MFA Degree Requirements

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in the Academic Services section of this Web site.



Core courses (6)


RTVF 561 - Foundations of Writing for the Screen and Stage

Parameters of media writing (character, dialogue, tone/voice, scope, context, intent, etc). Structure. Story analysis. What distinguishes one medium from another. Product: 30-page screenplay.


RTVF 562 - Writing the Short Play


RTVF 563 - Writing the TV Episode


RTVF 564 - Feature Thesis 1

With an emphasis on understanding the structure of a feature play, film, innovative theatre piece, or interactive narrative (student’s choice) Students produce: Outline, first act.


RTVF 565 - Feature Thesis 2

With an emphasis on writing the first draft.


RTVF 566 - Feature Thesis 3

With an emphasis on adaptation, revision and preparing the writer for the business of writing.


Topics courses (4)


RTVF 360 Topics in Media Writing or RTVF 464 Advanced Writing

Sample courses include:   

     Writing Action     

     Writing Character   

     Presentational Aesthetics: Adapting Short Stories For Performance    

     Writing the Non-Traditional/Innovative Form     

     Writing the Interactive Narrative    

     Writing the Production-Ready Short Film     

     Writing the TV Pilot     

     Writing Improv (Second City, etc.) 

     Writing Romantic Comedy    

     Writing the Horror Screenplay  

     Writing the Thriller

     Writing the Psychotic/Unraveling Film

     Directing for Writing

     Writing for Directing 

     Acting for Writing, Writing for Acting

     The Art, Business, and Ethics of Script Doctoring


Production course (1)


RTVF or Theatre (300-level or higher) with the approval of the Director of the MFA.


Electives (2)


(300 level or higher) Production, writing or discipline-related subject with the approval of the Director of the MFA.


Theory/history/culture courses (300-level or higher) (4)


From Screen Cultures/RTVF, Performance Studies, Art Theory and Practice, Theatre or other departments with approval of MFA program director


One internship (349 or equivalent at the discretion of the Director of the MFA).


Total required units:


Other MFA Degree Requirements

MFA students will be allowed to take a maximum of 20 credits.

Grade average: Students must maintain a B average. If a student’s average is not a B or higher by the end of the first year, he or she may be asked to leave the program.

Final portfolio Review/Defense: In consultation with the Director of the Program, each student will choose a committee of two faculty members to review his/her final portfolio (at least 3 substantial scripts created within the context of courses) and to judge his/her final defense of that portfolio.