course page main image

Film and Screenwriting - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry. Switch to 2022/23 Entry

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....

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Birmingham School of Media
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

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.

Professional Placement Year

This course offers a professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, between the second and third years of your degree, and is a great way to find out more about your chosen career. Some students even return to the same employers after completing their studies.

The University will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. If you do not find a suitable placement, you will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Please note that fees are payable during your placement year, equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year (£1,850 for UK students).

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this 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 cinema, documentary to smartphone filmmaking 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. You will have ample opportunity to collaborate with Filmmaking and Film Studies students on the production of short film projects, 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.

I've already been given a lot of opportunities, including working on a documentary as a researcher and composer. This has given me an IMDB credit and my work is in a DVD which will be featured at various film festivals. The course leaders provide valuable insight into the film industry to ensure we're ready for the industry by the time we graduate.

Darryl Mcsporran

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.
  • Top 10 for Creative Writing student satisfaction (Complete University Guide 2023).
  • 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.

Similar Courses

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Day: Saturday 1 October 2022

Book 1 October Book 22 October

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

112 UCAS points

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • BBC / 112 UCAS points
  • General Studies and Critical Thinking subject excluded
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
AS and AS VCE
  • General Studies and Critical Thinking subject excluded
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3 with 18 credits at merit or distinction
  • Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
DMM
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Distinction
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 112 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
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
  • Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CCD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
T-Levels Merit overall
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
Other qualifications
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
Essential

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
IELTS

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

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).

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Professional Placement Fees

The tuition fee for your first year of study at the university is shown above. Full-time courses with a Professional Placement also incur a fee during the placement year. The fee for your placement year will be £1,850, which is equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee.

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • TBC
  • Full Time
  • 4 years (with Professional Placement)
  • Show fees

Professional Placement Fees

Full-time courses with a Professional Placement also incur a fee during the placement year. The fee for your placement year will be equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

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.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

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.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

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.

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

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

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.

Personal statement

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:

  • Course choice - Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
  • Career plans - If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
  • Work experience - 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.

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.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Screenwriting Primer 20 credits

Film Primer 20 credits

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

Writing for TV 40 credits

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Download course specification

Download now

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.

As well as being able to undertake a range of optional modules around topics such as Foundations of Screenwriting, Screen Fandoms and Cinema of the Seventies, this second year of study also provides a dedicated module on Festival programming, which outlines the key industry skills associated with the staging of 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 Global Cinema Narratives and Reclaiming the Frame consider issues of film genre within global contexts. 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 produce a feature film screenplay or 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.

Classroom projects

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.

Further study

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.

Employability

The BA (Hons) Film and Screenwriting course is located within the School of Games, Film and Animation, 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

Placements

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.

More about our placement opportunities

International

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:

Facilities & Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

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.

State-of-the-art facilities

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 staff

Andy Conway

Course Director Film Studies

Andy is a screenwriter and novelist with 30 years’ experience of the writing industry. He has worked as a screenwriter on many films, both produced and lost in development hell, for over 20 years, and ran the Shooting People Screenwriters’ Network for ten years. He also co-founded the West Midlands Screenwriters’ Forum, and the independent...

More about Andy