Comedy Writing MA (Online)

Comedy Writing Ma 2022
Comedy Writing Ma 2022

Get the skills, tools and industry insights to push your projects to the top of the commissioning editor’s pile and get your script green-lit.

Key details
Course duration 2 years
Attendance Part-time
Subject to validation during this academic year Yes

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Start dates: January / May / September

(Three intakes per year) 

Course overview

Push the boundaries of comedy writing to its limits. Interrogate big ideas like sex, politics, religion and family through comedy. Or just write a show that's unashamedly stupid! There are lots of opportunities right now and a great need for new comedy writers. 

Get the skills, tools and industry-focus which will push your projects to the top of the commissioning editor's pile and see your script green-lit. Who knows; you could see yourself on the way to the BAFTAs, Oscars or Golden Globes with the next Fleabag, VEEP, Modern Family or Father Ted.

Throughout this course, you'll get writing tips and career guidance masterclasses from the very best in the industry. Guests have included the likes of sketch comedy heroes French & Saunders, Emmy and BAFTA-winning comedy writer Simon Blackwell, Radio 4 comedy commissioner Sioned Wiliam and former head of BBC and Sky comedy commissioning, Lucy Lumsden.

This online MA has been developed by award-winning comedy producer and executive producer Simon Nicholls. Simon has 20 years' comedy industry experience, developing and selling comedies in the UK and US.

You will: 

  • Study the work of renowned writers and directors, reflect on professional trends and learn how to seize market opportunities
  • Be taught by a host of comedy experts including multi-award-winning TV and Radio comedy producer and executive producer Simon Nicholls 
  • Learn how to write comedy sketches, sitcoms, comedy dramas and develop a body of work for multiple platforms including; radio, TV, film and online 
  • Develop a comedy writing portfolio consisting of scripts, treatments, synopses and your responses to professional comedy briefs which can be used as a calling card to gain agent representation and to present to commissioning editors 
  • Structure your working practice as a comedy writer; plotting your day, dealing with writers’ block, working to tight deadlines while remaining funny 
  • Understand the role of a commissioner, the criteria by which they assess new writing and what it takes to get your project green-lit 

Course details

On this Comedy Writing course, you'll study the work of renowned writers and directors, reflect on professional trends and learn how to seize market opportunities. You'll hone your craft to develop a distinct comedy scriptwriting portfolio and learn the street smarts of how to best navigate the comedy industry: how to grab opportunities, how to approach producers and agents and how to make your work stand out from the crowd.

Modules

This course is comprised of five modules, four 30-credit modules and one 60-credit project (180 credits in total). The modules have been specifically designed to be studied in a non-linear order, with the order in which you’ll study the modules depending on when you begin the course. All modules on the course are compulsory and must be passed in order to complete the award. 

MA Comedy Writing (Online)

Module details

You'll begin your studies by exploring fundamental questions such as, what is comedy? Why do we tell funny stories? How do we tell funny stories?

You'll then develop your sketch and long-form comedy writing skills and tackle a set of writing briefs, which will become part of your final portfolio of work. You'll consider comic timing and beats, scene construction, setting and characterisation.

(30 credits)

In this module, you'll gain a range of technical writing and project development skills as you work to produce industry-standard comedy writing with real commercial and creative potential.

You'll undertake research into a comedic area of interest and produce a case study that evaluates current comedy industry markets and opportunities.

In response to your findings, you'll develop a robust pitch document incorporating core ideas, the writer's vision, a short synopsis, description of genre, tone, setting, character and sample scenes.

(30 credits)

Here, you'll hone your ability to generate comedy script ideas. You'll explore the art of combining comedy with drama and sustaining a comic narrative and theme in a feature film, television or online/audio comedy series.

You'll also learn to frame your practice within the professional comedy scriptwriting industries through analysing the work of renowned scriptwriters and directors and reflecting on professional trends, markets and opportunities.

(30 credits)

This module is divided into two parts, giving students the unique opportunity to work collaboratively on a professional TV comedy brief within a commercial setting. 

In the first ten weeks, you’ll work in script development teams to develop a host of industry proposal documents. In the final two weeks, you’ll assume the roles of client/commissioner for each brief, assessing project proposals and deciding whether to ‘green-light’ them. 

(30 credits) 

Your studies culminate in a major script development project for a platform/medium of your choosing. You'll have the option to further develop work that you've produced on other modules or work on a completely new concept.

You'll begin by researching, proposing and pitching your project. You'll receive regular feedback and will continue writing until you have produced a polished, industry-standard final draft.

(60 credits)

The modules above are those being studied by our students, or proposed new ones. Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Course Leader.

From module information to course aims and assessment criteria, discover the full course details for the MA.

How you'll learn

You'll learn through a blend of lectures, webinars, guest talks, tasks and discussion forums, which you'll access via our dedicated virtual learning environment. This is also where you'll find all key documentation, get course announcements and access extensive learning resources.

You'll be supported academically by Online Tutors, who will also deliver weekly webinars and facilitate the online forums. If you need assistance with anything that isn't directly related to course material, a dedicated Student Advisor team will be on hand to help. You'll also have access to Falmouth University's excellent employability service, RealWORKs.

You'll refine dynamic comedy writing practices, spending 20-25 hours a week working on your craft. We incorporate optional face-to-face events for all our online students. There will be up to two per year and will typically run over weekends, to fit around your other commitments.

Find out more about learning online

Study hours

A postgraduate student should dedicate at least 20-25 hours per week for study.

Assessment methods

Assessment provides the course team with a means of offering tailored guidance alongside advice on how to progress knowledge and skills in key areas that relate to the course Learning Outcomes. The course team will identify your strengths and weaknesses as an individual and discuss them with you throughout your time on the course. 

Assessments are 100% coursework, submitted in an electronic format to the virtual learning environment, and designed to reflect professional practice. Assessment methods could include visual, verbal and written works, tailored specifically to each module.

Staff

You’ll be taught by prolific and award-winning industry professionals who are passionate about nurturing new talent. You’ll also have access to their extensive network and experience producing high-profile comedy shows.

Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every member shown here. 

Simon Nicholls

Course Leader, MA Comedy Writing

Simon is a multi-award-winning TV and Audio comedy producer. He has 20 years comedy industry experie...

Simon Nicholls
John Finnegan staff profile

John Finnegan

Module Leader, MA Writing for Script & Screen

John has worked in the film and media sector for fifteen years. He started his career as a...

John Finnegan

Rex Obano

Online Tutor, Comedy Writing MA

Rex Obano trained as an actor at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art where he was the recipient o...

Rex Obano

Facilities

  • Dedicated easy-to-use virtual learning environment (VLE) 
  • Study alongside students from around the world 
  • Accessible online audio / visual content 
  • Optional face-to-face events* 
  • Invitation to attend alumni events 
  • 24/7 access to Falmouth's extensive online library of contextual books, journals and resources 
  • Access to online software tutorials at LinkedIn Learning 
  • Students' Union community 
  • A Student Advisor to support you throughout your studies and access to our Student Support Services 
  • Access to our Careers and employability service RealWORKS

*Please bear in mind that the Covid-19 pandemic may impact these events. You can view the latest information here.

A Falmouth University student at a laptop with an orange screen
MA Comedy Writing 0

What our graduates do

Graduates of the Comedy Writing MA will be well-positioned to work professionally as comedy writers across a range of different arenas, including radio, television, online platforms and video games.

Simon Nicholls
Simon Nicholls

Get to know your course leader, Simon Nicholls


With over twenty years of industry experience under his belt, Simon has produced comedy programmes for some of Britain's most recognisable comedians. Discover some of Simon's industry tips, and get a feel for Falmouth's online Comedy Writing course.

Read more

How to apply

Get in touch

If you'd like to talk to an Advisor about this course, or your application, request a call back using the form below. We'll get back to you to answer any questions and support your application journey. 

Request information

Apply now

Ready to apply for postgraduate study? You can apply for the Comedy Writing MA (Online) by selecting the button below.

Apply for MA

An honours degree or Level 6 equivalent qualification is desirable. However, candidates without a degree or formal qualification are still encouraged to apply. For more information about entry requirements and Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), speak to an advisor.

You'll need to submit up to five pages of a script for either radio, TV or film. It's your choice, but it must be a comedy script, not any other genre, that best shows off your comedy writing. Please also submit a 300-word piece of writing considering an old sitcom, which is no longer running. The piece of writing should clearly tell us why you've picked this show for reinvention now. Please describe how you'll modernise and reinvent the show to be a relevant must-watch for today's audience. You should give consideration as to who will star in this production, and your vision for the show.

If your first language is not English, you'll need to take one of the following tests to verify your proficiency:

  • IELTS - minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • TOEFL iBT (online test) - minimum of 88 overall and at least 21 in all 4 components
  • LanguageCert (online test) - a High Pass from the ESOL B2 Communicator test in reading, writing, speaking and listening (2 parts)

We also accept a range of equivalent recognised English language qualifications.

For more information about equivalent international qualifications or English language requirements please contact our friendly Course Advisors.

This course has three intakes per year: January, May and September.

Academic start date*Application deadline
20 September 202131 August 2021
24 January 202210 January 2022
30 May 20229 May 2022

Please note:

*Virtual Welcome Week begins the week before the academic start date. During this time, our Student Advisor team will host Welcome Webinars and be in touch with practical information on how to study online.

An Early Bird discount is available for early applications. The scheme offers a £300 MA tuition fee reduction if you apply by the Early Bird discount submission deadline:

Early Bird discount submission deadline*Academic start date
4 April 202230 May 2022
25 July 202219 September 2022

*If you receive an offer and within two weeks you accept the place and pay the acceptance fee, you will then qualify for a further £300 off your MA tuition fees. Both these payments would be applied to your final fee instalment.

To discuss all our discount opportunities, contact an advisor.

Speak to an advisor

Fees, costs & funding

Tuition fees

£11,300 total fee (incl. acceptance fee) - 2 years part time - MA/MSc course

£11,795 total fee (incl. acceptance fee) - 2 years part time - MA/MSc course

Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may therefore raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible.

Early Bird discount

An Early Bird discount is available for early applications. The scheme offers a £300 MA tuition fee reduction if you apply by the relevant deadline.

For information on fees, get in touch using our online form.

Find out more about our Graduate Loyalty Discount for Falmouth alumni, which offers a reduction in course tuition fees. 

Typical course costs

In order to participate fully in the course, you will need to purchase screenwriting software. There are many options available. Contact our Course Advisors for advice about what to buy.

As part of this course you'll need to source some specific episodes of TV comedies. These can be purchased through digital media stores – such as iTunes – or video on demand services, such as Amazon Prime. If preferred, you could also buy hard copy DVDs. The Course Team will give you prior notice of which episodes to source as and when required.

Ask a student

What better way to find out about life at Falmouth University than by asking our current students? 

From course details, our facilities and the local area to the social scene and settling in, our students are ready and available to answer any questions you might have. Simply set up your account, send them a question and they'll get back to you within 24 hours.

 

What our students do

Studying MA Comedy Writing online means you'll be part of the trailblazing School of Communication community. Check out the stories below to discover more about our amazing students, graduates and staff.

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Online study funding

There are loans, awards and alternative funding sources for postgraduate studies. Read about them on our online study funding page.

Find out about funding
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Request information

You can submit our simple online form and a Course Advisor will get in touch with you. They'll be able to answer questions about how you'll study, what to expect from the course and the next step to take on your application journey.

Get in touch
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