Master of Arts

Serial Storytelling

Informationsmaterial anfordern
4 Semester

Das Master-Studium

»How to be a staff writer; or, why there is no I in team.«
Lawrence Meyers, Inside the TV Writers’ Room

The MA Serial Storytelling at the ifs Internationale Filmschule Köln is Europe’s first Master’s Programme focusing on collaborative writing for series.
Focusing on both local and international series markets, this intensive two-year master's degree programme combines story development skills, collaboration techniques (»Writers’ Room«), and the innovative approach of artistic research.

Students work with highly acclaimed international guest speakers and scholars, such as Jane Espenson (Battlestar Gallactica, Game of Thrones), Kath Lingenfelter (Westworld), Lisa Albert (Mad Men), Annette Hess (Ku’damm 56/59/63, Wir Kinder From Bahnhof Zoo), Oliver Kienle (Bad Banks) or Jeppe Gjervig Gram (Borgen, Follow the Money).

The programme is supported by industry partners such as RTL Media Group, ZDF, SKY Deutschland, Paramount, btf bildundtonfabrik, Série Series, Series Mania, and the Film Festival Cologne.


Talented aspiring series writers with advanced team working skills, an interest in academic and creative research and at least one year of relevant work experience.

Studienplan und Studienschwerpunkte

The Master's programme »Serial Storytelling« guides young professionals in exploring, conquering, and expanding forms and methods of serial narration for TV and digital platforms. Accompanied by renowned series creators, script consultants, and media scholars, the students analyse the secrets behind the success of popular series and develop their own innovative series concepts. Series dramaturgy, character development, and collaborative writing processes (»Writers' Room«) are at the center of their practical work.
In addition to narrative and media-theoretical content, the programme conveys the basics of transnational markets and new media platforms, and it supports the students in exploring innovative narrative forms, work structures, and distribution channels.

With a strong focus on collaboration skills and innovative strategies, this Master’s program provides aspiring series writers with exceptional learning experiences:

Relevant Skills for a Wide Range of Career Paths

  • acquiring a wide-ranging skill set that combines the tools of professional screenwriters and an in-depth knowledge of creative teamwork
  • mastering models and methods of serial storytelling format

Hands-on Experience

  • developing 4-5 series projects in different formats over four semesters
  • creating fascinating characters, compelling ensembles, surprising plots, and sustainable concepts
  • mastering key soft skills such as pitching, networking and negotiating
  • gaining hands-on experience in collaborative as well as individual screenwriting, including the creation of a complete drama series within a writers’ room led by an expert professional showrunner

Industry Insights and Networking Opportunities

  • learning from highly acclaimed international writers, producers,
  • enjoying privileged networking and pitching opportunities, e.g. at international series festivals such as Seriencamp Munich, Série Series in Fontainebleau or Series Mania in Lille

Artistic Research and the Social Responsibility of the Storyteller

  • exploring philosophical and ethical topics and expanding their knowledge of serial storytelling in academic as well as artistic research projects
  • discussing pressing social issues as well as current trends and visions of future series markets, formats and ways of distribution with acclaimed experts from various fields
  • transforming these findings into exciting, innovative, and relevant serial narratives.

Internationaler und deutschsprachiger Track

For the majority of courses, the group of 16 students joins together. Thus, this programme mostly takes place in English.

However, for more elaborate writing projects and for classes geared to specific series markets, students may split into two tracks.  In these specific cases, students of the international track write in English for international audiences, while students of the German-language track study and write in German with a focus on German-language series markets.

Aufnahme und Zugangsvoraussetzungen

Academic Requirements
To obtain a Master’s degree, applicants must have an undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree) with a minimum of 180 ECTS credits or a higher degree (e.g. a German »Magister« or »Diplom«) from an accredited university. The ifs welcomes talented applicants who have received degrees in unrelated fields.
In justified exceptional cases, applicants with exceptional artistic skills whose CVs lack one or more of these formal requirements may request to enroll in the program as advanced training participants.

Work Experience
Applicants must have worked in the field of media production for at least one year. (see FAQ for more details)

Language Skills
Very good knowledge of English.
B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, e.g. by a TOEFL score of a minimum of 72 points (internet-based) or equivalent test results. Native English speakers are exempted from this.
German language skills are only required for students in the German track.

Screenwriting Skills
A solid understanding of the basics of screenwriting and dramaturgy in theory and practice is a prerequisite for this program. This is assessed in the application process. If an applicant’s knowledge and skills in this field prove to be yet insufficient at the time of selection, the applicant may be required to enroll in the ifs’ »Summer School Screenwriting« (or in a comparable course) before the start of the Master’s Program (additional costs apply). In these cases, admission is pending until the missing proof has been provided.


One time registration fee
400 Euro

Tuiton fee per semester
Non-EU students: 3.750 Euro
EU students: 2.750 Euro

Semester fee TH Köln
330,20 Euro

The tuition fees for the MA Serial Storytelling are 2,750 euros per semester for EU citizens and 3,750 euros for non-EU citizens.

The ifs is a cooperation partner of the TH Köln and all ifs students are enrolled at the TH Köln and can use the services offered by the TH, such as the semester ticket for public transport, access to the TH's International Office or to the sports courses and facilities.


Hier können Sie kostenloses Informations­material zu diesem Studiengang direkt vom Bildungsanbieter Internationale Filmschule Köln (ifs) anfordern. Die angegebenen Daten werden ausschließlich an diesen Bildungsanbieter übermittelt und selbstverständlich nicht an Dritte weiter gegeben.

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The ifs Internationale Filmschule Köln is one of the leading full study and professional training institutions  for media professionals in Germany.

Our range of study programmes includes internationally recognised and accredited Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes, which we offer in cooperation with the TH Köln. The intensive cooperation with experienced lecturers from media practice and media science guarantees students a first-class and industry-related education with individual and intensive support.

In addition, we offer practice-oriented professional training opportunities for media professionals - from the European Showrunner Programme to the Masterclass Comedy and the Masterclass Non-Fiction.

The ifs was founded in 2000 as a non-profit company on the initiative of the NRW state government and the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. The sole principal partner is the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW.

Our responsibility
As a training institution for the creatives of tomorrow, we are aware of our special social and societal responsibility - whether it is to reflect the diversity of our society in front of and behind the camera or to anchor sustainability in all areas of the ifs. We are continuously working on this.


Internationale Filmschule Köln (ifs)

Schanzenstraße 28
51063 Köln

Tel.: +49 (0) 221 920188-0