Could you write an award-winning movie, TV drama or animation? Or devise a multi-layered narrative for a ground-breaking game?


Graduates are currently writing TV episodes from Humans to Casualty, Penny Dreadful to Eastenders, and working with movie directors such as Sam Mendes, Lone Scherfig and Darren Aronofsky. 


This rigorous, practical course has a long history of producing outstanding writers for film, television, animation and games. Taught by working screenwriters, producers and script developers, the course addresses all aspects of professional screenwriting and more. Recent graduates have won or been nominated for an Oscar, several BAFTAs and Royal Television Society Awards, a Nichol Fellowship, Screen International Stars of Tomorrow, Women in Film & Television New Talent Awards and many other prizes.

The voice of the individual screenwriter is at the heart of the course. That voice will be nurtured, developed and challenged to produce work of quality and originality ready to take out to the industry. Screenwriters will collaborate with other departments – directing fiction and animation, producing, games, etc. - putting into practice the skills they learn throughout the course, with all production costs met by the School.

All NFTS students can attend Masterclasses. Recent guests include David Fincher (Fight Club), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Ben Wheatley (Free Fire), Rapman (Blue Story), Louis Theroux, Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Denis Villeneuve (Bladerunner 2049), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Sam Mendes (1917), Asif Kapadia (Senna), Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), Russell T Davies (Doctor Who) and Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley).

​This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

Recent credits and successes

Apple Tree Yard promo pic

Graduate Amanda Coe's credits include Apple Tree Yard, Filth and Room at the Top.

Tabula Rasa promo pic

Graduate Christophe Dirickx's credits include Tabula Rasa, The Misfortunates and The Flemish Bandits.

Life On Mars profile pic

Graduate Ashley Pharoah's credits include Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes and The Living and the Dead.

What you will study

Unlike a Screenwriting MA based in an academic institution, this is a hands-on course set in a working film and television studio. It covers all aspects of screenwriting across film, television, games and animation, in different forms and genres, from the development of ideas, treatments and bibles, through the drafting of scripts, into production and post, and offers comprehensive preparation for the professional world of the screenwriter.  

Screenwriters also have their writing work-shopped by professional directors and actors and, working with student producers and directors, have the chance to see their writing tested in production. Samples of their work will be read by literary agents, broadcasters, commissioners and film and television production companies, in advance of a round of industry meetings in their final term where they can pitch their ideas directly to the industry.

The course is intensive and full time and requires a high level of dedication, a prolific output, and the ability to meet professional deadlines. Graduation is also based on completion of a tutored dissertation.

Download programme specification (PDF)

Download course outline (PDF)

Current or recent tutors

Simon Beaufoy

Simon Beaufoy

Screenwriting Fellow

Credits include Slumdog Millionaire, Battle of the Sexes and The Full Monty

Peter Berry

Peter Berry

Visiting tutor

Credits include The Luzhin Defence, The Adventures of Mary Bryant, The Last Enemy and Prime Suspect

Clive Bradley

Clive Bradley

Visiting tutor

Winner of the 2017 Writers Guild of Great Britain award for Best Long Form TV Drama for Trapped

Holly Phillips

Holly Phillips

Visiting tutor

Credits include Athena, Get Even, Nearly Famous and Sugar Rush

Tammy Riley-Smith

Tammy Riley-Smith

Visiting tutor

Award-winning writer-director, script editor and screenwriting tutor. Her credits include Delicious and Lady M.

Brian Ward

Brian Ward

Head of Screenwriting

Credits include The Interpreter and Death Defying Acts

Rachel Wardlow

Rachel Wardlow

Visiting tutor

Recent credits include Shamed, Six Wives with Lucy Worsley and Something More 

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home Fees:  £14,800 per year 

International Fees (including EU nationals): £26,000 per year 

These are the fees for January 2023 intake.

Please note:

EU nationals who have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme may be eligible for “Home Fees”, subject to meeting the residency requirements. (You need to be  ordinarily resident in the UK or EEA for 3 years prior to the start of your course).  

The NFTS has £900,000 of scholarships and bursaries available.

There is a compulsory, non-refundable £25 application fee for each MA application. A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place. 

Students are expected to provide their own laptops and to pay for their travel for occasional off-campus events.

The NFTS is committed to ensuring it is open to students of genuine ability, no matter what their background or financial circumstances. We don’t want anybody to be put off applying for a place at the NFTS because of the cost, which is why we award more scholarships and bursaries to British students, relative to the size of our student body, than almost any other educational institution in the UK.

At the NFTS you will get far more time learning directly from tutors, in real production facilities and on real projects, than in the vast majority of film schools or universities – and we won’t charge you extra for the cost of productions or materials. The specialist nature of our courses mean that our students gain the relevant skills and experience they need to go straight into the industry.


Every year, our students collaborate to make a number of short films.


Entry requirements

Applicants will display a talent and passion for screenwriting, a fund of ideas and the desire to tell stories for the screen. They may have written in other forms - plays, novels, short stories, journalism – or already have a body of work, but whatever their experience, must demonstrate an original voice with something to say.

Professional experience in any field is an advantage, in particular work in film, TV or theatre, or allied creative arts. A sound general knowledge of film, TV and theatre writing is expected, as well as a high level of self-discipline and personal motivation.

Applicants will be required to send an example of their writing - 20 pages of a screenplay.

While many applicants will have a degree from a British or overseas university, we will consider applicants who do not have a degree if they have an impressive portfolio, a creative track record, an alternative qualification or suitable life experience.

For international students, more information about our entry requirements, including Visa and English language requirements, can be found on our What You Need To Know section of our Students From Abroad page. 

If you have any questions, please email

How to apply

Application deadline: Contact Registry

Applicants must supply the following:

  • One original screenplay, 20 pages in length, together with a one-page (A4) synopsis.
    The screenplay may be a short (up to 20 pages) or the first 20 pages of a longer work. It should be presented in a standard screenplay format as per Final Draft, Celtx, etc. All work must be original and must not be adapted or co-authored. It should include a one-page synopsis of the entire story, at the beginning of the screenplay. The screenplay and synopsis should be included in one document to upload and include your full name on the first page. 
  • Optional: If your writing to date has been in a different field (other than screenplays) you may submit a piece of original fiction typed and double spaced, together with a one-page (A4) synopsis. This piece of fiction may be a story, novel or play. It may be a short work, up to 10 pages, or the first 10 pages of a longer work.

The application deadline has now passed. Please join our mailing list if you would like to be kept up to date with NFTS news and updates.