Film and Screenwriting - BA (Hons)
- UCAS Code: P3W8
- Level: Undergraduate
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time (3 years)
- Location: City Centre
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
This cutting edge new BA (Hons) Film and Screenwriting degree course will develop your skills across key film studies and screenwriting debates and conventions. You will be taught by noted film scholars and established practitioners, who will provide their knowledge of international film and screenwriting perspectives.
The course is part of Birmingham City University’s Film Futures suite, designed to develop graduates with the theory, practice and industry trends that will enable them to succeed in a rapidly changing film environment.
What's covered in the course?
The course considers a wide range of script to screen traditions from theory, practice and industry perspectives.
Not only will you gain an understanding of Hollywood cinema conventions (from silent cinema to modern blockbuster spectaculars), but you will apply these storytelling techniques to a variety of production scenarios. As well as looking at American film and screenwriting genres (such as rom-com, thriller, science fiction and horror case-studies), you will also be introduced to other international traditions of cinema that range from European perspectives of documentary to Bollywood film and beyond.
A key focus of the course will be on the aesthetic and creative aspects of film and screenwriting, with consideration being given to techniques of storytelling, narratology and screen adaptation. Modern transmedia approaches to storytelling are also considered, while modules on film festival programming and film entrepreneurship provide core skills relevant to the film industry.
How you will learn
You will be taught in a range of lectures, seminars, writing workshops and production sessions, while regular film screenings help you contextualise cinema traditions against your own script creations.
Your formal studies will be enriched by the possibility to work on a range of external events, such as the Cine-Excess International Film Festival. This annual event attracts visiting international filmmakers, as well as hosting UK theatrical premieres on a regular basis. Having previously operated in London’s West End and Brighton, Cine-Excess has now relocated to BCU to operate as a central resource for the course.
Why Choose Us?
- The course combines theory, practice and industry approaches to film and screenwriting, alongside training in both documentary film techniques and film festival programming.
- You will be taught by noted film professors, cinema scholars and established screenwriters. Staff on the programme work together to ensure that you receive a balanced understanding of theory, practice and industry skilling relevant to the field.
- You will be taught at the city centre campus, home to an impressive range of media resources, studios and edit suites.
- You will have the opportunity to work on established film festivals that are associated with the BA. These include the annual Cine-Excess International Film Festival, which features visiting international filmmakers, UK theatrical premieres and industry mentoring sessions.
- You will also have the opportunity to work on film projects completed as part of the Cine-Excess festival. One recent production completed by BCU students and staff was the award winning documentary Tax Shelter Terrors (2017).
- You will have access to film collections that will enrich your course of studies. These include the Cult Film Archive, a collection of 4,000+ resources (including films, screenplays and promotional materials) that have been donated directly from leading filmmakers and distribution companies in the field.
- We have a partnership with BFI, which offers students free access to the BFI player and research, work placement and masterclass opportunities.
Our next Open Day is taking place in Saturday 26 June. It's the perfect opportunity to tour our facilities, hear from some of our staff and get a feel of what it's like to study at BCU.
This course is open to International students
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We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
112 UCAS points
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
|Scottish National 5||
Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||DMM|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements|
Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £13,200 per year
£150 free credit (home/EU students only)
For 2021 entry, all new home/EU undergraduate students will receive £150 worth of free credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials.
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.
Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence
Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Guidance for UK students
UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
Applying through UCAS
Register with UCAS
Login to UCAS
Complete your details
Select your course
Write a personal statement
Get a reference
Pay your application fee
Send UCAS your application
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
2) Through a country representative
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
3) Through UCAS
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
School or college experience
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
Non-accredited skills or achievement
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
Worried about personal statements?
If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
Screenwriting for Film Genres is aimed at emerging screenwriters. The course will focus on the popular, commercial end of the film industry market, paying particular attention to audiences and the demands and expectations of the marketplace.
This module provides an introductory course in film narrative and the principles of storytelling. The emphasis is on developing an understanding of narrative cinema. To do this the module will engage with theoretical models of storytelling and examples from narrative cinema.
This module looks beyond Hollywood and America to examine notable film movements from across the globe that influenced cinema on a worldwide scale and left an enduring legacy, continuing to shape contemporary filmmaking. The aim is to develop your appreciation of films rich cultural and social heritage, and the social drivers and rebellious characteristics of the filmmakers leading the charge. You will examine the social, political and artistic drivers behind key works, and the mastery and innovation that they display in pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling at their time of creation.
In this module you will explore the development of the film and television documentary by critically investigating the medium through a range of lectures, readings and screenings, and applying this to produce your own short documentary. We will consider different genres of documentary, such as direct cinema, mockumentary, investigative, ethnographic, docu-soap, experimental, docu-drama, reconstruction and the music documentary, as well as some of the contemporary issues facing documentary film makers. We will engage with a variety of academic debates that relate to the documentary, which include realism, representation, ethics and ideology, and the social, political, economic and technological contexts in which documentary can be critically located.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
This module introduces students to the creative and critical processes involved in translating narrative from one medium to another. It gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge of dramatic theory and form through practical work, simultaneously encouraging the development of imaginative screenwriting skills in different genres. Through historical and genre-based case studies, it provides an introduction to ideological and formal questions in the study of adaptation.
This module looks at what it takes to create, manage and draw audiences to a film festival or screening event. The aim is to develop your appreciation of the complexities of event management from establishing goals and selection through to the logistics of programming, managing budgets and executing a marketing campaign to draw audiences.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This module will provide students with an overview of the cultural relevancy of 1970s cinema. Initially exploring the context of the decade and the fragmented nature of film narratives at the time the module will discuss the emergence and demise of ‘American New Wave/New Hollywood’ but also explore further the style, substance and aesthetics of the varying sub-genres of the time as well as the cultural and creative impact they had on both cinematic presentation and other aspects of the media industry.
This module offers an introduction to some of the ongoing academic debates on media fandom and subcultures. This is a broad-ranging topic, and as such in this module it will be primarily be considered from an audience and reception perspective, including your own. You will have opportunities to interrogate your own fan and/or subcultural identity in class and your own participation in fandoms and subcultures will form a part of class discussion and analysis.
The module introduces you to the key debates related to the discipline of the ‘superhero’ film, which has emerged over the last decade to become a dominating factor in all elements of film and media theory.
This module will teach you the essential skills of, and principles behind, the writing of short films. Although these principles apply primarily to screenwriting for film and television, this module will instead be concerned with the writing of short films. You will study a number of freely available short guides to screenplay layout and formatting and be trained in the practical application of screenplay formatting software. You will write three short scripts, given as fortnightly writing exercises, and receive detailed formative feedback on one of the scripts, which you can use to improve and develop your work for your final portfolio. You will focus on visual storytelling, layout conventions, and the issue of writing to scale (budget). You will also be encouraged to analyse, but also critique, dramatic construction in terms of character function, motivation and genre.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
This module critically evaluates horror narratives in their cultural, historical and generic contexts across both visual and audio traditions, and asks you to analyse how debates in this area impact on creative and production practices in the field.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This module builds on previous film textual analytical skills and theoretical studies undertaken at previous levels of the course and applies them to the critical, historical and theoretical study of Bollywood cinema (aka popular Hindi cinema) and related cultural industries. This is an option module for all students with an academic interest in the analytical and theoretical field of reading films closely, and will prepare students who wish to develop expertise and knowledge in areas that focus on historical and contemporary issues of culture, diaspora and globalization.
The module introduces you to the key debates related to the study of global cinema traditions, which have emerged over the last twenty years as a distinct aspect of critical interest within film and media theory.
This module builds on the work you have been producing at previous levels of your course by encouraging you to develop innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to recognise professional challenges. It will explore the concept of enterprise in relation to film, exploring what it is like to work as a freelance worker in the contemporary film business. Through a range of teaching approaches, which include interactive lectures, field trips, and guest speakers, you will investigate the techniques, processes and practices of innovation and enterprise.
This module provides an opportunity to engage with and consider films that explore the perspectives and experiences of minority groups in western societies. The module will consider the intersectional barriers faced by those attempting to work within the film industry (both historically and in the current context) as well as the ways in which technology has democratized the form. The core consideration of this module will be who has been excluded from mainstream cinema, or had their work overlooked, and how in the current context this can be addressed. Further to this we will also focus on experimental film and video work and how non-mainstream contexts may provide an alternative place for film practitioners to explore their ideas.
This module will enable you to build upon your current reading and writing of short films, and to develop your range, technique and sophistication as a contemporary screenwriter, applying your knowledge to the writing of a short film script of 10 minutes in length. You will study a guide to writing short films and build on your practical application of screenplay formatting software. You will write one ‘Academy’ short screenplay of 10 pages, on which you will receive detailed formative feedback, enabling you to rewrite towards your portfolio assessment. You will focus on visual storytelling, layout conventions, the issue of writing to scale (budget) and will work collaboratively on writing, planning, shooting and editing a short film of 3-minutes’ length. While a group mark will be given for the collaborative component of the assessment, your moderator reserves the right to mark individually if it is apparent that individuals have contributed more or less than others.
During the first year of the BA (Hons) Film and Screenwriting course, you will be introduced to core debates across film and storytelling techniques through modules such as Film and the Principles of Storytelling. This unit presumes no prior knowledge of either film studies or screenwriting techniques, and your introductory skilling in these areas will be further expanded through the Screenwriting for Film Genres module, which considers script to screen traditions across a range of Hollywood film formats. Further modules such as The Language of Film allow you to identify key film styles and techniques on screen, while Documentary: Theory and Practice offers you the opportunity to create your own short films based on documentary techniques in the field.
The second year of the course lets you expand your knowledge of the creative and literary practices of film through more detailed modules such Adaptation for the Screen. This module considers how fictions can change across differing mediums and cultures. As well as being able to undertake a range of optional modules around topics such as Comedy and the Media and Fandom and Subcultures, this second year of study also provides a dedicated module on Festival programming, which outlines the key industry skills required to stage cinema events.
During the final third year of study, your knowledge of film and screenwriting techniques will focus on both specific film genres and national cinema traditions. A module on Horror Narratives considers literary and cinematic versions of the fantastic, while optional modules on Bollywood Cinema and Global Cinema Narratives outline the importance of non-Western traditions of film. In addition to these national considerations, an optional module on Film Entrepreneurship allows you to assess key business practices that are relevant to the current cinema industry. As the culmination of your final year of study you will also undertake the Major Project module, which allows you to carry out an independent study of an aspect of cinema theory, film practice or an industry convention that has interested you as a result of your studies on the BA (Hons) Film and Screenwriting course.
During your studies there will be practice-based opportunities to engage with a regional film festival such as Cine-Excess, an annual international film festival and conference on global cult film cultures. You will also be able to access film collections such as the Cult Film Archive during the course of your studies.
The Birmingham School of Media also has an established and inclusive research culture that promotes dialogue and collaboration between staff and students. The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) in the School of Media welcomes visiting researchers from across the world and holds regular research seminars which mix presentations from staff, PG students and speakers from a range of our collaborative partnerships. BCMCR welcomes all students to research seminars, which are free to attend.
For successful graduates there is a natural progression from the BA (Hons) Film and Screenwriting to the MA Film Distribution and Marketing, focused on nurturing entrepreneurial producers and distributors, or the MA and MSc Future Media focused on exploiting digital media and marketing opportunities through emerging technologies and advertising agency techniques.
Alternatively, Birmingham School of Media at Birmingham City University offers a wide range of MA courses, allowing you to specialise in such areas as Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism, Data Journalism, PR, Event, Festival and Exhibition Management and Media and Cultural Studies.
Details can be found on the postgraduate section of the website.
The BA (Hons) Film and Screenwriting course is located within the Birmingham School of Media, which has an excellent track record for graduate employment. Within the School, the majority of graduates going into media-related roles. The course builds upon the School’s employability driven reputation, by opening avenues for students interested in potential careers in screenwriting, film journalism, communications, marketing & PR, advertising and teaching film/media studies.
As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.
Allied with this course-specific experience, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:
- Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
- Career planning and decision making
- Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
- Developing portfolios
- Networking with employers
- Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship
During your second year, you will have the opportunity to work as part of a mixed discipline team to respond to a brief, as part of an in-house placement element of the course.
In addition to this, there are regional opportunities for visiting and volunteering at film festivals, such as Cine-Excess, and Flatpack, and for networking with producers and distributors who function as guest speakers at such events.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.
The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.
Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses.
With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.
You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.
Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.
Our teaching staff comprises specialists in their respective fields, including academics and industry professionals, all of whom are perfectly placed to offer a wealth of experience and knowledge. Birmingham School of Media students also benefit from access to high-profile guest speakers from across the industry.
A dynamic community that is responsive to the changing face of the media industry, Birmingham School of Media is the perfect starting point to your media career.
Deputy Head of the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts
Oliver is Associate Director at the New Technology Institute (NTI), an industry-facing school within Birmingham School of Media that specialises in developing industry-led academic courses. He is also the Studio Director for Gamer Camp, a Masters-level video game development programme.
Oliver’s 16-year career spans product development, project management, software development, marketing, management and solution selling. He is an expert in project managing complex interactive media products.