MFA Advanced Film Practice

Postgraduate, Full-time

Advanced Film Practice MFA

This one-year course gives you the chance to focus on your personal and professional development as a screenwriter, producer or film-maker.


This course is ideal for talented writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, sound designers or editors looking to take their careers to the next level. The MFA Advanced Film Practice provides a space to focus on your personal, professional and creative development.
The MFA is designed as an additional year of study on top of a Masters Degree. It might also appeal to talented individuals without a post-graduate degree but with an equivalent body of creative work and/or industry experience.

As part of your application, you will propose a project which will be the focus of your MFA studies. Screenwriters might wish to develop a screenplay or TV pilot and bible ready to send to producers, broadcasters and agents. A director might develop a project ahead of a funding application, or focus on a specific area of their craft - working with actors, camera or sound. A producer might develop a single project in preparation for a funding application or as a ready-to-go low budget feature, or work on a slate of projects. Cinematographers, sound designers and editors can work on aspects of their craft, seek out work experience, and emerge with a professional CV and showreel.

MFA students will work individually on a series of exercises and on a project. Nevertheless, there is the opportunity to collaborate with fellow students on Edinburgh Napier's postgraduate programmes - MA Screenwriting, MA Film and the Kino Eyes International Masters in Film. At Edinburgh Napier, you can also access students studying music, photography, graphic design and other subjects within our School of Arts and Creative Industries (SACI). 

Applications submitted after 30 June are not guaranteed to be considered for September entry.

Please contact the Course Leader by email in the first instance:
Man holding a camera to Film a scene at Craighouse campus

Mode of Study:



1 years

Start date:


Course details

The course is taught over three trimesters, starting in September.

In the first and second of these, you will focus on research into your idea and into the professional context for your work in the PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE MODULE (60 credits). We will agree a set of exercises and tasks to help develop craft skills, professional contacts and industry knowledge relating to the area in which you wish to work. These exercises are gathered into a portfolio for assessment. 

In the final trimester, you will apply these ideas, skills, contacts, connections and confidence to the development of your final project in the PROJECT DEVELOPMENT MODULE (60 credits). You will get feedback on your final project from Edinburgh Napier staff and from an industry professional working in your area. 

Students will work with Programme Leader James Mavor and other key staff at Edinburgh Napier. 

In addition, each student will have access to a pool of industry mentors, building on contacts and connections with industry developed over the 15 years since the launch of Screen Academy Scotland. A number of former MFA students, now working professionally, may be available as mentors. 

You will also have access to a range of classes, master-classes and workshops across the range of postgraduate programmes at the Screen Academy Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University. Students will have access to the production and post-production facilities and resources at Edinburgh Napier University. 

Subjects include:

  • Professional Practice - personal and project research, industry context, professional Development;
  • Project Development - preparation, feedback, reworking and final presentation.


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.


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

Placement and study abroad opportunities are subject to UK and Scottish Government health and travel advice.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The entry requirement for this course is a Master's Degree in Film or relevant area in order to be eligible for this course. You can also apply with an Undergraduate degree alongside film related work experience, or substantial professional experience. 

All applicants must submit a portfolio of work that best shows their abilities as a screenwriter, producer, director, cinematographer, editor or sound editor/designer:

  • A professional CV or bio outlining your previous education, work history, credits and any other experience
  • A personal statement outlining why you want to study this MFA and how you hope it will help you step up in your professional career in film, television or digital media
  • Examples of your work - scripts, links, showreels
  • A proposal outlining the project that you want to develop on the MFA

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.

International students

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:
  • BN Nursing/MSc Nursing (Pre-registration) (Adult, Mental Health, Child, Learning Disabilities)
  • 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 2021/22 2022/23
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £6,525 £6,525
Overseas £14,500 £14,500

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

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.


This course is intended as a 'step-up' for mature individuals with a clear focus on a professional career in the film, television and broader creative industries. You will meet and work with industry practitioners, gain experience and build the confidence, contacts and networks that will help form the basis of a future career.

The MFA is recognised as a teaching qualification in certain countries, including the USA.
Close up of Film Equipment