Mode of StudyFull-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start dateSeptember 2023
Blend your love of film with your passion for writing on our BA (Hons) Screenwriting degree course.
You'll write scripts, see your work produced on screen, study screenplays and hone your writing skills with industry-experienced lecturers and mentors. You'll explore theories and genres of film and writing through history, study how they might evolve in the future, and experience the craft of filmmaking both as critic and creator.
Through close integration with our film production degrees, you'll discover how screenwriting interconnects to other specialisms within filmmaking, preparing you to write short stories, create scripts and produce screenplays with industry-wide insight.
You'll have the chance to learn practical production skills (such as camera work and editing) that'll enrich your ability to tell stories through film and enable you to produce your own screenplays from start to finish. Collaborating with drama and performance students, you’ll see your scripts brought to life on screen.
Once you graduate, you'll have skills that will set you on the path for a career in the creative sector, particularly the film industry as a screenwriter, script editor, researcher, producer or showrunner. Other career paths include journalism, marketing, public relations and teaching.
- Learn the skills essential for a screenwriting career, including script timing and editing, continuity, researching, and using industry-standard scriptwriting software
- Be taught by an expert teaching team that includes professional screenwriters with national and international experience, plus published novelists and journalists, prestigious magazine editors, script editors, academic researchers, and performance poets
- Get the opportunity to collaborate with film production, television production, performance, theatre and other writing students within the thriving and creative schools of Film, Media and Communication and Art, Design and Performance
- Discover how screenplays and scripts come to life by trying your hand at camera work, editing and short filmmaking, and have the option to achieve Avid Media Composer editing certification
- Take part in Portsmouth's annual Comic Con for the latest developments in creative writing and literature, popular culture, fan communities, and technology – course lecturers and students are panellists
- Benefit from our active connections with children’s TV and soap opera creators, and local independent creatives at No6 Cinema and Making Waves film festival
- Build your writing portfolio by contributing to our course blog The Eldon Review and hyperlocal news zine Star & Crescent
- Take advantage of great transport links to London - ideal for networking with agents and industry contacts
- Gain valuable professional experience by taking an optional placement in the creative industries
- Experience another culture and way of learning by studying abroad for a year or a single semester
- Boost your lingual abilities by learning a language with our extra-curricular Institute-Wide Language Programme – and earn credits for it
BA (Hons) Screenwriting requirements
- A levels – ABB–BBC
- UCAS points – 112-128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
- T levels – Merit
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
- International Baccalaureate – 25-26
You may need to have studied specific subjects – see full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept
Applicants without relevant qualifications will be requested to provide a portfolio to support their application.
For more information on how to put together a portfolio, read our Creative Writing courses portfolio guide.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
How to prepare for this course
Here are two ways you can get ready for all the exciting writing you'll be doing over the next three years.
We have some recommended titles you can check out:
- ‘The Artist’s Way’ (Julia Cameron)
- ‘Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them’ (John Yorke)
- ‘Story’ (Robert McKee)
All of these appear in this course’s module reading list, so buying them could be worthwhile – or you could wait until you can access them in our University Library or on our Moodle pages after starting this course.
You can also read freely available screenplays and scripts online to help you become familiar with how they work.
Write every day; don’t throw any of it away.
Writing's the easiest and most important way to prepare for a screenwriting course. The more you write, the more you’ll:
- discover your voice
- hone your technique
- become more self-reflective
You don’t have to pen a major publication or a future blockbuster screenplay either. You can start small by keeping a diary, journal, or setting up your own blog, and adding entries to those.
Careers and opportunities
The UK film and TV industries are thriving - production hubs have formed across the country in locations including Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham, and a record-breaking £5.6 billion has been invested in new content for the big and small screens since 2020 (British Film Institute).
As well as preparing you for opportunities as a new screenwriter [soaps and children’s TV are both great starting areas for new writers], this degree will make you an excellent candidate for other related roles in this flourishing industry.
You'll have the critical awareness, creative ability and project management skills to go after graduate roles in script editing, researching, development production and showrunning, or to work in other creative media besides film, television and the stage, such as video games and graphic novels.
You can also continue your studies to postgraduate level or take further teacher training to work in education.
Areas graduates from our creative industries courses have worked in include:
- film and television
- radio and theatre
- advertising and marketing
- arts and events management
- local and community broadcasting
- stand-up comedy
- travel industry
Roles graduates from our creative industries courses have gone onto include:
- script editor
- theatre manager
- editorial assistant
Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate
Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.
Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.
Placement year (optional)
Between your second and third year, you can complete an optional work placement to gain professional experience and enhance your skills. It's also a great incentive for employers once you graduate.
You can work for a company, organisation or agency, or you can go self-employed and start your own business with fellow students or by yourself.
Whatever you decide – or even if you just want some employability advice – our exclusive Creative Careers team can support you every step of the way.
Our in-faculty Creative Careers team has extensive recruitment experience and knows the creative sector well, making it easier for students to find placements within the creative industries.
They can guide you through every step of the application process, including:
- Searching for the ideal job through their database of vacancies
- Giving tips on how to write an interesting CV that will catch employers' attention, no matter the role
- Organising mock interviews, so you can hone your technique and familiarise yourself with the recruitment environment
- Writing your startup business proposal – if you're going down the self-employment route
The team will continue to give you support throughout your placement year.
Placement students on our creative industries courses have worked in a variety of roles in commerce, publishing, entertainment, and education, and for some of the most well-known broadcasting and tech companies, such as Sky, Disney and Sony UK. Others have chosen to work for themselves.
Among these experiences are:
- Digital content creator at the head office of a major retailer
- Trainee editorial assistants at The London Magazine and Star & Crescent
- Writing and publishing novellas and poetry collections as a freelancer
- Content writer for a Brixton music promotion company
- Teachers in schools
What you can do on a placement year
If you're thinking of doing a placement but not sure what role to take or where to go, we can steer you in a direction that fits your aspirations.
Check out our Creative Careers team's blog to find out where fellow film, media and communication students have interned during their studies.
What you'll study
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.
All modules below are worth 20 credits each.
- Telling Tales
- Tips, Tricks, Techniques
- Writing for The Film and TV Industries
- Film Craft
- Professional Development for Screenwriters
- Screen Debates
- Future Production
There are no optional modules in this year.
All modules below are worth 20 credits each.
- British Cinema
- World and Transnational Cinema
All modules below are worth 20 credits each except Film, Media and Communication Study Exchange, worth 60 credits.
- Fiction Film-Making
- Finding Form - Fiction
- Creative Writing for Film
- Institute-Wide Learning Programme (IWLP)
- Student Enterprise
- Creative Writing and Critical Thinking
- Professional Experience
- Engaged Citizenship Through Interdisciplinary Practice
- Factual Media Production
- Film and Ethics
- Film, Media and Communication Study Exchange (60 credits)
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in the industry. We'll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions.
You'll choose from the modules below to complete your work placement.
- Film, Media and Communication Study Abroad - Full Year (120 credits)
- CCI Work Placement - Full Year (40 credits)
- CCI Self-Employed Placement - Full Year (40 credits)
- CCI Placement Plus - Full Year (40 credits)
- Film, Media and Communication Study Abroad - Half Year (First Semester) (60 credits)
- Film, Media and Communication Study Abroad - Half Year (Second Semester) (60 credits)
For your dissertation, you'll choose one of the following modules. Each are worth 40 credits.
- Dissertation (Creative Writing)
- Dissertation (Film and Media)
You'll also have these core modules, worth 20 credits each:
- Professional Industry Skills
- Self Promotion
All modules below are worth 20 credits each.
- Gender, Sexuality and Cinema
- Advanced Screenwriting
- Media Fan Cultures
- Writing Project (with Publishing)
Changes to course content
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
Exchanges and study abroad
In your second or third year, you can choose to study abroad at one of our partner universities in Europe, Asia, Australia or North America. All classes are delivered in English and you'll still be able to get both your tuition fee and maintenance loans. You may also qualify for a government travel grant.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- video productions
- film scripts
- a research portfolio
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- one-to-one tutorials
- practical performance sessions
Teaching staff profiles
These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this degree course.
Jane is a BAFTA-winning producer (Casualty, 2006) and has worked in the adult drama and children’s TV sectors for over 15 years.
She has developed and produced worked on series and one-off dramas for Disney, CBBC, BBC Drama, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 shows including Tracy Beaker, The Small Hand and Hollyoaks Later. She has an active interest in diversity and inclusion in the screen industries.
Andrew began his career working for top Hollywood legend Norman Lear where he became privy to the inner workings of Hollywood. Branching out into screenwriting, he co-wrote and sold Absolute Angels to Warner Brothers and Mermaid to Mosaic Media.
He is a co-author of The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook series from Bloomsbury Publishing. His new release, Screenwriters Advice: A Guerilla Guide is due in 2023. In addition, he has produced several feature length documentaries, including Paper Promises for Superchannel in Canada. He is actively writing and involved in feature film development.
A member of The Writers’ Guild and The Critics’ Circle, Lucy is a professional screenwriter, with two produced feature films among her other credits - The Secret of Moonacre (2009) and 9th Cloud (2018).
She has adapted four novels for the screen and her filmography includes The Merchant of Venice directed by Michael Radford and Head in The Clouds starring Charlize Theron.
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies. As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.
Throughout my time at Uni, my favourite aspect of the course has to be the combination of research into critical theory alongside creative work. This was because I found that I was able to apply the knowledge I’d acquired in my essays into my creative pieces too, which ultimately helped me to improve the standard of my creative pieces dramatically.
Supporting your learning
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:
Types of support
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
You'll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.
You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
- understanding and using assignment feedback
- managing your time and workload
- revision and exam techniques
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.
They'll help you to
- discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
- liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
- access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
- liaise with external services
Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.
You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2023/24)
All fees may be subject to annual increase.
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £17,200 a year (subject to annual increase)
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, this discount amounts to 90% of the year’s fees.
Tuition fees for that year are:
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)
The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.
You may need to buy items such as DVDs and MiniDV tapes to use on practical units, which cost approximately £20–£30.
You’ll need to cover the material costs for individual project work, which usually costs £50–£100.
How to apply
To start this course in 2023, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – W810
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.