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PG Cert (online) Screenwriting, Edinburgh Napier University
Course Structure: Two semesters of 15 weeks
Dates: January – August
Location: online + 2 live workshops in Edinburgh
Application Deadline:  December

PG Cert Screenwriting Course Details (Edinburgh Napier University website) - including fees
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FREE EIFF PASS! This year students on the PG Cert (online) Screenwriting will receive a FREE STUDENT PASS to the Edinburgh International Film Festival with opportunities to attend screenings, masterclasses, networking and industry events.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting is a seven-month course which combines online learning, guided script development and two live group workshops in Edinburgh. One of these takes place in mid-June and you will be given a free Student Pass to the Edinburgh International Film Festival where you can attend ten days’ worth of screenings, master-classes, workshops and industry events.

The online element combines video lectures, tutorials and writing exercises and, over two semesters, you will develop a substantial portfolio of projects - scripts, outlines, treatments and industry documents such as script reports.

The first workshop takes place in January and introduces you to your tutors, the other students and guides you through the online materials. The second workshop takes place in June. Here you will get personal feedback on your work from your tutors.

On completion of the PG Cert in August, it is possible for students to transfer onto the taught MA Screenwriting which starts in September.
Please contact the Programme Leader James Mavor for details


Writing and Screen Project Development
This 12-week module introduces you to the basic language, skills and techniques used in screenwriting. You will work your way through a series of weekly classes, delivered online via video lectures, written lessons and a wide range of materials and resources. You will learn about the industrial and commercial contexts in which screenwriting operates and will deliver two short written reports - good training for those who may be interested in a career in script development.

Script Workshop 1
This 12-week module guides you through a series of weekly writing exercises and helps you develop confidence, creativity and a sense of your own voice as a writer. You will develop a portfolio of short film scripts, dialogue scenes, and character sketches. You will also write  a number of outlines, proposals and short film treatments.

Script Workshop 2
This 15-week module takes place in the summer months and challenges you to put what you have learned into practice. Each student will chooses a project to develop - it could be a feature film treatment, or a drama or sitcom for television. Each project will be different but, as a guide, we expect you to write a screenplay of around 30 pages. You will be supported through the summer months by your online tutor.

Teaching Staff – PG Cert Screenwriting
You will be taught by Screen Academy Scotland staff working alongside experienced and active industry professionals. The course is led by James Mavor, professional screenwriter and Programme Leader on the Creative Skillset-accredited MA Screenwriting.
James Mavor - Programme Leader MA Screenwriting
Brian McGill - Course Tutor
Vicki Patterson - Course Tutor 

How to apply
Apply online using Edinburgh Napier application form and upload the following portfolio documents:
- A personal statement of why you want to write for the screen (300 words)
- An outline for a feature film or single television drama (one page)
- A writing sample in screenplay format. This may be a short film or an extract from a feature film script or television drama (10 pages)

Our Students
The PG Certificate in Screenwriting was launched in 2007 and has attracted a wide and diverse number of students. Some choose to study online due to work or family commitments. Some live remotely (Scottish Highlands, Newcastle, London) or abroad (Belgium, Italy, Switzerland) and appreciate the option to study online but as part of a community.

  • Some students take the course as a way of gaining writing experience, to challenge themselves and for reasons of personal satisfaction. Some study in order to enhance their qualifications in Higher Education. Others are focussed on developing a professional career in screenwriting or script development.

  • Previous students Gill Jamieson and David Manderson teach film and screenwriting at University of West Scotland. Timothy Robeers took the course while studying in Belgium. He is now working towards a PhD.

  • Regina Moriarty took the PG Certificate course then went on to study screenwriting at the National Film and Television School. Her feature film The Summer Child is in development with iFeatures2. She is represented by the Casarotto agency.

  • Tristan Aitchison and Graham Fitzpatrick both won prizes with short film scripts developed on the course. Another prize-winner, Neill Rolland now works at Screen Education Edinburgh and is making films with his own company Little City Pictures.

  • James McAleer took the course to compliment his existing skills as a cinematographer. Kirstie Swain has written for Eastenders and Holby City and is a graduate of the BBC Writers Academy. She is currently the BBC Scotland Writer in Residence and  is represented by the literary agency Macfarlane Chard.

  • Some quotes form previous students:
    “I now have enough confidence in my abilities to focus on screenwriting as a viable career.”
    “Having feedback on my script from practicing professionals is something I value highly and is an invaluable part of the process in producing my script.”
    “I feel as if I have my foot on the first rung of the ladder, rather than looking at the ladder, wondering how to get on!”
    “… invaluable and challenging creatively.”
    “Online training is a wonderful tool.”
    “The feedback on the course… has been intense, critical and helpful…”.
    “…being able to get to the Edinburgh Film Festival…I met more industry people in three days than over the course of five years.”
    “Now I feel like a real writer”