MFA in Screenwriting

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 craft of screenwriting for both film & TV; to learn the fundamentals of narrative drama/comedy in order to provide constructive criticism; 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. Please see the COM website for more information. 

Screenwriting Curriculum

A total of 60 credits is required to receive the MFA degree.

First Semester (CRC)

  • COM FT 522 Writing Situation Comedy (4 cr)
  • COM FT 552 Writing the Short Film (4 cr)
  • COM FT 702 Script into Film (4 cr)
  • COM FT 711 Screenwriting I (4 cr)

Second Semester (CRC)

  • COM FT 512 Writing Episodic Drama (4 cr)
  • COM FT 704 Genre for Screenwriting (4 cr)
  • COM FT 713 Screenwriting II (4 cr)
  • Elective (500 level or above) (4 cr)

Third Semester (CRC)

  • COM FT 514 Writing the Television Pilot or COM FT 516 Writing the Sitcom Pilot (4 cr)
  • COM FT 724 Screenwriting III (4 cr)
  • COM FT 729 Script Analysis (4 cr)
  • COM FT 730 Screen Adaptation I (4 cr)

Fourth Semester (Los Angeles)

  • COM FT 585E HW Careers in Hollywood (4 cr)
  • COM FT 587E HW The Writer in Hollywood 2 (4 cr)
  • COM FT 953/954E HW Internship (4 cr)

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.