment, to take time out to attend. The course attracts a wide variety of students including those wishing to make a career change from other sectors through to established actors, comedy writers, editors, producers, novelists and many others.

You will also meet and work with industry and independent producers, directors, agents, writers and actors to provide a production context.

  • You'll come to us for four week-long retreats, over the course of a (full-time) year. Between retreats, you'll learn from home via a website, chatroom and tutorials.
  • You'll learn as part of our creative campus, in a department with combined expertise in both Media theory and Media practice, rated in the top 10 Media Arts departments for research quality (REF, 2014)
  • You'll get to bounce your ideas off other people – core to the course is a 'writers' room' space, where students present their works-in-progress to each other for criticism and feedback. You'll also get to experiment with co-writing.
  • You'll learn from course director Ivan Levene, a screenwriter and script editor with over 15 years of experience in the industry. The teaching team includes Adam Ganz (whose dramas include Pillow Talk and Murder Without Motive), Jonathan Powell (former Controller of BBC One and Head of BBC Drama), Gillian Gordon (award-winning producer with 30 years experience) and John Roberts (BAFTA award winning director of Paulie).
  • You'll meet and work with industry and independent producers, directors, agents, writers and actors. Recent speakers include experts from the BBC, Bad Robot Productions, Bankside Films, Casarotto Ramsay and United Agents as well as as well as directors such as Daniel Wolfe (Catch Me Daddy) and Sarah Gavron (Suffragette).

Core modules

Script Craft

Story and Theme

Development Lab

Optional modules

Contexts: Current Film and Television Practice

Contexts: Current Film and Television Practice (placement)

Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff.

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including script outlines and scenes, a completed feature film screenplay and/or TV series episode and ‘bible’, and marketing and pitch documents.

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent, in Literature, Theatre, Media or a related discipline.

Students with degrees in other subjects will also be considered, as will those with relevant professional or creative experience in fiction writing, the film and TV media, theatre, radio or journalism.

Submit up to 50 pages of creating writing, preferably pieces intended for film or television and in film/TV format, though other forms of creating writing such as short stories or plays will also be acceptable

English language requirements:

IELTS score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and no sub-score below 5.5, for non-native English speaking applicants.


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

 Additional information:

  • you will be required to submit up to 50 pages of creative writing, preferably pieces intended for film or television and in film/TV format, though other forms of creative writing such as short stories or plays will also be acceptable.

A successful applicant will usually:

  • have experience in creative writing and an interest in the film and television industries
  • be very motivated; in the periods between teaching, you will work independently on writing assignments, supported by on-line tutorials and by a dedicated website with an e-notice board and chat-room.

You'll be set for a career in television and feature film screenwriting and script development. Graduates with work in film and TV include:

  • Janice Hallett's feature screenplay Retreat, starring Cillian Murphy (2011).
  • Olivia Wakeford wrote for the feature film Baseline (2009).
  • Kay Stonham was commissioned by the BBC, and two of our younger writers are working on a C5 youth drama series. 
  • Adam Rolston's musical, A Sentimental Journey, on Doris Day's life performed at a variety of UK and US venues.
  • Daniel Wolfe directed and co-wrote Catch Me Daddy, released to critical acclaim in 2015.
  • Sir Lenny Henry wrote and starred in the autobiographical drama, Danny and the Human Zoo, for BBC 1.

Other students from our department have gone on to work in independent television and film production, for broadcasters like the BBC and ITV, and for distributors, exhibitors, talent agencies and entertainment lawyers.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £7,000

Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £14,500

Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5 per cent for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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