Playwriting and Screenwriting (MLitt) 2020 entry

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

Those interested in writing prose or poetry may instead wish to consider taking the Creative Writing MLitt.

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Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course dates

  • Start date: 7 September 2020
  • End date: 30 September 2021

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. At the discretion of staff, this requirement may occasionally be waived for candidates who demonstrate exceptional talent in their creative submission.
  • If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative 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.

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Tuition fees

UK and EU: £9,450
Overseas: £19,400

Application deadline

31 January 2020 for those also applying for School of English scholarships; 1 June 2020 for all other applicants. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

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).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Upcoming postgraduate visiting days:

  • Wednesday 11 March 2020

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Virtual events

Find out more about studying at St Andrews, why it's unique and what it will do for your future.

Upcoming virtual events:

  • Friday 22 November at 9.15am (UK time)
  • Friday 29 November at 3.15pm (UK time)
  • Thursday 5 December at 9.15am (UK time)
  • Thursday 12 December at 3.15pm (UK time)

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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.

Those interested in writing prose or poetry may instead wish to consider taking the Creative Writing MLitt.

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

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.

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 2019–2020 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.

  • 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 into gathering IT resources and library materials; primary skills such as proofreading, copy-editing and basic literary theory; the literary marketplace, and the roles of editors, publishers, agents and festival organisers.

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 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Conferences and events

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

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. 

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships. 

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.

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 Andrews. 

PhD in English

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.

Contact information

School of English
University of St Andrews
Castle House
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2668
Email: pgeng@st-andrews.ac.uk

English website

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).