Film MA

Prepare for a career in film and HETV scripted drama on this ScreenSkills accredited course


With emphasis on collaboration, this course has been designed to help you embark on a career as a professional fiction filmmaker in one of the following disciplines:

  • producing
  • directing
  • cinematography
  • editing
  • location sound recording and sound design (dual discipline)

Teaching is through a combination of collaborative shared modules and modules that focus on individual disciplines. The two core practice-based modules, Creative Practice and Collaborative Techniques, complement each other, concentrating on professional practice within the framework of the industry crew structure.

Coursework consists of a large number of practical exercises, workshops and short film projects that allow students to deepen their own technical, creative and professional filmmaking skills. The course also includes academic research and reporting in your chosen discipline, and theoretical modules including critical film study. The course is approximately 60% practical and 40% theoretical.

The year's work and study culminates in a major project module in which students continue to work collaboratively, in their chosen disciplines, on one or more short scripted dramas.

This course is recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries and carries the ScreenSkills Select endorsement which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries. 

Typical entry point to this course is in September. Please enquire for more information. 

The deadline for submitting an application is 28 June 2024. While applications may still be submitted after this date, there is no guarantee they will be reviewed for September 2024. 

Film students working with a camera on set

Mode of Study:




1 year

Start date:


Course details

Screen Academy Scotland is an active filmmaking hub in the culturally vibrant city of Edinburgh. It offers great scope for collaboration, with some 350 or so students at undergraduate and postgraduate level engaged in diverse film activities. Students can also draw on support from tutors who themselves have significant experience in the industry.

The Screen Academy is a professionally-equipped facility and we expect student work to aspire to a level that is close to industry standard. As it's one of only three film academies in the UK accredited by ScreenSkills, the film industry’s skills body, it gives our graduates significant credibility in the industry.

This course will advance your knowledge of your chosen specialist area as well as giving you a rounded understanding of other film making disciplines. The emphasis on professional skills will help maximise your chance of success.

Previous graduates have had their films screened at festivals around the world, including Glasgow, London, USA, Venice, Beijing, Kolkata and Edinburgh. Many have gone on to win awards and commissions for TV and feature film projects.

Subjects include:

Trimester 1 

  • Creative Practice for Film and TV 
  • Collaborative Techniques for Film 1

Trimester 1 (optional) 

  • The Business of Screen Project Development 
  • Script Workshop 1
  • Writing and Screen Project Development 
  • Moving Image Design (editors and cinematographers only) 

Trimester 2 

  • Creative Practice for Cinema 
  • Collaborative Techniques for Film 2 
  • Critical Film Study 

Trimester 3 

  • Masters Film Project 

Graduate film screening at an Edinburgh screening venue in late autumn.

Lead academics

MA Film is taught by a range of professionals from a number of specialisms.

Ita Jansen is an award-winning Writer & Director. She participated in development programmes such as Berlinale Talents and Torino Film Lab. Her films have screened among others at Slamdance, Zinebi, The London Short Film Festival, Washington DC shorts, and many others. Her feature drama In Times of Rain had a theatrical release in Mexico and was broadcasted multiple times by the Mexican National broadcaster Canal 22.

David Lumsden is an award-winning fiction & commercials Director based in Scotland. His work has been screened to audiences at film festivals around the world. Alongside his fiction and commercial projects he has also directed broadcast documentaries, made for TV films, and behind the scenes content for feature films. His work has received awards from Scottish BAFTA New Talent, Roses Creative Awards & The Christopher Johnson Movie Viral Award.

David Byrne has over 30 years experience in the TV and film industry in every role in the camera department; on feature films, HETV drama, commercials, documentaries and industrial / corporate projects for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and other non-UK channels. Previous teaching includes courses for Kodak and Technicolor staff.

Susan Brand is Head of Editing at Edinburgh Napier University. She works with undergraduates and postgraduates including specialist teaching in advanced editing. Susan has over 20 years of international industry experience as an Editor and Edit Consultant. She has lived and worked in the UK, US, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary and Southeast Asia and was hugely inspired as a storyteller by this international experience. She has taught film editing at numerous universities and film schools around the world including as Visiting Professor at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has been a frequent guest speaker at industry events in the UK and abroad like the Scottish Documentary Institute, The Grierson Trust, Women in Film and Television and she has run her own 2-day course entitled Storytelling in the Edit funded by Skillset, the UK’s premiere film and television production training body.

We also engage a range of professional practitioners as visiting lecturers on the programme.
  • calendar

    How you’ll be taught

    This is a one-year full-time course starting in September and is split into three trimesters. Coursework consists of a large number of practical exercises, production of short scripted drama films, lectures, workshops and seminars.

    Delivery of practical film-making skills is undertaken with an industry focus, and by academics and visiting lecturers who specialise in relevant professional practices.

  • note and pen


    Assessment is continuous throughout the year and is predominantly based upon submission of creative practical work, documentation of research and critical reflection, essay assignments, and oral presentations. Students being assessed as heads of department on the creative practice module films are expected to share production costs.

  • library


    Students at the Screen Academy have access to a complete range of professional production and post-production equipment and industry software including Arri Alexa Mini LF; Arri Alexa Classic; Black Magic cameras; Super 16 mm; 35 Avid Media Composer suites; Avid Symphony Online and Black Magic Resolve Online; Pro-Tools, a fully equipped dubbing facility with Atmos, along with Movie Magic Scheduling and Budgeting, and Final Draft.

    We are an Avid Learning Partner and have staff trained as ACIs (Avid Certified Instructor).


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Collaborative Techniques in Film 1 ( SCA11118 )

On this module you will gain an understanding of the methods used for the hour-by-hour production management of a crew, the interaction between producer, director, camera, lighting and sound personnel, and the particular issues of working with actors on a professional set. This highly practical work will be underpinned by a series of lectures and workshops which will equip you with the ability to solve the aesthetic, practical and technical problems that the shooting of complex dramatic scenes presents.

Further information

Collaborative Techniques in Film 2 ( SCA11122 )

On this module you will be introduced to the particular collaborative problems of shooting on film, particularly with regard to focus, use of prime lenses, and tracking, and the logistical problems faced by a professional crew filming on location. This work will be underpinned by classroom based work which will help you to understand and solve the aesthetic, practical and technical problems that the shooting of complex dramatic scenes principally on film presents.

Further information

Creative Practice for Cinema ( SCA11129 )

In a series of lectures, workshops and tutorials, you will acquire the skills and prepare for advanced exercises in your chosen discipline, as well as an ambitious short fiction film project. More detailed understanding of the creative possibilities of the image and its juxtaposition will be explored. You will also have the opportunity to work with advanced professional production and post-production formats in the realisation of your projects.

Further information

Creative Practice for Film and TV ( SCA11130 )

Through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops, you will learn the technical skills and processes involved in your chosen discipline. You will acquire a grasp of the principles of storytelling through action and events, the way in which a cinematic world arises out of character and interpretation, and of the meaning of images through composition and cutting. You will prepare and undertake exercises utilising the skills being investigated to explore your own developing creative practice. These exercises include short film dramas.

Further information

Critical Film Study ( SCA11123 )

This module will help you explore some of the many possible areas you may wish to study. Depending
on your specialism, this may include performance, script, production, cinematography, production design, editing, sound, composition, or special effects. Over the course of the module you will learn how to develop your research skills and a range of research tools which will underpin and enhance your cinematographic practice.

Further information

Masters Film Project ( SCA11127 )

This module will provide you with an overview of the production and post production of a short fiction film as it applies to producing, directing, cinematography, sound or editing. You will be given tutorial support in pre-production, production and post-production stages of your projects, as appropriate. The focus of the module is determined by your own project(s) and specialism(s) as they have developed over the entire programme.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.


"The course teaches you a huge variety of film production techniques, not only in your specialisation, but also in other areas."

This course is recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries and carries the ScreenSkills quality-mark for the purposes of indicating courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

I've learnt so much from my tutors, fellow students and guest lecturers. I'm inspired by the work we are creating and know I've made the right decision.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Film?

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above in any discipline. Applicants are required to submit a portfolio alongside their application. You can find our portfolio guidance below.

Please make it clear in your application which of the five specialisms you are applying for: directing, producing, cinematography, editing or location sound recording and design. There are limited spaces for each pathway to ensure a balance of technical disciplines within the course.

Note on Portfolio

On your application form, please include links to your film portfolio. 

We ask that applicants share a minimum of two projects that they feel best showcases their strengths and skills in their chosen specialism. Each project should be under 15 minutes in length and, as our MA in Film is a narrative drama course, scripted drama films should be a priority. As part of your portfolio, you should also include a written description of your role on each project.

All files must be clearly labelled with your name and we recommend checking that the links work on other devices. Please note that scripts and other production materials should not be submitted as part of your portfolio.  

We do consider applications for producing without a portfolio if you have a relevant background in arts administration, business or finance. We will not consider any other applications without a portfolio.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.


If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test. The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with 6.0 with no individual component score less than 6.0. For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

The course has been exciting, extremely challenging and has advanced my skills immensely. In terms of editing, my knowledge of technology and the art of cutting has expanded.

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2024/25 2025/26
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £7,280 £tba
Overseas and EU £18,800 £tba
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here

This course has given me confidence in my own abilities and moulded me into someone who is more career conscious, focussed on building upon my strengths and learning from my mistakes.


  • Director
  • Assistant Director
  • Producer/Production Management
  • Location Manager
  • Cinematographer
  • Editor
  • Assistant Editor
  • Location Sound Mixer
  • Sound designer
Close up of a camera