Advice on which MA to choose - UAL vs Edinburgh Napier


New Member
To preface I know I'm in the UK so I'm not looking for advice about what each specific course is like more just general advice on if my thought process on this is completely of base.

So I've received two offers for MA screenwriting courses, one at the University of the Arts London (UAL) and one at Edinburgh Napier/Screen Academy Scotland. I'll also say I'm genuinely surprised it's been this hard a choice Before my interviews UAL was basically my top choice (would've loved Goldsmiths but they rejected me and even if I had got in I couldn't afford to go)

In terms of cost they're pretty evenly matched - UAL is technically the most expensive but I'm eligible for a £5,000 fee reduction - and Edinburgh is barely any less expensive to live in than London. The problem is that one, I do prefer the course at Napier just slightly as there's a little bit more variety, Plus the overall structure seems more familiar to me as someone coming straight from a traditional undergraduate degree. The other more personal benefit Napier has is that I did my undergraduate at Glasgow so pretty much my entire social circle would be a 1 hour train ride away.

Honestly though any other year I'd say screw it and go to UAL anyway, the course is still great, it's in London which is a big location +, it's really well recognised in the industry and you get the opportunity to pitch to producers at the end of the course which just seems like an absolutely insane opportunity to pass up. Unfortunately COVID is bearing its ugly head, Napier is currently planning for complete in-person learning whereas UAL is planning for blended learning where one day a week is on zoom and the other is in person and I'm just not sure I can do it. I've spent a year staring at zoom squares and I'm just completely burned out, I hated it, I crawled over the finish line with my undergrad. Seriously, my last semester I went from getting solid Bs with a few As to not getting a final grade higher than a C. I struggled doing 2 hour classes on zoom, and at UAL it would be a 10-5 day online. But then who the hell knows what either city/country will look like in a month or two, Scotland is plague central right now (cases have started going back down though). On the other hand given England is throwing complete caution to the wind despite a rising case number I wouldn't be surprised if everything had to close again anyway. And having lived in Scotland for most of the pandemic I definitely have more long term faith that it'll get better rather than worse there.

Its also not like Napier has zero cool perks either, they've had some really cool guests, you get heavily discounted industry passes to Edinburgh film festival and both courses have opportunities to collaborate with MA film students to actually have something produced. And both courses are equally well accredited on paper.

And on a 100% subjective level I got much better vibes from the course leader at Napier than I did UAL during the interviews. The Napier guy just gave off a much more encouraging feeling and ended the interview by talking about how he genuinely enjoyed my sample pointing out specific things that he liked, whereas the UAL interviewer almost made it feel like I should be grateful they were even offering me a place if that makes sense? I know that sounds petty because I should be grateful but I struggle with imposter syndrome/anxiety at the best of times the last thing I want is to spend a year second guessing if I even deserve to be there. Obviously I can handle constructive criticism but I'm just worried if I go I'm gonna have this irrational voice in the back of my head the entire time.

Every time I go through it all It just feels like for every pro each one has they have an equal number of cons. It just keeps coming back to that end of year pitch at UAL though, like would I be an absolute lunatic to turn down that? Because it feels like it should be a no-brainer. On the other hand having the chance to pitch means nothing if I get there and do terribly.
I'm not sure if those programs are in our film school database yet if you want to add them:

I can probably add them later this weekend though if you are unable to.

Re your decision though.... Hmmm it's tough. One benefit of London would be that it would be a location change and that's sometimes very good for new experiences and getting the creative juices flowing. Stepping out of your comfort zone so to speak. (Unless you are very familiar with London)

And yes I am afraid that a lot is going to be locked down again if the idiots don't get vaccinated. I worry about that alot in the US... But really can't worry about that too much as it's really out of our control. So I'm not sure I'd base your selection on that.
Both of these programs have been added to our Application Tracker and the Film School Database. :)

University of the Arts London (UAL) - MA Screenwriting

University of the Arts London (UAL) - MA Screenwriting

MA Screenwriting is an industry-focused screenwriting course that develops writers and script editors for the film, television and radio industries.

Edinburgh Napier University - Screen Academy Scotland

Edinburgh Napier University - Screen Academy Scotland

For over thirty years Edinburgh Napier University has been the Scottish centre of excellence for practice-based film and television higher education courses.

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