English Literature


Explore the theory and craft of writing for performance in a highly practical programme led by a professional playwright.


Please note that this programme is not open for entry in September 2020.

Led by award-winning playwright Nicola McCartney, our MSc in Playwriting is unique in the UK for its level of contact with the theatre industry. It will appeal to emerging playwrights, directors, dramaturges, performance artists and critics.

Completed over one year (full-time), or two years (part-time), the programme focuses not only on the craft of writing for performance, but also on how a script plays out in real space and time, and in front of an audience.

You will be taught through a dynamic combination of seminars, workshops, one-to-one supervision and professional masterclasses by some of Europe’s leading playwrights and theatre artists. Previous and regular collaborators include world famous and award-winning practitioners such as Cora Bissett, Sir Michael Boyd, Gregory Burke, Kai Fischer, Tanika Gupta, Philip Howard, Rosie Kellagher, Lucy Kirkwood, Matthew Lenton, Linda McLean, Orla O'Loughlin, Adura Onashile, Robin Soanes and John Tiffany.

A core component of the degree is a series of workshops, facilitated by Playwrights' Studio Scotland, to develop your own work with professional actors and directors, culminating in a public, professional reading of your work-in-progress at the internationally renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Students and graduates talk about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe reading


Why study for an MSc in Playwriting in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is a theatre city, home to the world’s largest theatre festival and a lively, thriving and diverse year-round theatre scene.

As a student on the Playwriting MSc programme, you’ll benefit from established links with leading theatres and organisations, including Traverse Theatre, Scotland’s new writing theatre, the Royal Lyceum, one of the UK’s leading repertory theatres, and Playwrights' Studio Scotland.

The University of Edinburgh has a long and rich tradition of student drama. Based in Bedlam Theatre, the oldest student-run theatre in the UK, the Edinburgh University Theatre Company has helped to develop an array of outstanding theatrical talent over the years, with alumni making reputations and careers in professional theatre.

By the end of the programme, you will have written at least two short works and one full-length piece for live performance. 

Where this programme might take you

Career opportunities for Playwriting graduates.

How you’ll study

What's involved in completing this MSc.

Find out more

You can find out more about entrance requirements, start dates, fees and scholarship opportunities for this programme on the University of Edinburgh’s Degree Finder.

Degree Finder links straight through to EUCLID, the online system for applying to postgraduate programmes at the University of Edinburgh. 

Please note that we are not accepting applications to study this programme in 2020. If you are interested in joining us later, applications usually open in October (e.g. October 2020 for September 2021 entry).

Go to the Degree Finder page on the MSc in Playwriting

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nicola McCartney (Programme Director).

You may also be interested in...

MSc in Creative Writing

MSc in Theatre and Performance Studies

MSc in Film Studies

Related links

Find out more about the staff who teach on this programme

Read our feature on the 2017 reading of MSc playwrights' work at Traverse Theatre

Meet our playwriting graduates