NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

CRICOS: 113111J

MFA (Dramatic Writing)

Home Study Postgraduate MFA (Dramatic Writing)


18 months full-time on campus occasional classes online

Fees 2025

$42,840 AUD (domestic)

Semester Dates 2025

Semester 1: 10 February – 26 June
Semester 2: 21 July – 5 December

Applications for 2025 intake

Open Monday 3 June 2024
Close Monday 30 September 2024

Contact Admissions

+61 (02) 9697 7686

MFA (Dramatic Writing)

Course Overview

The Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing is an industry-focused course designed to support and accelerate the careers of new writers telling compelling stories across stage and screen.

Students undergo a rigorous exploration of the building blocks of dramatic craft applied across theatre, film, television and interactive and immersive writing. This is a practice-based course that structures learning around imaginative writing exercises and the development of a portfolio of projects, including two full-length works and multiple outlines ready to pitch. Students also develop professional friendships and undertake collaborative projects, such as working in TV writers’ rooms, as well as working with directors and actors to workshop scenes and productions across stage and screen.

This is an intensive course with a significant workload designed to prepare students for life as a professional writer. However, it also offers flexibility and a safe, supportive and stimulating environment where students can be curious, experiment with form and subject matter, and explore their own unique imagination and voice. We believe that some of our most important stories are those least told and strongly encourage applications from First Nations and other writers from underrepresented communities. Building inclusive and collaborative environments and understanding issues of story ownership is seen as core to developing an ethical practice.

The course is focused on developing versatile and adaptive dramatic writers capable of having sustainable writing careers. With the capacity to work across theatre, film and television, students receive a thorough overview of those industries, illustrated by industry guests, and how to generate opportunities to pitch themselves and their projects. NIDA’s strong links with industry facilitates pathways into those industries as well as allows students to begin establishing a network of professional connections.

  • Utilise sophisticated dramatic techniques in the creation of form appropriate narrative
  • Critically analyse a range of narrative works across stage and screen, providing a rigorous explanation of their dramatic composition and thematic concerns
  • Create work and communicate ideas that demonstrate a distinctive voice
  • Develop safe and inclusive environments and working relationships that facilitate all participants to contribute to challenging creative projects
  • Generate professional opportunities through the application of knowledge and understanding of the creative industries
  • Navigate complex ethical issues that connect the process and outcome of storymaking with its social, cultural and political context
  • Design, implement, document and / or disseminate research relevant to their practice

The duration of the Master of Fine Arts is 18 months and comprises nine subjects with a total of 180 credit points, with 60 credit points per semester.

Students are usually required on campus at NIDA from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday.

Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason, it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment, so students need to manage their time and resources carefully.

2024 Term Dates

Welcome Week

5 – 7 February 2025 (First years and MFA only)

Term 1

10 February – 18 April 2025

Term 2

28 April – 27 June 2025

Semester Break

30 June – 18 July 2025

Term 3

21 July – 19 September 2025

Term 4

29 September – 5 December 2025

Term dates exclude public holidays. View 2025 NSW public holiday dates.

Semester one
  • Principles of Dramatic Writing
  • Story and Culture
  • Writing for Stage
Semester two
  • Writing for Screen
  • Episodic Writing
  • The Business of Writing
  • Practice-Based Research Project
Semester three
  • Interactive and Immersive Storytelling
  • Practice-Based Research Project
  • Major Project

Download 2025 Course Overview

Our graduates may be employed writers for stage and screen, as well as other dramatic genres, including dramatic podcasts and interactive storytelling. Students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to access and navigate a rapidly changing industry landscape and practices.

Potential careers include

  • Playwright
  • Screenwriter
  • Dramaturg
  • Script Editor / Development Executive
  • Narrative designer
  • And other forms of dramatic writing

Meet the team

Admissions Criteria

Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.
International students with academic qualifications that are not in English will need to attach a certified, official translation in English in application portal.

For more information, read our Admissions Transparency Statement.

Entry is by merit selection.

General entry requirements for accredited postgraduate courses are as follows:

  • Have completed an undergraduate degree (in any area) or have five years relevant experience in a related area.
  • Be proficient in written and spoken English.

Applications are encouraged from domestic applicants who:

  • Identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Applications are encouraged from international applicants who:

  • have successfully completed a Genuine Temporary Entry (GTE) interview.
  • have an English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 8.0

Recognition of Prior Learning is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.

NIDA may grant credit for:

  • Formal study undertaken in recognised education institutions in Australia, including universities, colleges, TAFE and other post-secondary education institutions and for study at recognised overseas institutions.
  • Credentialed courses provided by recognised professional bodies, employers and other authorities, where appropriate certification is available; and
  • Prior learning, where such learning can be sufficiently evidenced.

The principles underlying the assessment of credit transfer/Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) applications are that the policy and procedures are:

  • Aligned to the Higher Education Standards Framework and the Vocational Standards for RTOs.
  • Designed to maintain the integrity and reputation of NIDA’s accredited courses for which credit or RPL is applied and support the collaborative nature of NIDA’s conservatoire training model.
  • Consistent, equitable, transparent, and accountable.
  • Based on processes of comparable standard and integrity to those used to assess the relevant subject.
  • That students are not disadvantaged in achieving the expected learning outcomes for the course of study or qualification.

NIDA Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Apply for RPL/Credit Transfer

Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.

We select applicants who demonstrate commitment, capacity and willingness to advance their practice by:

  • Demonstrating a commitment to and passion for dramatic writing and the motivation to achieve success in the creative industries
  • Demonstrating a range of technical knowledge and craft skills
  • Providing evidence of a capacity to work creatively and imaginatively
  • Demonstrating cultural and contextual awareness in the form of stories they want to tell
  • Demonstrating an ability to collaborate and bring valuable perspectives to a group

How to apply

Applicants MUST apply online via the NIDA website.

Entry to the MFA Dramatic Writing is by interview. Applicants will need to prepare a narrative statement, CV, and portfolio as part of their application.

The application process for the Master of Fine Arts (Dramatic Writing) consists of two rounds:

  • Round one – online application including CV, portfolio and narrative statement.
  • Round Two – interview

Only applicants who are successful in Round One will be invited to interview.

Download 2025 Application Guide


In a maximum of 1,000 words, tell us your own unique story. Who are you, where do you come from and where are you heading to? Give us a sense of your personality, what has shaped you and what do you want to say about the world?


Upload a detailed CV highlighting your education and training, professional work and other relevant experience.


You will need to provide proof of your university degree/s or five years of professional experience in a relevant area. This can be a scan/photograph of your transcript or testamur from the awarding institution.


Prepare examples of past work that support your application and demonstrate your suitability for a career in dramatic writing, for both stage and screen:

a) Three pieces of your best writing.

  • At least two should be dramatic scripts (plays or screenplays). At least one of these should be a full piece of work (of no more than 15 pages) while the other two can be an extract of a larger work (of no more than 10 pages).
  • All three pieces of work should be professionally formatted (NB: Anything over the permitted lengths will not be read).

b) Three one-page outlines for new pieces of work

  • These can be ideas for new full-length plays, films or television projects and should demonstrate your ability to create form-appropriate ideas.

Download one-page outline template

Please merge your work into one document, and upload with your application.

You will upload both your Narrative Statement, CV and Portfolio in the ‘Course Specific Application Requirements’ attachment section of your online application.

Interviews are generally conducted by three panelists and will take place via Microsoft Teams. Each applicant interview will run for approximately 40 minutes.

During the interview, we will discuss your portfolio; your ideas about theatre, film and television; your worldview, concerns, ambitions, creative process experience, and why you want to study Dramatic Writing at NIDA. There will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about NIDA or about the interview itself.

Some tips:

NIDA recognises that interviews can be stressful, but every effort will be made to ensure your experience will be as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. Remember, the more time and effort you put into your application in advance, the better prepared you will be and the more you will benefit from the interview and discussion.

The interview process is friendly, informal and open, and is designed to give you the very best opportunity to indicate your potential and readiness to study at NIDA. However, should you have any concerns with the interview process or with what is said to you during the course of the interview, please express your concern immediately, or talk it over with a member of the interview panel before you leave.

Fees and Scholarships

Domestic and international students are required to pay tuition fees by the due date each semester.

Domestic Students

Domestic tuition fees overview

Domestic students are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

Degree Course duration 2024 Annual tuition fee $AUD* Estimated total course tuition fee*
Master of Fine Arts (Dramatic Writing) 18 months $27,120.00 $42,840.00*

2025 Domestic Graduate Student Fee Schedule

2024 Domestic Graduate Student Fee Schedule

International Students

International tuition fees overview

Fees and financial assistance vary for international students, please read full details here.

Degree Course duration 2025 Annual tuition fee $AUD* Estimated total course tuition fee*
Master of Fine Arts (Dramatic Writing) 18 months $44,520.00 $66,780.00

2025 International Graduate Student Fee Shedule

2024 International Graduate Student Fee Schedule

*The tuition fees are reviewed each year and if you enrol you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolments.

** EFTSL – Effective Full-Time Study Load: indicates the relative study load of a subject against a full-time study load of 1.0 for an academic year. For consistency, the EFTSL have been rounded to 3 decimal places. This is not indicative of the full value of the EFTSL but represents an accurate load for fee calculations.

Australian citizens and holders of permanent humanitarian visas are eligible for an Australian Government FEE-HELP loan for all or part of their tuition fees. For more information about FEE-HELP please read the information below and visit Study Assist.

What is FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is the Australian Government loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay their tuition fees, so that students do not have to pay tuition fees up-front. FEE-HELP can cover all or part of a student’s tuition fees.

In 2024, the FEE-HELP loan limit is $121,844 for most students.

A loan fee of 20% applies to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. The FEE-HELP limit does not include the loan fee.

The Government pays the amount of the loan directly to NIDA. Students repay their loan through the tax system once their income rises above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

For more information go to

Who is eligible for FEE-HELP?

  • You are eligible for a FEE-HELP loan if you are either:
  • an Australian Citizen; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa

Those NOT eligible for FEE-HELP are:

  • New Zealand citizens – refer to the Study Assist website
  • Australian permanent residents
  • Overseas students

Financial Assistance

Eligible students, who are Australian residents, can apply to Centrelink for financial assistance through Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information.

NIDA is committed to making its education and learning more accessible to the most creative and talented individuals across Australia with a range of scholarships aimed to remove financial barriers, providing students with the opportunity to study at NIDA while being relieved of some of the cost of living, relocating and study expenses.

NIDA scholarships are made available by the generous support of donors, sponsors, corporate partners, trusts and bequests, through the NIDA Foundation Trust, and enable a significant increase in financial assistance to ongoing and students commencing study in 2025.


Students are required to have access to a Laptop (Windows 10 and later), MacBook (Mac OS 10.15 Catalina or later). All the devices should comply with 5ghz (dual band). All notebooks should be secured with a Kensington lock to help prevent theft.

For file transfers and data backup, it is advised to use the Microsoft OneDrive storage provided by your NIDA Account, for optimum video processing (if required by your subject) on your computer (Laptop/MacBook/Desktop etc.) a 1GB dedicated graphics card is recommended but not compulsory.

Students will need to have access to scriptwriting software on their laptops. Appropriate software will be recommended.

Further Information

The table below gives an indication of the educational backgrounds of the 2024 commencing postgraduate MFA cohort.

It should be noted that as selection and admission to courses at NIDA is based on merit the statistics below may not be indicative of the educational backgrounds of commencing cohorts on a year-to-year basis.

L/N – Low numbers: the number of students is less than 5.

Applicant Background Number of students Percentage of all students
(A) Past higher education study 25 78%
(B) Past Vocational Education and Training study Ν/Α Ν/Α
(C) Recent secondary education
Admitted on basis of other criteria and ATAR was not a factor
(D) Work and life experience Ν/Α Ν/Α
International students LN N/A
All students 32 100%

NIDA’S Registration Status

Registered as a Higher Education Provider by TEQSA

Registration Renewal Date

25 June 2025

CRICOS Registration

Code: 00756M

This allows NIDA to enrol international students on student visas into CRICOS approved courses.

Self Accrediting Authority*

Yes – partial self accrediting

Registered Higher Education providers may be authorised by TEQSA to self-accredit courses of study.

Course Name Status CRICOS Code
Master of Fine Arts (Dramatic Writing) Self-Accredited by NIDA under TEQSA’s determination of Self-Accrediting Authority for NIDA. 113111J

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for more info about NIDA courses, admissions and facilities? Check our FAQ page for answers to commonly-asked questions from future students.

This qualification is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. 

Read more information about the AQF.

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