Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year

UK fee

£6,750 for the full course or £755 per 20 credits* (2021/22)

International/EU fee

£14,700 for the full course (2021/22)

Course level

Postgraduate

Qualification

MA

Start date

September

Location

Markeaton Street, Derby Campus

Course description

The highlights

What’s your story?

The world is always looking for new creative stories and this MA is designed to help you tell yours. We are looking for authentic and original voices who feel they have something new to say. In an industry that’s traditionally been dominated by young white men, we particularly welcome applicants from communities that have been historically under-represented on our screens.

This is a new MA for September 2021, but it builds on the success of Film Production at Derby and our previous MA in Writing for Performance, all of which have been highly rated. In fact, the latest Guardian league table placed us in the top 20 universities for Film Production and Photography (The Guardian University Guide 2021).

You can choose to specialise in film-making, documentary-making or scriptwriting, and under the mentorship of your tutors, you will gradually build the practical, aesthetic and technical skills needed to develop an original creative project. This could be a short film or documentary, or a script for a full-length film, television series, or play.

This MA also ensures you build up the commercial awareness and interpersonal skills you will need to succeed in the industry. For instance, we’ll cover pitching technique and how to articulate and sell your ideas.

You will explore the wider, more complex problems posed by content production as well, and develop theoretical understanding so you can appreciate the context (historical, social, commercial, environmental, international) of your own and others’ creative work.

A professional approach

During the Creative Project module in the final trimester, you will work through all the same stages that professional film-makers or scriptwriters do, to create your original film, documentary or script. On the Film and Documentary pathways, this process starts with pitching and progresses on to pre-production and filming, editing and finally sound design. Where possible, we encourage collaborative projects so that film-makers experience working together.  

On the Scriptwriting pathway, you will be supported to develop your story from initial short synopsis, through treatment, step outline and to first draft in the summer. Following a rehearsed reading with a professional cast, you will then continue with further drafting to complete the final full-length script.   

The highlight of this professional approach, is that Film and Documentary students will be able to showcase and present their completed work to an academic and industry panel, while scriptwriters will get the opportunity to experience a professional read-through facilitated by Derby Theatre. These valuable opportunities enable you to get feedback from professionals and reflect on your work, so you can make changes and improvements and find your audience.

Team from Derby Theatre stand for their photo at the UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre wins Excellence in Arts Education Award at UK Theatre Awards

Derby Theatre has won recognition of its learning theatre vision and innovative This is Derby project.

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Build your experience and network

Throughout this MA, you will get the opportunity to engage with industry professionals. Your tutors are high-profile film-makers and scriptwriters in their own right, and they use their connections to ensure you benefit from masterclasses and Q&As with other prominent directors, writers and producers.   

If you are a scriptwriter, you will be encouraged to enter international script competitions and compete for grants. We also have links with national development agencies such as Creative England, the BFI, and BBC Writers' Room. Uniquely, the University owns Derby Theatre, a professional producing and learning theatre, so you will also have an opportunity to work alongside theatre professionals here.

If you are a film-maker, you will also be encouraged to enter industry competitions, such as the Midlands Royal Television Society Awards, where our undergraduate students have been successful on many occasions. You will also get the chance to compete for a six-month placement with a production company in Malta, which is one of the most popular locations for films outside of America.

Choose a research-based route

If your interests are in research and academia, you can choose to undertake an advanced research project instead of the creative project. For this, you will conduct a major, extended, in-depth critical review of the theoretical and historical dimensions of your practice. This can be good preparation for further study, such as practice-based doctoral research.

Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

You will study the below modules on the Film or Documentary pathways:

Research Methods (20 credits)

You will be introduced to the relationships between theory, practice, and research in the context of production in your chosen platform and you will use a range of research methodologies that you can apply in the development of your practical work.

Practical Content Production (40 credits)

This module is focused on learning key skills in screenwriting, directing, cinematography, editing and sound. You will test a range of capabilities and theoretical approaches and you will develop analytical skills to contextualise your proposed work and take part in a range of practical hands-on workshops.

Research by Practice (60 credits)

In this module you will further develop your chosen practice at an advanced level. You will design and undertake a personal research project (a negotiated critical reflection which may be written, or video based), aligned to your professional ambitions and in support of your practical, negotiated work.

You will also consider your next steps in terms of employability and entrepreneurship. You will be required to contextualise your filmmaking within industry, relevant critical frameworks and through a thorough consideration of ethical principles.

Choose one module on the third and final stage of the programme:

  • Creative Project in Film or Documentary or
  • Advanced Research Project 
Creative Project in Film or Documentary (60 credits) 

You will work on complex, independent or team-based practical projects in specific roles to further enhance your professional skills. You will learn to pitch and present your work in an industry framework and engage with existing material to develop your aesthetic sensibilities and to strengthen your own practice. You will use professional equipment appropriate to your craft and will be supported throughout the creative process receiving constructive feedback throughout. There is an emphasis on collaboration and peer support as well as industry expertise. 

Advanced Research Project (60 credits) 

You will be able to conduct a major, extended, in-depth critical review of the theoretical and historical dimensions of your artistic or photographic research alongside the development of your practice. Forming the culmination of your programme of study, it will be appropriate to those who have discovered that their creative interests and strengths lie primarily in the theoretical and historical aspects of artistic research and who may be considering applying to undertake practice-based doctoral research.

You will study the below modules on the Scriptwriting pathway:

Research Methods in Scriptwriting (20 credits)

You will culturally contextualise your work and will attend theory sessions that serve to develop your academic research and writing skills through the engagement with film and screen content.

Practical Content Production in Scriptwriting (40 credits)

You will cover the key disciplines of film and screen production: writing, directing, cinematography, sound, and editing, culminating in a series of tutor supported studio or external practical content making. You will participate in several on-set roles and reflect on your performance throughout the creative practical production period, with a view to helping to shape future ambitions in the industry. You will begin to shape and structure your story and develop characters, whilst being supported to find your original voice and unique selling points for your project. 

Research by Practice in Scriptwriting (60 credits)

The Research by Practice module is dedicated to developing research skills through both practice and through the study of theoretical models relevant to your future ambitions in our creative industries. You may produce a negotiated dissertation, to develop a deeper level of cultural knowledge and insight into your practice.

Choose one module on the third and final stage of the programme:

  • Creative Project in Scriptwriting or
  • Advanced Research Project 
Creative Project in Scriptwriting (60 credits) 

The Creative Project module is devoted to the making of individual or collaborative project(s). This is where you are making content or drafting your full-length script to completion. 

Scriptwriters will experience a professional read through of their script provided by Derby Theatre, halfway through the module at completion of first draft. This enables critique and feedback from professional actors and directors, peers, academics, and industry guests to re-draft with the benefit of this feedback and subsequent reflection.

Advanced Research Project (60 credits) 

You will be able to conduct a major, extended, in-depth critical review of the theoretical and historical dimensions of your artistic or photographic research alongside the development of your practice. Forming the culmination of your programme of study, it will be appropriate to those who have discovered that their creative interests and strengths lie primarily in the theoretical and historical aspects of artistic research and who may be considering applying to undertake practice-based doctoral research.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

You are initially taught through interactive lectures, seminars, workshops, and screenings. You will then learn and develop your craft in a practical setting through independent and collaborative creative projects, independent research, and study. 

Sharing, developing, and reflecting on your learning with other students and staff is an important part of this Masters. You will have lots of opportunity to discuss and share your work, as well as debate issues, in a critically supportive peer network. If you are on the Scriptwriting pathway, you will also be allocated individual mentors to support your creative development.

Sessions on film and screen theory give you an academic platform that enables you to contextualise your work and scrutinise key debates in film and screen production. This will help you present thoroughly researched and well-presented pitches and is also essential if you want to move on to further academic study. 

There will also be plenty of opportunities to attend local, national, and international events relevant to your pathway, such as film festivals, screenings, networking groups, and research seminars.

How you are assessed

There are a variety of ‘summative assessments’ towards the end of each module, including:

As well as the summative assessments, we will be assessing you regularly during teaching sessions and one-to-one tutorials, checking that you understand theories and concepts and providing feedback. This is called ‘formative assessment’ and it does not affect your final grades.

Who you'll meet

The programme leaders for this course are as follows:

Who will teach you

Christine smiling

Christine Parker
Programme leader

I am an Associate Professor of Art Practice.  This means my  writing and directing for the screen has achieved international reach and recognition. 

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Entry requirements

We aim to attract well-motivated students who wish to further their study in a stimulating and professionally orientated learning environment.

For international students you will need to have qualifications and experience that are at the same level as for a UK student applying for the same course. If English is not your first language, you'll also need an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent. 

UK and EU Entry Requirements

You will normally be expected to have an appropriate Film/Writing, or other first degree appropriate to apply for the MA (Minimum 2:2 or above), or a professional qualification of equal standing, or significant practical or professional experience gained following your initial qualification that would support your application. You should bring your portfolio to the interview normally arranged at the University. You will also be asked to provide a plan of how you intend to use the time on the MA to further your practice.

Fees and funding

2021/22 Fees (August 2021 - July 2022)

TypeFull-timePart-time
UK

£6,750 for the full course or £755 per 20 credits*

N/A

International/EU

£14,700 for the full course

N/A

Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

About postgraduate awards

Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.

AwardCredits
Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

UK students

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University
International students

Students applying to start in September 2021 need to apply for this course through an educational agent representative.

Find an educational agent representative in your country

Students applying to start in January 2022 onwards may apply directly, through UCAS or through an educational agent representative.

Apply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for a postgraduate degree

Careers

This MA in Film and Screen Production is designed to prepare you for a wide range of roles in the film and screen production industries, from entry level production assistants to producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, sound recordists and postproduction specialists.

You will also be able to move on to study at MPhil/PhD level, particularly if you opted to take the Advanced Research Project in the final trimester of the course.

Finding work in the film and broadcast industry is notoriously challenging, but we will guide you. We have a network of professional contacts, including production companies and national screen agencies that support emerging film and screen content makers.

Film graduates from our undergraduate programme have set up their own production company, Goldbox, which produces video work for high-profile individuals such as Bear Grylls. Meanwhile, graduates from our previous scriptwriting MA, Writing for Performance, have won industry scriptwriting commissions for film, television and radio and are successfully developing careers in writing.

As a graduate from this MA, you will also be valued by employers because of your high-level transferable skills in communication, technical processes and methodologies, research, and creativity. You will also possess curiosity and imagination, alongside excellent problem-solving skills.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.