Writing Drama (Online)


Drama is a hugely popular art form. This creative and critical course will help students to turn their passion for drama, whether stage, radio, television, or film, into the craft of dramatic writing, and to understand and appreciate the work of established dramatists.

Listen to Nicholas McInerny talking about the course:

Theatre-going is as much a cultural pastime as sports-watching, television is drawing huge audiences, radio and podcasts continue to appeal widely, and cinema remains the pinnacle of the screenwriting craft. At the heart of all this drama is the script - the focus of our course. The approach of this course is both creative and critical. After a methodological introduction, students will learn the key elements of successful dramatic writing: structure; characterisation; dialogue; and be shown how to employ these in their own work. They will also acquire greater understanding of the four main media: stage; radio; television; and film; as well as insights into genre and adaptation. This course is for anyone who wants to write drama, or to learn more about how drama is written, in an environment that is supportive and inspirational.

This course emphasises weekly reading and writing exercises, peer feedback, and tutor guidance. Tutors prompt and moderate discussions that centre on group learning rather than workshopping personal pieces of writing. Both assessed assignments receive detailed feedback from the tutor.

For information on how the courses work, please click here.

Programme details

  1. In the beginning
  2. Where do stories come from?
  3. Structure 1: Building blocks
  4. Structure 2: Focus
  5. Structure 3: Variations on a theme
  6. Characterisation
  7. Dialogue
  8. Making a scene
  9. Similarity and difference
  10. Just do it

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.


Credit Application Transfer Scheme (CATS) points 

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £30 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £30 fee. 

See more information on CATS point

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education, you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee. 


Digital credentials

All students who pass their final assignment, whether registered for credit or not, will be eligible for a digital Certificate of Completion. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so. 

Please note that assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail. 


Description Costs
Course fee £635.00
Take this course for CATS points £30.00


Dr Louis Greenberg

Louis Greenberg is a writer and fiction editor with a doctorate in modern English literature. Under his own name and co-writing as S.L. Grey, he has published nine novels including The MallThe Apartment and Exposure, a mystery about an immersive theatre group. Louis has studied scriptwriting, theatre set design and film finance, and two of his books are in film development. An Advanced Professional member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, Louis has edited fiction for several major publishers.



Course aims

This course will enable students to:

  • Develop a series of key technical skills that are intrinsic to all dramatic writing.
  • Develop further understanding of both the similarities and differences between Stage, Radio, TV and Film.
  • Practise individually and collectively exercises designed to improve their skills as dramatists.
  • Gain a greater understanding of the collaborative nature of dramatic writing within the context of evaluating both their own and other's work.
  • Build a writerly practice around the 'Portfolio' model.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will understand:

  • Key elements of successful dramatic writing.
  • The practical application of those elements in their own work.
  • The collaborative process involved in seeing a project though from initial idea to completion of first draft.

By the end of this course students will have gained the following skills:

  • Enhanced ability to employ a number of techniques in their writing.
  • An increased confidence in the use of those techniques, and their application.
  • An awareness that they are writing out of their 'influences' and into their own 'voice'.

Assessment methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 1,500 words due at the end of the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link: https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/english-language-requirements


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an Enrolment form for short courses | Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.