Bachelor of Fine Arts

Associate Writing Professor Jack Epps, Jr.,
with undergraduate students

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing for Screen & Television is a unique, four-year program for students seeking intensive professional preparation for a career in screen and television writing. This rigorous program emphasizes small, workshop-style classes and attracts students from all over the world. Students attend a variety of guest speaker presentations, take high-level industry internships, are provided with mentors and are taught by world-class professors.

Each fall, a class of 26 undergraduate writing students is selected to begin the program. A total of 128 units is required for completion of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree; 50 of these units are taken in a prescribed sequential order. There are no spring admissions.

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Master of Fine Arts

The Master of Fine Arts, with a major in Writing for Screen & Television, is an intensive two-year degree program which concentrates on writing for narrative film and television. During the course of their studies, students benefit from a wide array of internship and mentorship opportunities available as a result of the university's close links to the Los Angeles film industry's top screenwriters, directors, production companies and studios.

Writing MFA students gather during graduation

Course work includes practical instruction in everything a working writer needs to learn about the filmmaker's art and craft. Writing is taught in small, workshop-style classes. The approach focuses on the visual tools of storytelling, developing stories from characters and then on an Aristotelian three act structure. Fractured narratives, ensemble stories, experiments with time and points of view, as well as other idiosyncratic styles of storytelling, are also addressed. The curriculum covers other professional concerns, including legal issues, agents and the Writer's Guild, as well as the history and analysis of cinema. Classes are taught by working writers with a wide variety of skills, experience and approaches.

Each fall, 32 students are selected to begin the Graduate Writing for Screen & Television Program; there are no spring admissions.

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Undergraduate Minor Requirements

To apply to the minor in Screenwriting, a student must be in good academic standing, have a declared major and be currently enrolled in or have completed CTWR 412 Introduction to Screenwriting. Applications and information can be obtained at the Writing Division office, SCA 335, 213.740.3303.

Required Courses

The Minor in Screenwriting is a specialized course of study for students who desire a solid foundation in the craft of screenwriting. This 16-unit academic journey consists of two components:

  • Fundamentals (eight units)
  • Electives (eight units)

Total Units in the Minor (16)

Required Fundamentals and Feature Development Courses (8 Units)

Course Number Course Name Units
CTWR 412 Introduction to Screenwriting 2
CTWR 321 Introduction to Television Writing 2
CTWR 415A Advanced Writing (pre-req: CTWR 412) 2
CTWR 416 Motion Picture Script Analysis 2

Additional Electives (eight units)

Please note that not every course is offered every semester.

Course Number Course Name Units
CTWR 404 Foundations of Comedy 2
CTWR 410L Character Development and Storytelling for Games 4
CTWR 411 Television Script Analysis 2
CTWR 415B Advanced Writing (pre-req: CTWR 415A) 4
CTWR 417 Script Coverage and Story Analysis 2
CTWR 421 Writing the Hour-Long Dramatic Series (pre-req: CTWR 321) 2, max 4
CTWR 422 Creating the Dramatic Television Series 2, max 4
CTWR 430 The Writer in American Cinema and Television 2
CTWR 431 Screenwriters and Their Work 2, max 6
CTWR 433 Adaptations: Transferring Existing Work to the Screen 2
CTWR 434 Writing the Half-Hour Comedy Series (pre-req: CTWR 321) 2, max 6
CTWR 435 Writing for Film and Television Genres (pre-req: CTWR 415B) 2-4, max 8
CTWR 437 Writing the Original Situation Comedy Pilot (pre-req: CTWR 434) 4, max 8
CTWR 439 Writing the Original Dramatic Series Pilot (pre-req: CTWR 421) 4, max 8
CTWR 441 Writing Workshop in Creativity and Imagination 2
CTWR 453 Advanced Feature Rewriting (pre-req: CTWR 415B) 4
CTWR 459AB Entertainment Industry Seminar 2-2
CTWR 468 Screenwriting in Collaboration 4, max 8
CTWR 499 Special Topics 2-4, max 8