MFA in Playwriting
The MFA in Playwriting is offered by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) in close collaboration with the College of Fine Arts (CFA) School of Theatre.
As partners in the MFA in Playwriting, the Playwriting program and the School of Theatre (SOT) want to ensure that our playwriting graduates are equipped for both the academic and professional worlds of the theatre. To that end, the MFA in Playwriting combines a strong commitment to literary scholarship with invaluable, hands-on collaborations with other theatre artists.
Our shared goal, while building on the strong foundation of our award-winning successes, integrates faculty expertise in our renowned Department of English (in GRS) with complementary SOT strengths (in CFA) in acting, directing, design, production, and theatre management. Intensive writing workshops incorporating professional actors and directors are coupled with classes immersing each student in dramatic literature, theatre history, and practice. During our professional season of new works, each student’s personal involvement in the theatrical productions is required. Teaching fellowships in the English department are offered along with competitive financial aid and potential teaching assistantships in the SOT.
Applicants should have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree in liberal or fine arts.
This three-year degree culminates in a production of each student’s work and an internship at a chosen theatre.
Students graduating with an MFA in Playwriting should possess:
- The ability to write original dramatic works for the stage.
- The ability to collaborate with and to assist directors, actors, and other theatre artists in the production of these works.
- Knowledge and an appreciation of the drama of the past and how these works relate to and can benefit the playwright’s personal journey in dramatic writing.
A total of 60 credits are required, normally completed over three years. All courses must be completed with a grade of B– or higher.
Eight workshops in playwriting (32 credits)
Two playwriting workshops are taken in each of the first four semesters of study. Seven of these eight workshops are part of a fixed program, taken by all students in a given entering cohort:
- CAS EN 510 Playwriting 1: Writing of Short Plays (Fall 1)
- CAS EN 517 Drama in Theory and Practice 1: Structure and the Script (Fall 1)
- CAS EN 519 Drama in Theory and Practice 2: Experiments with Character and Form (Spring 1)
- CAS EN 520 Drama in Theory and Practice 3: Adaptation and the Theatre (Spring 1)
- CAS EN 509 Playwriting 2: Writing the Social/Political Play (Fall 2)
- GRS EN 705 Seminar: Writing of Plays 1 (Fall 2)
- GRS EN 706 Seminar: Writing of Plays 2 (Spring 2)
- Elective Writing Workshop (Fall 2)
Sixteen (16) credits of dramatic or other literature
These credits must be at the 500 level or above, chosen in consultation with the advisor to form a coherent plan of study that informs the student’s scholarly interests and creative work. Courses may be selected from offerings in the Departments of English, Classical Studies, World Languages & Literatures, Romance Studies, and Film & Television, or the School of Theatre.
Four (4) credits of creative process coursework in play production
(most specifically in design and directing)
- CFA TH 653 (Fall) or TH 654 (Spring): Design Master Class for Graduate Students
- CFA TH 641 (Fall) or TH 642 (Spring): Directed Study (Introduction to Directing)
Two (2) elective credits
These may be earned through classroom work or through a mentored teaching assistantship.
Six (6) credits of directed study focused on the writing and production of the student’s thesis play
- GRS EN 995 Directed Study in Playwriting (Spring 2)
- GRS EN 996 Directed Study in Play Production (Fall or Spring 3)
All students pursuing an MFA in Playwriting are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through a language examination, successful completion of a non-credit, graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University, or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate study of the language at Boston University.
The GRS EN 996 Directed Study in Play Production (see above) represents the full production of the student’s thesis play. The thesis production takes place in the third year of study (fall or spring) and requires attendance of all rehearsals and performances.