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BA (Hons) Screenwriting

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Call our Clearing Hotline on 01473 338352 or apply using our online form.

University buildings
UCAS code: 
W811
Institution code: 
S82
Location: 
Ipswich

Duration: 

Three years full-time.

Four and a half to nine years part-time.

Typical Offer: 

112 UCAS tariff points (or above),
BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC)

 

If you don’t meet the above entry requirements, we may still be able to consider you. If you’re interested in applying, call our Clearing Hotline to discuss your suitability for study.

 

  • Learn to write professional-quality screenplays for film and television through a programme of intensive writing workshops, with sessions designed to mirror industry practice.
  • Receive comprehensive feedback from award-winning screenwriters, script editors and accomplished visiting professionals.
  • Benefit from small class sizes, a nurturing environment and exceptional tutor support.
  • Graduate with a full-length ‘calling card’ script and all of the essential skills you need to launch a career as a successful screenwriter.
  • Get your own lifetime copy of Final Draft, the industry standard screenwriting software, as part of the course.

Introduction

Do you have an idea for a film or television show?

Have you been inspired by the latest cinematic blockbuster or hit Netflix series?

The BA (Hons) Screenwriting course at the University of Suffolk (UoS) is the perfect way to launch an exciting career writing for the big (or not so big) screen.

Here at UoS we specialise in writing for film and television. Our dedicated tutors and visiting lecturers are award-winning screenwriters and filmmakers, who provide expertise, practical techniques, and insider knowledge of the film and TV industry. You will receive unparalleled personal support and rigorous training to ensure that you graduate with all the skills and confidence you need to embark on a career as a professional screenwriter.

The degree will teach you how to write compelling and highly professional scripts for film, television and digital platforms. With assignments designed to mirror current industry practice throughout, we will show you how to nurture a story from initial idea to a polished final draft by using key development documents such as loglines, premises, character profiles, synopses, step-outlines and treatments. Along the way, our small workshop sizes ensure that you receive substantial and frequent feedback on your writing. You will also learn from some of the greatest screenplays ever written and hone your critical skills by evaluating your own and other students’ scripts.

In the final year, we support you to produce a full-length screenplay or a television pilot and series outline television episodes – an aspect that sets us apart from many other undergraduate screenwriting courses. We also equip you with all of the knowledge you need to succeed in your career as a screenwriter, including how to market yourself, find an agent, manage your income, and get your work produced.

In an era where streaming services dominate our viewing habits, the demand for innovative content, fresh voices and intelligent storytelling is stronger than ever. Join us here and discover the secrets to creating stories that producers want to commission and audiences will fall in love with. 

Course modules

The first year provides skills that will be invaluable during the rest of the course and beyond. You will learn about professional script formatting, how to structure an effective story and how to create characters that spring off the page. You will also interrogate the key differences in writing for television and radio and explore a range of different genres, audiences and styles.

During year two you will enhance your creative and critical abilities, resulting in the creation of a diverse range of scripts, exercises and essays. You will be taught how to negotiate the challenges of writing adaptations and short films, produce a complete TV drama episode and series bible, learn about writing for sitcoms, docudramas and soaps, and begin to master longer script sequences. There is also the opportunity to have your work made by our Digital Film Production students and receive your first production credit.

In the third year, there is a stronger focus on the interests you have developed throughout the course, and preparation for your writing career post-graduation. This includes the final project: a complete 90-to-120-page feature script or a 60-page television pilot, which showcases all of the skills you have gained during your degree. You also have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of your choice, which may include screenwriting theory, the work of a filmmaker or screenwriter you admire, or a series of films that inspires you.

Click on the links below for more information about the individual modules.

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Developing Screen Ideas

This module introduces students to the developmental process in the film industry and is fundamentally concerned with the generation of ideas and the creative processes involved in their realisation.

Film Studies One: Analysis and Issues

This introductory module is designed to stimulate students' intellectual curiosity. It will develop students' critical knowledge and skills base in ways which complement and inform the conceptual and practical work being done in other Level 4 modules. The module introduces Film Studies as an academic discipline, provides students with a toolkit of concepts for close analysis of a range of film texts and genres, links concepts to longstanding issues in film criticism and theory, and sets students on the path of historical and contextual film enquiry through the study of a diverse range of films.

Creating Memorable Characters

This module introduces students to the importance of character development and its centrality within the screenwriting process as a whole. While links are made to the importance of narrative structure, students will focus on how story can be developed through character rather than plotting. Thus, this module complements and supports the concurrent work in Developing Screen Ideas, which is more focussed on narrative structure and industry.

Film Studies Two: Film History

This introductory module is coupled with and follows directly on from Film Studies One. The module is designed to stimulate students’ intellectual curiosity in the field of Film Studies. It develops students’ critical knowledge and skills base in ways which complement and inform the conceptual and practical work being done in Video Practice and Production: Introduction, as well as students’ work in the other Level 4 modules.

Screenwriting Film Genre

Throughout the semester students develop their knowledge and understanding of how genres evolve, and the debates surrounding the classification of genres. Students develop in-depth knowledge of three to four key genres in film, and the codes and conventions associated with them through the critical analysis of a number of feature-length produced scripts. The genres studied may include, for example, horror, thriller, romantic-comedy, western, or science fiction.

Introduction to Writing Television and Radio Drama

This module introduces students to writing drama for television and radio. It is designed to build on students’ knowledge of character development and story structure and design gained from the Creating Memorable Characters and Developing Screen Ideas modules.

Adaptation and Interpretation

This module explores how literary texts can be adapted for the screen. Students consider filmic rewritings of major literary forms including drama, the novel and short fiction and engage in the debate about the ‘fidelity’ of adaptation. The module combines a theoretical approach to the study of adaptation with contextual approaches to specific films, presented as case studies.

Writing for Television

This module uses the introductory knowledge of writing television drama from level four, and theoretical knowledge students gained in the autumn semester in Television: Contextual and Critical Studies as a foundation for students to develop their own ideas and scripts within the medium of television.

Contemporary Television: Studies in Format and Genre

This module builds on students’ knowledge of critical textual studies from the first year modules Film Studies One: Analysis and Issues and Film Studies Two: Film History, and serves to introduce students to the critical study of television.

Screenwriting: The Ten Minute Short

This module explores the theory and practice of writing for the screen, specifically the 10-minute short. Students engage with key practical manuals and critical studies of the screenwriting process and study a range of globally diverse shorts. The culmination of this work is the production of a 10-page screenplay, which is filmed by the Digital Film Production students in semester two.

Researching Film: Theories and Methods

This Level 5 module is designed to continue the focus on textual and contextual study and the development of subject-specific and generic skills established especially in Level 4 Film Studies: Analysis, Issues and History. As with the Film Studies module, it develops students’ critical knowledge and skills base in ways which complement and inform the conceptual and practical work being done in the Level 5 Video Practice and Production: Documentary and Drama.

Screenwriting Workshop

This module consolidates knowledge and skills relating to form, structure, style, character, genre, setting and visual writing, which students have acquired in previous screenwriting modules, and ensures they are able to understand and use concepts they may have yet to use in quite so much detail such as subtext, dramatic irony and theme.

Dissertation

This year-long module represents the culmination of students’ critical development on the course. It provides an opportunity for students to explore a chosen area of Film studies. Students design and carry out a sustained and coherent piece of independent research in an area of scholarship that they wish to pursue.

Development and Story Design: Final Project

This module builds on students’ knowledge of the development, story design and outlining processes in screenwriting and is fundamentally concerned with the generation of ideas and the creative and practical processes involved in their realisation. Students develop ideas for a feature film. In intensive weekly workshop and feedback sessions students submit development documents such as premises, outlines, treatments, step-outlines, synopses and draft script pages for critique by their peers and module tutor.

Screenwriting: Final Project

This module uses the summative work from the Development and Story Design: Final Project module as a point of departure, and represents the culmination of students’ creative and self-reflexive development in screenwriting. It provides an opportunity for students to write the original feature-length film script or TV pilot and series they developed during the autumn semester.

Students receive notes and feedback from their tutor on their first and second drafts, and then for their third draft they receive an industry script reader’s report, which is provided by Industrial Scripts.

Founded in 2010 by a Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures script consultant, Industrial Scripts is now one of the world’s leading script development companies. The company is unique in its sector, having been reviewed over 1,000 times on Google-recognised independent reviews sites.

On completion, students will have an extended piece of work, which can be used as a ‘calling card’ script.

Professional Practice

This module will provide an opportunity for students to research progression routes into a career in screenwriting and / or related fields where they could transfer their skills, and will also develop the knowledge and skills that underpin their own creative, professional and personal self-development. Building upon level four and five practical screenwriting modules, this module prepares students for professional life after graduation and establishes the skills and resources needed to develop a sustainable practice and work in either a self-employed or employed capacity. 

Career opportunities

With the evolution of digital technology, there has been a shift in the definition of screenwriting. Since we now live in a primarily visual culture, narratives and content are in great demand across a variety of platforms. Where screenwriting was once niche to cinema and television, it is now sought after by a diverse range of employers.

From webisodes and online games to content marketing, advertising and digital corporate communication, this is opening up opportunities for graduates with the right combination of critical and creative skills.  

The skills you learn are also highly transferable, serving as a springboard into a variety of roles – from Screenwriter, Script Researcher, Script Editor and Storyliner to Producer, Advertising Account Executive, Market Researcher, Teacher, Cinema Manager or Film Critic. Here's a helpful list of other careers in the industry that you may choose to pursue.

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.  

Fees and finance

2020-21

  • Full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a.
  • Part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (Please contact the Infozone for further information)
  • International tuition fee: £11,790 p.a.

Further Information

  • Tuition Fees
  • Financial Support 
  • Loans and Grants
  • At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for. 

Entry requirements

Staff

Senior Lecturer and Course Leader in Digital Film Production and Screenwriting

Senior Lecturer in Digital Film Production

Lecturer in Digital Film Production

Lecturer in Film

Lecturer in Film

Facilities and Resources

As well as our superb teaching team, which includes specialists in screenwriting and filmmaking, we offer an inspiring learning environment.

Based in the Waterfront Building, overlooking the marina in Ipswich, you have stunning surroundings that serve as inspiration and the lively social scene where lifelong friendships are made.

Working with the Digital Film degree students, your work will be produced using our range of industry-standard equipment and software as well as our large multipurpose production studio.

Suffolk is renowned for its exceptional cultural events such as Aldeburgh DocFest, which has attracted famous names such as Bill Nighy, Joanna Lumley, Louis Theroux and John Sergeant. Every July Latitude Festival offers the opportunity to see documentaries, discussions and debut screenings.