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UCAS code

W810

Mode of Study

Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement

Duration

3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement

Start date

September 2023

Overview

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.

Course highlights

  • 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

Entry requirements

BA (Hons) Screenwriting requirements

Typical offers

  • 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

Selection process

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.

See alternative English language qualifications

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.

Reading books

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.   
 

Writing

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.

Facilities

White Swan Building - Drama Studio Theatre

White Swan Building

Our drama and theatre hub was developed in partnership with Portsmouth’s esteemed New Theatre Royal. It has all the spaces and equipment you need for stage and performance productions: from rehearsal to final act.

Explore Building

A group of students on computers in a room

Open Access Suite

Our open-plan space includes PCs and Macs equipped with Adobe Creative Suite and other professional software.

Explore Suite

L-0319-Library Shoot

University Library

Our University Library is home to not only publications you'll need for your studies but also rare archives and special book collections that will help kindle your writing fire.

Explore Library 

CCIXR

Get to grips with writing for virtual production in our Centre for Creative and Immersive Extended Reality, where you can experiment with tech such as green screen and motion capture.

Explore CCIXR

October 2019

Professional TV and film cameras

Broadcast and film in crystal clarity with our range of industry-level cameras from Sony, JVC, Canon and Arri, including Arri Alexa cinema camera systems used by professional cinematographers.

Whistlejacket 2017

Writing and scripting software 

Pen film, TV and stage masterpieces using industry-wide scriptwriting software such as Celtx and Final Draft.

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.

Graduate areas

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
  • teaching
  • stand-up comedy
  • travel industry

Graduate roles

Roles graduates from our creative industries courses have gone onto include:

  • script editor
  • screenwriter
  • novelist
  • poet
  • playwright
  • teacher
  • copywriter
  • journalist
  • theatre manager
  • editorial assistant
Female student at computer

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.

Futureproof your career

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.

A woman with blue hair standing in front of artwork

Creative Careers

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.

Learn more about the Creative Careers team

Placement experiences

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.

Read our blog post

 

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.

Modules

Core modules

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

Optional modules

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules

All modules below are worth 20 credits each.

  • British Cinema
  • World and Transnational Cinema

Optional modules

All modules below are worth 20 credits each except Film, Media and Communication Study Exchange, worth 60 credits.

  • Fiction Film-Making
  • Screenwriting
  • 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)
     

Core modules

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

Optional modules

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.

Find out more about studying abroad

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • presentations
  • video productions
  • film scripts
  • reports
  • a research portfolio
  • examinations
  • dissertation/project

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

    Teaching methods on this course include:

    • workshops
    • seminars
    • lectures
    • one-to-one tutorials
    • practical performance sessions
    From studying African films in 'Transnational Cinema' to writing my own modern myth in 'Telling Tales', this course has really helped me prepare for a career in the creative industries.
    Beverley Wambalaba, BA (Hons) Film Studies and Creative Writing student

    Teaching staff profiles

    These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this degree course.

    Jane Steventon

    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 Zinnes

    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.

    Lucy Shuttleworth

    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.

    Term dates

    The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

    See term dates

    International Orientation September 2018
Tea and Cake Afternoon

    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.

    Lisa Van Hees, BA (Hons) Film Industries and Creative Writing 2021 graduate

    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.

    In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.
    If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

    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
    Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5.00pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

    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
    • referencing
    • 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.

    If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

    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

    Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

    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.

    Costs breakdown

    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.

    Apply

    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.