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Screenwriting for Television and Film (in Retreat)

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Screenwriting for Television and Film (in Retreat)


Please note that this degree is now closed for 2024 entry.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £9,000

International/EU fees**: £19,100

The course

Screenwriting for Television and Film (in Retreat) (MA)

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 primarily at our beautiful Egham Campus, near Windsor, but also involving some classes in Central London. 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.

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. 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.

International students will not be issued a Student Visa for this course, instead student will need to use seperate visitor Visas to complete the four week-long residential retreats in the UK.

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

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the industrial function of the development person and script editor in the process of production. You will learn how to present and pitch ideas, and how to give feedback in both verbal and written forms. You will consider how to assess and incorporate feedback on scripts and examine how to formulate feedback at all stages of development.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of screenplays for film and television. You will look at narrative and thematic structures for cinema and TV material and produce outlines for stories which have complex and developing narrative structures. You will examine the use of character, action, visual and location elements, and consider production requirements for screenplays.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how to move from a basic idea to a professionally worked through synopsis. You will learn how to present ideas for film and television, and how to evaluate their potential. You will consider how to develop the shape and structure of ideas into relevant forms of TV, film genres or forms and examine materials such as treatments, outlines, step-outlines, character-studies, plot-lines and series bibles.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of funding, budgets, marketing and the industrial issues which affect projects. You will write screenplays for film and TV and consider the principal issues that affect budgets, rights ownership and sales/market factors. You will discuss your screenplays in an informed and professional fashion in various film and TV industry contexts, including funding applications, project pitching, and general industry police debate. You will critically evaluate and argue for your own creative work within a marketing framework, with an appreciation of industrial viability.

  • This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.


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.


UK Honours degree or equivalent, in Literature, Theatre, Media or a related discipline.

Applicants will be required to 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.

Applicants will be interviewed.

International & EU requirements

English language requirements

MA Screenwriting for Television and Film (in Retreat) requires:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 6.5. Speaking 6.5. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 61. Speaking 61. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
  • TOEFL iBT: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 22 Writing 22.
  • Duolingo: 120 overall, 125 in literacy, 125 in conversation and production. No sub-score below 100. 

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 (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,000

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £19,100

Other essential costs***: Depending on where you are located, you are likely to incur travel and accommodation costs in order to participate in the four week-long residential retreats throughout the year. For more information please contact the Department of Media Arts.

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

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis in the academic year 2024/25. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase all postgraduate tuition fees annually, based on the UK’s Retail Price Index (RPI). Please therefore be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree (if longer than one year’s duration), and that this also means that the overall cost of studying the course part-time will be slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. For further information, please see our terms and conditions.

** This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25. Find out more 

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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