Master’s program Serial Storytelling
The MA Serial Storytelling at the ifs internationale filmschule köln is the first graduate degree program of its kind. Focusing on both local and international series markets, this intensive two-year degree program combines story development skills with collaboration techniques and the innovative approach of artistic research.
This program is ideal for young professionals who aspire to make story development for series projects in a variety of forms and platforms their professional goal. It is the new vision of young professionals like our students that is driving revolutionary change in the industry today.
Next application phase: from autumn 2020
Next start of studies: September 2021
Projects & Films
Prof. Dr. Joachim Friedmann
MA Serial Storytelling
Joachim Friedmann is a German screenwriter, comic writer, developer of online formats, and media scholar. He worked for popular TV series like »In aller Freundschaft«, »Die Camper«, »Der letzte Bulle (The Last Cop)«, and »Die Lindenstraße«. As a comic writer, he is the only German to write »Donald Duck« stories in English. He created the comics series »Lais and Ben« (Carlsen Publishing House) and wrote the comic adaptation of the TV movie »Mörderische Entscheidung« with Oliver Hirschbiegel. Another focus of his work is interactive, online-based formats and games. In this field, he was responsible for concept and storytelling of the transmedia project centering on the DFB mascot »Paule« and designed the award-winning interactive learning game »Die Schlaumäuse«. Since 2001, he has been teaching dramaturgy, series development, and series writing at the University of Hildesheim and at various film schools. In 2017 he became professor of Serial Storytelling at ifs internationale filmschule köln. Friedmann’s dissertation on »Transmedia Narrative: Narrative Design in Literature, Film, Graphic Novel and Game« was published in 2016, his textbook »Storytelling« (UTB) in 2019.
seit 2014 In aller Freundschaft – Die jungen Ärzte 2009-2014 Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten seit 2009 In aller Freundschaft (Bambi Publikumspreis 2014) 2011 Der letzte Bulle 2008 Klinik am Alex 2007 Sekretärinnen (Nominierung Grimme-Preis 2014) 2006 Hinter Gittern 1999-2005 Die Camper (Nominierung Deutscher Comedypreis 2002, Nominierung Goldene Rose von Montreux 2002) 2004 Nicht von dieser Welt 2001-2004 Für alle Fälle Stefanie 2003 Die wahren Abenteuer des Baron Münchhausen 2001 Lupin III (Synchronbücher) 1997-2001 Lindenstraße (Goldene Kamera 1998, Adolf-Grimme-Preis 2001)
GAMES & ONLINE (Selection)
2014 Paule (Autor und Konzepter für transmediales Portal des DFB-Maskottchens) 2013 Schlaumäuse (u. a. ausgezeichnet mit »Digita 2013«; Microsoft Deutschand) 2012-2013 Rakuns (Stiftung Kindergesundheit, rakuns.de) 2012 Galileo Genial (Pro7)
1995-2003 Donald Duck 1991 Mörderische Entscheidung (Adaption gem. mit O. Hirschbiegel) 1990-1995 Lais und Ben 1994-1997 Lindenstraße
»Serial storytelling does not begin with the ›Sopranos‹ and ›Six Feet Under‹, but with the ›Odyssey‹ and the ›Mahabharata‹. Serial and epic storytelling is a trans-historic and transcultural phenomenon. On this basis, I will work together with the students to create contemporary and future-oriented serial formats, explore the possibilities of interactive and transmedia narrative, and show that artistic thinking and marketability are not mutually exclusive.«
Tom Abrams is an award-winning screenwriter and director whose films have won prizes in both the United States and Europe. Tom’s short film »Shoeshine« received an Academy Award Nomination and won the Montreal World Film Festival. His short film »Performance Pieces« was awarded the short film prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
»Conversations with the Beast«, a film Tom co-scripted, won an award at the Berlin Filmfestival, »A Mouthful of Ants«, a thriller Tom also co-scripted, won the Jury Prize at the Malaga Film Festival in Spain. Tom was also Dramaturge on »The Notebook«, which won the Jury Award at Karlovy Vary. In the fall of 1992, Tom shared an Emmy Award with the writing staff of the animated television series »Rugrats«.
Past script sales include »Have Gun Will Travel« for Warner Bros., »The Captain’s Wife« for Fox 2000, »The American Princess« for New Line Cinema, »The Battle of Ono« for director John Woo , »Metal Machine« for James Jacks at Universal, and »Gameboy Charlie« for Bruckheimer producer, Chad Oman. His most recently produced project is »Smoking Aces: Assassin’s Ball« for Universal Pictures. Tom is also an international script consultant working in more than 15 countries and is a tenured professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles.
Lisa Patricia Albert
Lisa Albert is an American writer and producer. She worked in both capacities on the AMC drama Mad Men and won five Writers Guild awards, three Emmys and a Peabody for her work on the show. She graduated with honors from Swarthmore College in 1981 with a degree in English Literature. Some of her other television writing credits include: The Cosby Show, Major Dad, Murphy Brown and Hannah Montana. In 2015/16 she worked as a consulting producer on the AMC drama Halt and Catch Fire and in 2016/17 will be joining the Lifetime series UnReal as a writer and co-executive producer.
Author, screenwriter at HBO Hungary.
Author, film curator, director and journalist.
2016 Die Mauer (Deutscher Krimi Preis 2017)
2014 Die Farm
Director of (selection):
1996 Passe bure! Die Filmemacherin Fanta Regina Nacro
Head of Fiction (VOX)
Jim Charne is a California, New York, New Jersey, and Wisconsin lawyer with a long private and corporate practice history providing comprehensive representation in all aspects of intellectual property, entertainment, technology, music, and Internet commerce. His experience in computer software, video games, and other technology-based entertainment extends back to the formative days of the category.
Author, director and script consultant. M.A. in psychology and undergraduate degree in film. Script teacher and script consultant at the American Film Institute in L.A., the Director’s and Writer’s Guild of America, Bavaria Film Studios and RAI Television Rome.
Study advisor, course coordinator of the Cologne Game Lab.
Editor (Super RTL)
Producer of (selection):
2015 The Last Panther (various episodes)
2015 The Returned (various episodes)
2012 Les Revenants (various episodes)
Director, scriptwriter, producer, founder of the production company DOBAGO FILM & founder and festival director of »die Seriale«.
Dr. Marion Esch
Chairperson of the Academy and Foundation for MINT-Entertainment-Education, where she further develops approaches to Mint education through fictional program formats.
Screenwriter and producer.
Screenwriter of (selection):
2013 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
2009 Warehouse 13
2006 Battlestar Galactica
2003 Gilmore Girls
2001 O.C., California
Dramaturge and producer.
Projects as dramaturge and scriptwriter (selection):
2013-2017 Doctors (TV series)
2011 The Runaway
2010 The Silence
Game Designer from Berlin, who has worked in influential creative roles in several major games since 2003. He is currently working as Creative Director on “MMORPG Albion Online”. Jörg Friedrich also teaches games design at the Games Academy in Berlin and as a guest lecturer at various German universities.
Spec Ops: The Line
Scriptwriter and script consultant.
2017 Alles was zählt
2009 Alisa – Folge deinem Herzen
2008/2009 Das Traumschiff
2008 Verbotene Liebe
2008 In aller Freundschaft
2001-2005 Hinter Gittern – Der Frauenknast
Writer and author
2016 Polizeiruf 110 (1 episode)
2016 Drei Väter sind besser als keiner
2016 Unser Traum von Kanada
2016 Phoenixsee (6 episodes)
2016 Und dann noch Paula
2016 Morden im Norden
2012 Tatort (1 episode)
2000 Alles Atze
1999 Ritas Welt
1997 -2004 Nikola
2012 Dolmades & Schnitzel
Showrunner, screenwriter and producer.
2010 Drop Dead Diva
2007-2008 The Dresden Files
1995 Law & Order
1993 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
1992 Raumschiff Enterprise
1990 21 Jump Street
Author and showrunner. Poached from the public broadcaster “DR”. Created together with the author Adam Price and Tobias Lindholm the first political drama series Borrow. Developed a new show for DR: Follow the Money.
Author of (selection):
2016 Bedrag (various episodes)
2010-2013 Borgen (various episodes)
2008/09 Sommer (various episodes)
Editor at ZDF »Junges Angebot«.
Studies of Visual Communication und graphic design. Working as production designer, interior and outdoor property since 1989.
Production Designer of (selection):
2015 Ein Hologramm für den König
2012 Cloud Atlas
2011 Hotel Lux
2007 The International
2006 Das Parfum (Deutscher Filmpreis 2007, Bayerischer Filmpreis 2007, Europäischer Filmpreis 2007)
2005 Der Schatz des weißen Falken
2003 Das Wunder von Bern
2001 Das Experiment (Deutscher Filmpreis 2001)
2000 Der Krieger und die Kaiserin
1999 Aimée & Jaguar
1997 Praxis Dr. Hasenbein
1991 Das Deutsche Kettensägen Massaker
scriptwriter and non-fiction writer.
Screenwriter of (selection):
2010 Bones – Die Knochenjägerin
2006 Perfect Disaster
2002/2003 CSI: Vegas
2001 This Modern World
Screenwriter, director and script consultant.
Director, screenwriter and author of games.
2014/15 Das Unkrautland
2010 Farewell Comrades!
2008 The Tribe
Games projects (selection):
2009 Siedler 7
2009 Red Steel 2
2008 Anno 1404
Screenwriter, copywriter, music supervisor. Since 2015 “Head of Drama Production” at Sky.
2012-2014 Die Harald Schmidt Show (various episodes)
2007 Macht der Bilder – Bilder der Macht
2006 Türkisch für Anfänger
1999 Pop 2000
Editor at ProsiebenSAT.1: international co-productions.
Showrunner, producenr, director of (selection):
2020 Isi & Ossi
2018-2020 Bad Banks
2016 Auf kurze Distanz
Since 2013 producer and executive producer at UFA Fiction GmbH. Previously fiction and multimedia producer at Phoenix Film Gmbh, Berlin.
Prof. Dr. Swantje Lichtenstein
German writer and university lecturer. Since 2007 she has been teaching text and aesthetic practice as professor at the Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences in the Department of Culture, Aesthetics and Media.
Author of (selection):
Founder and programme director of the SERIENCAMP festival. Managing director of the agency tiptap GmbH.
Author and showrunner.
2003 – 2016 Dexter
2002 -2003 The Shield – Gesetz der Gewalt
1999 Die Sopranos
Dr. Janet McCabe
Media scientist at Birkbeck, University of London.
2013 The West Wing. TV Milestone Series.
2004 Feminist Film Studies: Writing the Woman into Cinema.
Manuel Meimberg is a Berlin-based screenwriter, director and creative producer, known among other things for the comedy series Familie Braun (ZDF). He found his entry into the film business via soap: from 1996 to 2009 he worked in various positions for the RTL productions »Unter Uns«, »Verschollen« and »Alles, was zählt«. This was followed by his first own series concepts and pilot scripts, among others for »Wiedemann & Berg TV« Munich and »Filmpool / Fiction GmbH«, Cologne. Since 2011 Manuel Meimberg has been writing regularly for the ZDF series SOKO Leipzig, as well as for numerous series projects of UFA Fiction. One of his web series was nominated twice for the International Emmy Award, in 2015 he received the Audience Award Series at the Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival for »Familie Braun«, as well as an honorable mention from the jury for the New Creators Award.
Screenwrtier of (selection):
2019 Letzte Spur Berlin: Urvertrauen
2019 Vor der Flut
2018 Taff Cookies
2018 The Prophecy
2017 Letzte Spur Berlin: Liebesreigen
2016 Die Barbarin
Dramaturge, editor and screenwriter
Project supervising dramaturgy (selection):
2020 Latte Igel und der Wasserstein
2015 Welcome to Iceland
2018 Das schönste Paar
Dr. Peter Nadermann
Editor. Former Professor KHM, producer. Since 2012 managing director of Nadcon Film GmbH in Cologne.
2013 Die Brücke
2012 Kommissarin Lund
2011 Nordlicht – Mörder ohne Reue
2004 Don’t Come Knocking
Screenwriter, director and producer. From 2008 to 2012 she was the deputy managing director as well as author and producer of the film and television production companies Ulmen Television and Ulmen Film in Berlin. In 2010, she invented and produced the 6-part sitcom The Snobs – They can do without you. From 2011 to 2013 she worked as director, screenwriter and social media manager on the 14-part cross-media TV series About:Kate.
Director / screenwriter of (selection):
2015 Youtube Beacon (Campaign for Google Inc.)
2014/15 Wireinander (German Award for Online Communication 2015, Best Campaign)
2014 Sarah Hazel’s Drink & Schmink
2011-2013 About:Kate (Grimme Prize: Standardization for concept and realization in the category »Competition Fiction/Special«)
2010 Die Snobs – Sie können auch ohne dich
Works as a screenwriter and as a story consultant. Works primarily in film and television although she still occasionally work in theatre and has experience in new media.
Script consultant, Screenwriting lecturer and author of “The Creative Matrix”.
Author of (selection):
2015 Und morgen höre ich auf
Dr. Martina Richter
Media consultant, partner at HMR International, managing director of Cologne Conference.
Dr. Keyvan Sarkhosh
Literature and film scientist, research assistant at Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics.
2017 Trash, Boom, Bang: Ein Forschungsüberblick. In J. Nesselhauf & M. Schleich (Eds.), Banal, trivial, phänomenal. Spielarten des Trash (pp. 11-42).
2017 Wenn die Wirklichkeit aus den Fugen gerät. Über das konfliktbeladene Aufeinandertreffen inkompatibler Glaubens- und Erkenntnissysteme in drei britischen fantastischen Filmen des Jahres 1973 (›The Legend of Hell House‹, ›Don’t Look Now‹, ›The Wicker Man‹). In S. Klimek, T. Lambrecht, & T. Kindt (Eds.), Funktionen der Fantastik. Neue Formen des Weltbezugs von Literatur und Film nach 1945 (pp. 77-101).
2014 Kino der Unordnung, Filmische Narration und Weltkonstitution bei Nicolas Roeg.
Software developer 7P Solutions & Consulting AG. Master Programme at the Cologne Game Lab – TH Köln 2015/2016 – today in Game Development and Research. Studies at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf 2002-2008: Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Science.
Author and director, concept and seminar management of numerous dramaturgical seminars for screenwriting, editing and sound script consultant for Zoetrope Studios, Miramax, Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures, Constantin, X-Filme, MTM.
Screenwriter of (selection):
2001 Nirgendwo in Afrika
2001 Victor Vogel
Director of (selection):
1997 The lady or the Tiger
Editor at ZDF.
Producer, line producer, CEO at Vega Film.
Producer of (selection):
2007 Die drei ??? – Das Geheimnis der Geisterinsel
2005 Oliver Twist
1993 In weiter Ferne, so nah!
Screenwriter, producer and director. Founded »Pi Filmproduktion« in 2007 and »Augustin Film KG« in 2011.
2015 Von Zeit zu Zeit
2015 Verfluchte Liebe Deutscher Film
2010 Zeche is nich – Sieben Blicke auf das Ruhrgebiet – Sinan G.
2009 Im Angesicht des Verbrechens
2008/09 Junge Hunde
Screenwriter, producer and managing director of Big Light Productions Ltd.
2014 Transporter – Die Serie
2006 Night Stalker
1998 Akte X: Der Film
1995 – 2002 Akte X
Producer. Head of the Fiction Department at RTL and member of the funding committee of »Film- und Medienstiftung NRW« and »FFF«.
Belinde Ruth Stieve
Actress, empiricist, expert on diversity change in narrative and society, developed the tool NEROPA Neutral Roles Parity in 2016.
Graduated from the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg, direction and screenwriting. Previously history, German language and literature studies and theatre studies in Berlin. Worked for various daily newspapers and magazines and as editor and dramaturg for Scripthouse Berlin. Since 2000 author and chief author for various private and public television series and television films (including Schmidt – Chaos auf Rezept (RTL) and Türkisch für Anfänger (ARD)).
Editor at Super RTL
Producer at HBO, responsible for the series The Pact (Mammon)
Producer of (selection):
2016 Valea Muta (4 episodes)
2015 Pakt (various episodes)
2015 Mammon (various episodes)
2014 The Mill (various episodes)
2009 SOKO Leipzig
2005 Family Affairs
Chief reporter of the media magazine DWDL.de. Jury chairman of the German Radio Award.
In a curriculum equally balanced in theory and practice a selected group of max. 16 international students explore traditional, current, and future ways of serial storytelling. Prospective students may apply for one of two tracks: either to study and write in English for international audiences (international track), or in German with a focus on German-language series markets (German track). Over the course of two years, the groups will join together for English language case studies and most seminars, but for more elaborate writing projects they will split into two »tracks«, with approx. 8 students each.
This unique combination of local and international qualities, combined with a strong focus on collaboration skills and innovative strategies will provide the students with the following exceptional learning experiences:
Acquire a wide-ranging skill set that combines the tools of professional screenwriters and an in-depth knowledge of creative teamwork.
Master models and methods of serial storytelling formats.
Learn to create fascinating characters, compelling ensembles, surprising plots, and sustainable concepts.
Gain 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.
Develop 4-5 serial storytelling projects in different formats over 4 semesters.
Meet and work with highly acclaimed international writers, producers, showrunners and executives such as Lisa Albert (Mad Men), Jane Espenson (Once Upon a Time, Game of Thrones), Hagai Levi (The Affair), Jeppe Gjervig Gram & Ingolf Gabold (Borgen), Matthew Graham & John Yorke (Life on Mars), Frank Spotnitz (X-Files, The Man in the High Castle), Peter Nadermann (The Team), Anna & Jörg Winger (Deutschland ’83), Annette Hess (Ku’damm 56), Janna Nandzik (About: Kate), Orkun Ertener (KDD Kriminaldauerdienst), Phil Parker (The Art and Science of Screenwriting), Laurie Hutzler (Nine Powers).
Enjoy privileged networking opportunities, e.g. at international series festivals such as Série Series in Fontainebleau.
Gain professional work experience as a participant of co-operations with German and international broadcasters and festivals (e.g. RTL, ZDF, Sky Germany, Film Festival Cologne).
Explore philosophical and ethical topics and expand your knowledge of serial storytelling in academic as well as artistic research projects.
Experience the opportunity of Cologne’s diverse production community as a center for TV production, software development, web companies, and hi-tech video gaming.
Obtain a skill-set that is directly applicable to a wide range of career paths involving story development.
The MA Serial Storytelling starts every two years in the winter semester.
2 years (4 semesters)
With 120 ECTS the MA Serial Storytelling is a full-time M.A.. Attendance runs for 11 weeks each semester for the first three semesters. During the fourth semester students will focus on their master’s thesis, which is why attendance in Cologne will be required only for the colloquium, optional bridging Workshops, and the final presentations (approx. 6 weeks).
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Number of students:
max. 8 students in the »German track«, max. 8 students in the »international track«
Information for International Applicants
- To ensure that the education certificates and diplomas acquired abroad comply with the admission requirements of the ifs (higher education qualifications), applicants can consult the following database: http://anabin.kmk.org.
- Enrollment at the TH Köln, the cooperation partner of the ifs, is mandatory for Non-EU students due to legal regulations concerning German residence permits. (Tuition fee for summer semester 2019: € 270.50)
- To obtain a residence permit, international students have to demonstrate sufficient funds to secure their livelihood. The amount required is equivalent to the BaföG (Federal Education and Trainings Assistance Act for university students) maximum rate of € 853 per month.
The program is aimed at talented and passionate filmmakers and media professionals who wish to work in a team of authors in order to achieve the best creative result.
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 and have worked in the field of media production for at least one year. The ifs welcomes talented applicants who have received degrees in unrelated fields. In addition, applicants need to provide proof of adequate English language skills as well as basic training in screenwriting and dramaturgy. The latter may be acquired by enrolling in an ifs summer school before the start of the program. See application material for details. German language skills are only required for students in the German track.
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.
Language Skills Applicants need to provide proof of sufficient English language skills (B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, e.g. by a TOEFL score of 87 points (internet-based) or equivalent test results. Native English speakers are exempted from this requirement. 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.
EU Citizen: Tuition fee per semester: 2500 euros (including study funds)
Contribution to »The Friends of the ifs Society« per semester: 250 euros
Non-EU Citizen: Tuition fee per semester: 3500 euros (including study funds)
Contribution to »The Friends of the ifs Society« per semester: 250 euros
One-time registration fee: 400 euros
Semester fee at TH Köln: approx. 275 euros (includes the ticket for local public transportation)
Financing & Scholarships
For financial assistance to cover tuition fees and/or living expenses, students may apply from their first semester for an interest-free loan from the Student Education Fund, which is run by »The Friends of the ifs internationale filmschule köln Society«. Approval of the interest-free loans is based on the applicant’s financial situation and the funds available. Repayment of the loans begins six months after graduation/termination of studies.
Students are generally eligible for BAföG, the Federal Student Financial Aid Program, if this is their first study program. The responsible Federal Student Financial Aid Office decides upon applications for student state loans or grants. A prerequisite for the application is the enrollment at the University of Applied Sciences Cologne, the ifs cooperation partner (tuition fee for the Summer Semester 2020: 276,70 euros). This grant includes all the services of the University of Applied Sciences Cologne as well as the semester ticket. Both German and foreign students are eligible applicants. International students must observe: BAföG § 8
Another way to finance your studies is to apply for a repayable loan. The collection of links in the following is not exhaustive and is only sorted in alphabetical order.
Education and/or Student Loans:
- Career Concept AG
- DAKA – Darlehenskasse der Studentenwerke im Land NRW
- Deutsche Bildung
- Deutsche Kreditbank
- Erasmus+ Master degree loans
- KfW Bank
»The Friends of the ifs internationale filmschule köln Society« offers second-semester students two scholarships that run until the end of the Master’s program, for outstanding academic achievement (one scholarship for each »Track«). These scholarships cover the tuition fees as well as an additional monthly allowance up to 500 euros to cover living expenses (up to a total of 9,000 euros), paid throughout the course of studies until completion of the Master’s program.
Beyond the ifs, several German and international foundations offer scholarships to support tuition fees and costs of living during studies. The requirements for the award of a scholarship vary between individual foundations. In any case, the enrollment at the TH Köln, cooperation partner of the ifs, is mandatory.
Overview of scholarship funds for M.A. study programs
- Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
- Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft
- Evangelisches Studienwerk e.V. Villigst
Overview of German Scholarship Funds:
- Kölner Studentenwerk
- Master and More
- Stipendienlotse des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung
- Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (SPD related)
- Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung (FDP related)
- Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung e.V. (CSU related)
- Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen related)
- Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. (CDU related)
- Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (Linkspartei related)
- Avicenna-Studienwerk e.V. (for Muslim students)
- Cusanuswerk (for Catholic students)
- Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk (for Jewish students)
- Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst e. V. (DAAD)
- Hans-Böckler-Stiftung (DGB)
- Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft – Studienförderwerk Klaus Murmann
- Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes e.V.
Working besides studies
MA Serial Storytelling
The program is a full-time master’s degree with 120 credit points over two years. In the first three semesters, we expect attendance at the school for a period of 14 weeks each semester, with courses running five days a week from 10:00 am till 4:00 or 5:00 pm. Inbetween lecture periods there will be extensive writing assignments. During the fourth semester while the master’s thesis is being written there is no obligatory attendance, but at the end of the fourth semester students will be expected to attend a colloquium and presentations.
Information for international students
Citizens of member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) – that is Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – as well as Switzerland have equal legal status on the labor market as German citizens. This means that they have the same access to the labor market as German students and are permitted to work as much as they would like to without having to obtain prior approval of German authorities. Students are advised, however, not to work longer than 20 hours a week, as you would have to pay social insurance contributions should you exceed this number of hours.
International students from countries which are NOT member states of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland are normally permitted to work 120 full or 240 half days per year if they are in possession of a valid residence permit for Germany. The immigration office will record these provisions in your residence permit. Should you wish to work more days per year, you will need to obtain approval from your immigration office and the German Federal Employment Agency.
Financial Assistance for further educational programs
Bildungsprämie (The Grant Voucher of the Continuing Education Grant)
»The Grant Voucher of the Continuing Education Grant« is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as well as the European Social Fund of the European Union. Please note that the voucher must be presented when the invoice is issued. Details can be found at: www.bildungspraemie.info
Bildungsscheck (Training Voucher NRW)
Under certain conditions, the »Training Voucher NRW« can be used as a funding opportunity. Details can be found at: www.bildungsscheck.nrw.de
Foreign Education Certificates
International applicants can obtain information about whether their degree, certificate or diploma fulfills the ifs admissions requirements at the following site:
http://anabin.kmk.org (German only).
If your degree does not fulfill the ifs admissions requirements but you have a recognizable talent and previous adequate experience, you may be invited to a separate admissions procedure to demonstrate your individual artistic aptitude.
MA Serial Storytelling
Applicants need to provide proof of their English language skills at B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, e.g. by a TOEFL score of 87 points (internet-based) or equivalent test results. Native English speakers are exempted from this. In addition, all applicants have to demonstrate the appropriate level of English during the selection process (interviews and writing assignments).
Applicants only need to speak German, if they apply for the »German track«.
What is the regular tuition fee per semester?
Tuition fee for this program is 1750 euros for EU citizens and 2750 euros for Non-EU citizens per semester. (Additionally there is a mandatory contribution of 250 euros for the student funding »Friends of the ifs Society« to finance the loan and scholarship system.) Fees are due before the start of each semester, in certain cases tuition may be paid by installments. In addition, a one-time registration fee of 400 euros will be charged upon enrolment.
Are there any funding opportunities for the program?
To finance tuition fees and to support living expenses, students may apply to the »Friends of the ifs Society« for interest-free loans and scholarships.
Application for student loans is possible after acceptance to the program. The granting of loans is dependent on the economic situation of the applicant and the resources available. Repayment of the loans begins six months after graduation. In addition, two scholarships for excellent academic performance will be awarded to eligible students from the second semester until the end of the Master’s program. These scholarships will cover tuition costs plus a monthly allowance of 500 euros.
More information about financing you will find here.
Do I need to take an English proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS etc.)?
Applicants need to provide proof of their English language skills at B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, e.g. by a TOEFL score of 87 points (internet-based) or equivalent test results. Native English speakers are exempted from this, as well as applicants holding an English high-school diploma or an English academic degree In addition, all applicants have to demonstrate the appropriate level of English during the selection process (interviews and writing assignments).
Do I need to speak German?
Only if you apply for the German track.
Can I submit texts in my native language?
Section 1 – 3 of the application tasks must be answered in English. Applicants for the international track are requested to submit also sections 4 – 6 in English. Candidates for the German track are requested to submit sections 4 – 6 in German language.
Can non-EU students apply?
Non-EU students are welcome to apply to the program.
Can I submit completed scripts or films in addition to the application documents?
Yes, you may also submit your finished scripts. But depending on the volume of material received, we cannot guarantee that the jurors will be able to read the additional scripts.
Can I apply if I hold a German »Magister« degree?
Yes, you can apply with a Bachelor’s degree or a graduate-level diploma, which includes the Magister.
Is it possible to apply without a bachelor’s degree?
To earn the Master’s degree, you are required to hold a bachelor’s or equivalent degree. Applicants with outstanding artistic qualification may be allowed to enroll in this program without previous academic experience. In this case, no Master’s title is awarded on completion of the program.
How much theoretical and practical screenwriting experience do I need?
If you don’t have a background in screenwriting you are required to read up on storytelling, screenwriting and screenplay format before the beginning of the program.
What you should bring to the program is a long-standing interest in and talent for writing for audiovisual formats. If you have this sort of experience and like working in a team (i.e. are open to give and receive input), you’ll bring along the tools needed for the program.
Do I have to come to Germany for an interview? When do the interviews take place?
Interviews as well as entrance exams will take place in Cologne (approx. 3 days). In the case this is not possible, the interviews may be conducted via Skype.
Do I have to submit a translation of my certificates?
Yes. You have to hand in a translated (German or English) and certified copy of your undergraduate degree certificate.
Do I need to have working experience?
Yes, applicants must have gained relevant practical experience in the field of media or writing for at least one year.
Will I be able to work during the lecture period?
This decision is up to you, but please be aware that the MA Serial Storytelling is a full-time 120 credits Master’s program.
In the first three semesters, we expect attendance for a period of about 14 weeks each semester, with courses running four days a week from 10:00 am till 4:00 pm (even longer during Project phase, etc.). Inbetween lecture periods there will be extensive writing assignments. During the fourth semester, while the master’s thesis is being written, there is no obligatory attendance, but at the end of the fourth semester students will be expected to attend a colloquium and presentations.
Do I have to enroll at the TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences as well?
The TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences is franchiser of the ifs. MA students are required to enroll at the TH Köln. This provides students with low-cost tickets for public transportation and the opportunity to use the services of the international office, student sporting facilities etc. The semester fee at the TH Köln amounts to approx. 270 euros.
How do I find accommodation in Cologne?
Students who are accepted will be provided with a list of useful links.
What’s the cost of living in Cologne?
For an estimation of the average costs of living in Cologne please see here.
If you have specific questions regarding the »MA Serial Storytelling«, please contact:
Carolin Grosse Hellmann
Head of Serial Storytelling / Further Education Screenwriting
T +49 (0) 221.920188-261
Assistance Serial Storytelling / Further Education Screenwriting
T +49 (0) 221.920188-267
Office of Student Affairs
T +49 (0) 221.920188-222
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