Postgraduate study

Playwriting

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Playwriting

Led by a professional playwright, this unique programme focuses on the practical exploration of the theory and craft of writing for performance. It explores how a script is written to be interpreted by the key creative artists in theatre and how that script plays out in space and time in front of an audience.

Through seminars, tutorials, workshops and professional master classes (led by some of Europe’s leading playwrights and theatre artists), you will develop an understanding of live performance theory, self-motivation and the focus necessary to work as an independent artist within the theatre industry.

Edinburgh has a buzzing theatre scene and the programme draws on this to culminate in a public, professional reading of your work in progress at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The programme will be taught through a combination of seminars, workshops, independent study, one-to-one supervision and professional master classes. There will also be regular theatre visits.

A central component of the programme will be development workshops with professional actors and established directors, focusing on your own work. You will also work with the performing artists-in-residence, who will offer workshops in each semester. Over two semesters you will take three compulsory courses and one option course.

On completion of these courses, you will produce a major piece of performance writing, supported by one-to-one supervision and development workshops, to be given a professional reading at the end of the programme.

Compulsory courses:

  • The Craft of the Playwright I
  • The Craft of the Playwright II
  • Time and Space of Performance

Option courses may include:

  • Theatre, Performance, Performativity
  • Cinema Auteurs 2
  • Shakespearean Sexualities
  • Theatre, Performance and Performativity
  • Shakespeare Adapted

Students who successfully complete this programme will:

  • be introduced to and become skilled in a range of applied methods for the development and structuring of dramatic script for live performance
  • develop a knowledge and understanding of writing for different kinds of performance contexts from the single-authored play to devised work
  • develop a knowledge and understanding of the theory, methodology and practice of writing different genres from tragedy and comedy to political theatre
  • develop self-motivation and the focus necessary to work as an independent artist within the theatre industry
  • develop their critical skills as readers of their own and others’ work and as creators and consumers of live performance
  • develop a familiarity with the professional development and production processes of live performance and how these impact on the making of script

This highly practical programme allows you to forge valuable links within Edinburgh’s performing arts community. You may choose to use the research skills you have developed to pursue advanced study, or seek a role within the theatrical field.

The transferable skills you gain from your studies, such as communication, research and project management will be valuable to your career development whatever path you choose.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline or equivalent professional experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Programme Director, Nicola McCartney
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3629
  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start date Application deadline
11 September 2017 31 July 2017

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

You must submit a reference with your application.

In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, you must supply a portfolio of writing for live performance of about 45 minutes’ playing time. You should make a selection of extracts from your writing rather than sending full scripts.

You also need to send a personal statement outlining relevant experience, particular writing interests and why you want to study writing for theatre.

All supporting documents, including references, must be uploaded to the online application system by the deadline date.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Nicola McCartney
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3629
  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH