MLitt in Playwriting and Screenwriting

General

Program Description

The MLitt in Playwriting and Screenwriting provides a gateway into the professional world of writing for stage, radio or screen.

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Course information

The MLitt in Playwriting and Screenwriting is a one-year taught programme run by the School of English. In this course, you will develop your skills in writing for radio, theatre and screen with an emphasis on your individual voice and style.

You will graduate with a portfolio of pieces and an understanding of how to approach theatres, secure commissions and work as a playwright.

The MLitt will provide you with technically-oriented tuition by leading contemporary playwrights and world-class academics, with an emphasis on best practice in recent and contemporary writing.

Highlights

  • Individual mentors help you to hone your creative practice and to further develop your expressive voice.
  • The course emphasises best practice in recent and contemporary writing, and modules are taught by award-winning professional playwrights.
  • Small class sizes of no more than ten students allow for extremely high levels of individual attention.
  • The course is normally delivered in the Byre Theatre Studio, making full use of a professional theatre.
  • Students have the opportunity to meet and work with professional theatre directors, actors and writers while studying in St Andrews.

Teaching format

The course consists of two semesters with taught components followed by an individual creative writing project taking place over the whole year, but with particular focus during the last three months.

Teaching methods include weekly seminars, dramaturgy workshops and individual tutorials. Class sizes typically range from three to ten students, ensuring high levels of individual attention. Modules are assessed through sample scenes, play scripts, screenplays and essays. 

Students will normally participate in a number of theatre visits and will be required to meet additional costs of approximately £200.

Modules

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2020–2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

Compulsory

  • Writing for Performance 1 and 2: introduces key playwriting and screenwriting skills as well as writing for younger audiences and radio.
  • Research Skills for Creative Writers: an introduction to primary skills such as proofreading and copy-editing; the literary marketplace, and the roles of editors, publishers, agents and festival organisers; the use of IT resources and library materials.

Dissertation

In August, students will submit an original piece of writing of about 45 minutes of performance time (8,000 to 10,000 words). This should be developed in consultation with a supervisor.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2021 entry. 

Conferences and events

The School of English hosts research events through its four research groups:

  • Creative Writing
  • 18th Century, Romantic and Victorian
  • Medieval and Renaissance
  • Modern and Contemporary

The School of English normally also hosts an annual colloquium. Recent themes have been:

  • The English Legal Imaginary, 1500-1700
  • Bannockburn, 1914: Anniversary culture, war and national identity in Scotland
  • Opera and Fiction
  • World Literature and Dissent
  • (Un)Civil War?
  • John Keats and Romantic Scotland
  • Libraries in Literature.

The Postgraduate Forum offers postgraduates the opportunity to present research in progress to a group of their peers.

Funding

All School of English study applicants will be given access to the My Application portal. The Scholarships and Funding area of the portal includes an online catalogue through which you can apply for available relevant awards.

Recent Graduate Discount

The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. However, a candidate who demonstrates outstanding writing abilities may be accepted on the basis of an equivalent qualification (e.g. a body of published work or relevant professional qualification), but such cases are entirely at the discretion of staff and require decanal approval.
  • If you studied your first degree outside the UK, check the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency. 

The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • Supplementary application to School of English (Word)
  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date
  • Academic critical essay on an English literature topic (approximately 2,000 words)
  • Portfolio of original playwriting or screenwriting (10 to 15 pages)
  • Two original signed academic references
  • Academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

After the MLitt

Research degrees

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year Playwriting and Screenwriting Master of Fine Arts (MFA).

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrew's. 

Careers

Graduates of the course have gone on to become published writers or pursue careers in a range of sectors including journalism, marketing, publishing and teaching.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete Uni ... Read More

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete University Guide 2019, and 2nd overall in the UK (Guardian Good University Guide 2019). Read less
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