Taught course

Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London · Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Entry requirements

You should normally have an undergraduate degree in the broad field of literary and/or performance and drama studies; or a first degree and sufficient experience of either writing or drama practice; or have appropriate professional experience; or can otherwise demonstrate your potential to undertake this form of postgraduate study successfully. A top-up year for those with existing MA or PGDip in these subjects will be available from October 2013 entry. Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to gain an overall score of 7.0 in an IELTS test. We do accept equivalent English language qualifications.

Months of entry


Course content

Vocational training in writing drama across a range of media. Although the primary focus is scriptwriting for television, film, theatre and radio, Central also runs optional units in writing for new music theatre and, in collaboration with MA Applied Theatre, writing with and for communities.

These courses provide the opportunity for students to develop the core competencies and skills of the dramatist and scriptwriter, to explore their own ‘voice’ and develop their confidence as dramatists and scriptwriters, and to appreciate the specific media contexts within which professional writers work.

Key features are:

  • Practice-based enquiry into techniques and processes for writing for stage and screen
  • A series of scriptwriting projects to engage with different styles and formats of production
  • Associated study of writing techniques and issues of performance in relation to theatre, cinema, television and other relevant contexts.

The MA and MFA are taught in group sessions and through individual tutorials. In the first year of the MFA, students will join the MA students for two-thirds of their course. The MFA extends into a second year that engages students with further specialist subject skills.

MA and MFA course

The fundamentals of dramatic writing will be considered, such as structure, narrative, dramatic action, genre, character, dialogue and rhetorical effect. Different approaches to writing will be studied, including individual authorship, group writing and writing to specific briefs.

Students will attend masterclasses, seminars and workshops that focus on particular modes of writing for different production contexts, and will be part of a writers’ group, providing peer support in developing their writing.

Vocational work is complemented by individual research and appropriate theoretical discussion and enquiry, and students will address historical, theoretical and critical contexts within which traditions of dramatic writing have evolved.

Both courses will engage in a range of projects that test and develop students’ skills as a writer of drama. These may include:

  • Forming a team of writers to evolve a television series
  • Writing a short film script, radio play, or a short play script workshopped with actors
  • Developing and writing a complete dramatic script for production in a particular medium (stage, radio, television, music, theatre or film).

In undertaking these projects students will acquire an understanding of working in different formats, as well as the role of the writer in current production processes.

Through a rolling programme of guest speakers from the industry, students will also gain some knowledge of commissioning and production protocols in different media, of working with agents and of hearing from established writers working across different fields of drama.

The MA ends with a Sustained Independent Project where students are able to focus on a full-length ‘calling card’ script in whatever medium they choose.

MFA Course

MFA writers will be expected to produce two ‘calling card’ scripts and to develop a plan for professional development. MFA students are offered extended and sustained script development support, and will be expected to develop professional ties and work closely with members of the related industry to establish themselves as professional practitioners.

In the second year of the course, students are encouraged to specialise in one or more fields, building on the first year of teaching. The MFA second year widens the opportunities to practise knowledge within a context and framework where pertinent questions can be asked, protocols tested and new structures suggested. Students will be expected to undertake tutorials and occasional seminars.

Within the 1,200 hours of the second year of the MFA, students will complete two full-length dramatic texts in the medium of the writer’s choice, an accompanying critical reflection and a portfolio comprising, for example, relevant supporting material taken from the writer’s journal, any treatments the writer may have produced, a plan for professional development, indication of professional contacts developed whilst on the course, and a report on any attachment activity that may have been undertaken whilst doing the project (e.g. if the student attended meetings in a theatre literary department).

The MFA offers a further embedding of skills and concepts learnt during the first year. In some countries, the MFA is more recognised, particularly if participants are interested in teaching or research in a higher education environment.


This is through peer assessment, practical assignments, essays, scheme of research, presentations, and the submission of a practitioner portfolio, including personal insights, research, the student’s own scripted material and a plan for professional development.

Information for international students

Central holds international auditions/interviews in New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Bogota. Please see Central’s website for details. To book an place please email admissions@cssd.ac.uk. If you are unable to attend in person, you may be offered the opportunity of a distance audition/interview.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


full time
24 months

Course contact details

Admissions and Student Recruitment Office