MFA Advanced Film Practice

Postgraduate, Full-time

Advanced Film Practice MFA

This course gives you the chance to develop, produce and complete a short cinema film to professional standards


Develop your creative and professional skills through practical exercises and masterclasses with leading industry practitioners.

This course ideal for ambitious directors, producers or writers looking to make the leap to professional filmmaking, or seasoned professionals looking to work on the big screen.

We offer great scope for collaboration, with more than 200 students engaged in film activities – from cinematography and editing to documentary and animation.

In addition to acquiring practical skills, you’ll also create projects that form the basis of your portfolio.

The application deadline for this course has now passed. Applications submitted after 31 July 2019 are not guaranteed to be considered for September 2019 entry.

Film making at Craighouse campus

Mode of Study:



1 year

Start date:


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Course details

Develop your existing skills to a near-professional level, collaborating with students and working practitioners alike to create a fully funded short film, documentary, feature film script or similar finished creative product.

Your qualification carries Screen Academy status, the only film qualification in Scotland to offer this, and one of only a few throughout the UK. On entry into this course, you will already have demonstrated advanced skills in production, direction or screenwriting. By graduation, you will have honed these skills and added to them. You’ll learn techniques to further develop your creative voice, plus the production skills necessary to bring a film project to completion.

Subjects include

  • Project Development and Pre-production
  • Project Production and Post-production


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Project Preparation ( SCA11128 )

In a series of seminars and tutorials, you will work on your presentational and pitching skills, and on the development of a short fiction film project. During the first trimester, you will select a project to work up into pre-production.

In the second trimester, emphasis will be on continued script development, pre-visualisation and team working relationships in pre-production; attaching talent in front of, and behind the camera, and story interpretation by key creative members of the team: producer, director, actor, designer, cinematographer, editor, and composer. You will break down your scripts in production management terms, creating budgets, schedules and production plans.

Taking advantage of the Screen Academy’s series of screenings and master classes, you will conduct both a study of a film maker or movement, and a professional practice case study, that are pertinent to your own practice.

Depending on your specialism, and the appropriateness and availability of a suitable placement context, your case study may consist for instance of a block or day release professional placement in a workplace, on a film shoot in your relevant department or in development on a project with a writer or producer. If not it will consist of a original research into a key process within film-making that is relevant to your practice, and will involve original research including interviews with accomplished professionals.

You will get an overview of the different departments and associated professions involved in film production from conception to exhibition through the Screen Academy’s season of lectures and seminars from visiting professionals. This will enable you to examine team-working and the division of labour in the light of your own specialism and career plans.

Together the critical and professional practice strands inform a series of exercises designed to help you experiment with and enhance your creative practice, in parallel with the development and pre-production of your project. This process will occur in parallel with the Screen Academy’s individual industry mentoring programme.

Further information

Project Production and Post Production ( SCA11115 )

The module gives an overview of production and post production roles and processes in writing, producing and directing in fiction, and documentary film making.

For directors the emphasis is on shooting techniques, and on working with actors and crews, and on creative post-production, including editing, sound design and use of music.

For producers, the emphasis is on line-producing the shoot, the management of post production, its routes and options, and on finding the audience - marketing and promoting the film.

For writers, the task will be to develop a feature script from a premise or outline to a revised second draft, with an emphasis on in-depth structural and character development, dialogue writing, and polishing.

The focus of the reflective report is determined by the students' own project(s) and specialism(s) as they have developed over the entire programme. Students will have been encouraged to maintain a reflective journal throughout the programme which will help them to site their reflection in the context of their overall career development, and to refer it to their PDP, and to their self assessment essay from the Critical and Creative Practice module from T1 & 2.

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.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The entry requirement for this course is a Master's Degree in Film in order to be eligible for this course.

All applicants must submit a portfolio of work that best shows their abilities as a screenwriter, producer or director. including:

  • A full CV and personal statement highlighting what you consider to be your most significant experience and achievements in education, work and life, why you want to undertake the course and what you hope to achieve in your career in film (maximum two pages).
  • Tangible evidence of your achievements:
    • for writers, a completed short or feature film script. Preferably of a film that has been produced (in which case, please include a copy of the film) together with short extracts from other scripts (maximum additional 20 pages in total)
    • for producers, a show reel of projects already produced plus a two-page summary of projects in production/development
    • for directors, a vimeo link or one .Mov file (or DVD) of a completed (preferably short) film and showreel of other work
  • A proposal outlining the type of projects that you envisage writing, producing or directing if your application is successful (maximum two pages).
  • Please identify a writer / producer / director whose work you particularly admire and tell us why.

List your strengths and weaknesses as writer/director/producer and identify which aspect of your discipline you want to develop and improve during the programme.

English Language requirements 

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.

International students

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

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

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

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 2019/20 2020/21
All students £15,000 £15,000

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships


This course maximises your chances of success in a tough industry. Your qualification carries Creative Skillset Film Academy status – giving us and our graduates credibility in the industry.

You will meet and work with industry practitioners, building contacts and networks that will help form the basis of a potential career.

Our graduates’ films have screened at festivals throughout the world including Edinburgh, Venice and Kolkata and many of our alumni go on to pick up prestigious awards and commissions.

Film Equipment close ups