MFA in Screenwriting

Changes to this program will take effect in the 2023–2024 academic year.

Students completing the two-year graduate program will earn an MFA in Screenwriting and be prepared to place, sell, and/or produce their work in the film and television industry. The program is small yet vigorous and nurturing. Our motto: writers write.

Students in the program are required to write, at minimum:

  • Two feature-length screenplays
  • Two short scripts
  • One spec of an existing sitcom
  • One spec of an existing hour-long television show
  • One pilot of an original television series

Beyond learning the craft of screenwriting, students interested in gaining teaching experience will have the opportunity to apply for graduate assistant positions in which they will lead discussion groups with undergraduate, beginning screenwriters.

MFA candidates have a threefold requirement: to understand and practice the art of screenwriting; to learn the fundamentals of dramatic production; to understand different models of filmmaking and film history; and to comprehend the role of the storyteller in the film and television industry.

The fourth semester in Los Angeles is aimed at providing students with invaluable experience in the film and television industry. Internships include working alongside development executives, talent agents, and/or staff writers on an established television show.

Screenwriting Curriculum

A total of 60 credits is required to receive the MFA degree (plus 4 optional credits).

First Semester (CRC)

  • COM FT 702 Script into Film (4 cr)
  • COM FT 711 Screenwriting I (4 cr)
  • COM FT 719 Writing the Half-Hour Spec Script (4 cr)
  • COM FT 720 Writing the Social Purpose Short (4 cr)

Second Semester (CRC)

  • COM FT 704 Genres for Screenwriting (4 cr)
  • COM FT 713 Screenwriting II (4 cr)
  • COM FT 718 Writing the Television Drama Spec Script (4 cr)
  • Elective (500 level or above) (4 cr)

Third Semester (CRC)

  • COM FT 724 Screenwriting III (4 cr)
  • COM FT 729 Script Analysis (4 cr)
  • COM FT 730 Screen Adaptation I (4 cr)
  • Elective (500 level or above)

Fourth Semester (Los Angeles)

  • COM FT 585E HW Careers in Hollywood (4 cr)
  • COM FT 587E HW The Rewrite (4 cr)
  • COM FT 953/954E HW Internship (20 hours per week) (4 cr)
  • Optional elective (500 level or above)

In addition to the Bulletin, master’s students should refer to the College of Communication Graduate Handbook for a comprehensive guide to policies, academic regulations, and resources.