33 Screenwriting Programs (With Key Features)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Screenwriting can be a fulfilling career for creative professionals who enjoy writing stories and analyzing films. It's important for screenwriters to pursue educational opportunities so they can hone their craft and learn from industry professionals. If you're interested in screenwriting, learning about different programs can help you determine which option can advance your career.

In this article, we explore the benefits of joining a screenwriting program and provide a list of 33 screenwriting programs, workshops and fellowships.

Why join a screenwriting program?

A screenwriting program can be highly beneficial to anyone who wants to pursue professional screenwriting. These programs give you an opportunity to enhance your skills through relevant coursework, such as creating a screenplay portfolio or developing short films based on your work.

Seasoned screenwriters may teach these courses, giving you valuable mentorship opportunities. Screenwriting programs can also help you form connections in the entertainment industry, as many of them provide opportunities to meet directors, producers and agents.

Another important benefit of a screenwriting program is the chance to build community. Other students in these programs may have the same creative interests, passions and dreams. The friendships you make in one of these programs could be a source of support as you pursue a screenwriting career.

Related: How To Be a Good Scriptwriter: 14 Steps To Improve Your Skills

33 screenwriting programs

Here are some details on 33 screenwriting programs, workshops and fellowships:

1. University of Southern California (USC) Writing for Screen and TV Video program

USC offers undergraduate and graduate programs for screenwriters. Students learn about topics like writing short and feature-length scripts, video production, film economics and film theory. Although the program emphasizes coursework in screenwriting for movies and television, students also have opportunities to write scripts for video games and web series.

2. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Professional Program in Screenwriting

This upper-level program is for students who have some professional experience in screenwriting and want to pursue a specialized certification. Many students have full-time jobs and require flexibility in their study schedules, so they typically take in-depth courses at night a few days per week. During the program, students focus on two feature screenplays and attend seminars from industry professionals.

3. The Black List/Women in Film Feature residency

This one-year residency is for screenwriters of underrepresented genders. During the residency, students workshop a feature screenplay through one-on-sessions with mentors and in peer workshops. The residency also provides additional support in the year after the residency, such as additional events and arranged meetings with production companies.

4. NBC Writers on the Verge program

This program is for writers who want to pursue a staff position on a television series. It involves weekly evening classes that focus on creating material for their portfolio and understanding the television production process in the entertainment industry. For example, they learn how to pitch new television shows and what steps to accomplish to film pilots.

5. Inevitable Foundation Screenwriting fellowship

The Inevitable Foundation Screenwriting Fellowship is for disabled screenwriters working in the entertainment industry. Students receive funds for three to four months of living expenses. They also receive mentorship from industry professionals and attend workshops.

6. Native American TV Writers Lab program

This is a five-week program designed for Native American screenwriters. Over the course of the program, students complete an original pilot script. Afterward, students workshop the pilot with their peers and instructor before showing it to creative executives.

7. Chapman College MFA in Screenwriting program

Chapman College's screenwriting MFA is a two-year program focused on the fundamentals of screenwriting. As a result, the school accepts new screenwriters without prior professional experience. Students also learn about cinematography, production, design, editing and directing.

8. ViacomCBS Writers Mentoring program

This eight-month program focuses on improving craft and building industry relationships. It focuses on pursuing career development, learning about the pilot decision-making process and receiving mentorship from a television executive. Participants attend weekly meetings with show runners and other industry professionals, such as agents, managers and executives.

Related: How To Become a Screenwriter

9. Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) New Writers fellowship

Aimed toward emerging screenwriters, this program focuses on teaching writers pragmatic business knowledge about the entertainment industry. Students work with high-level industry mentors to turn their script into a final draft ready for pitching. CAPE typically requires students to discuss their scripts twice a week for a certain length of time.

10. New York University Certificate in Dramatic Writing: Screenwriting program

This program is for new writers and focuses on basic screenwriting concepts, like character motivation and narrative conflict. Students in the on-campus program develop five in-depth story ideas to turn into one full-length screenplay. In the online version of the program, students complete the first act of a screenplay.

11. Emerson College Screenwriting Certificate program

To earn the screenwriting certificate, students complete two workshops and an elective from the screenwriting series. Students learn fundamental screenwriting skills and industry knowledge, like how to pitch a screenplay to an executive . You can take the courses for this certificate online.

12. National Hispanic Media Coalition Scriptwriters program

This five-week virtual workshop instructs 10 Latino writers as they write a television pilot in a simulated writers' room. Students work with a professional writing mentor and industry writers. At the end of the program, they pitch their pilot to industry leaders.

13. Loyola Marymount College MFA in Writing for the Screen program

In Loyola's MFA, students create a portfolio of feature-length screenplays and other work. The program also teaches students the business components of the film-making industry. Topics include how to present projects to potential employers and pitch compelling stories for film and television.

14. New York Film Academy MFA in Screenwriting program

Students in this program create a portfolio of screenplays across different mediums. They study multiple topics, including acting, editing and directing. It also has business courses to teach practical skills related to the entertainment industry.

15. Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting program

Stephens College's MFA focuses on essential writing skills for screenplays and making networking connections. Students work closely with mentors to complete a TV script, two movie screenplays and a thesis. They can also connect with show runners, agents and other executives.

16. New York Women in Film & Television: The Writers Lab program

This four-day script development workshop is for women over the age of 40. During the workshop, students receive script support from established writers, directors and producers. The workshop also includes panel discussions, guest speakers and one-on-one meetings.

17. Universal Writers program

The Universal Writers Program is a one-year paid program for screenwriters with diverse backgrounds. Students write two feature-length scripts and study curriculum designed for creative and professional development. They also get access to agents, managers and other industry professionals.

18. Boston University School of Communication MFA in Screenwriting program

In this program, students complete three to four feature-length screenplays. They also study the business side of the film and television industry. Students can compete in an annual screenplay contest, where winners receive cash prizes and a funded trip to Los Angeles, California.

19. American Film Institute Screenwriting fellowship

During the first year of this fellowship, students write short screenplays. They collaborate with students in the producing and directing fellowships to film one of their screenplays. Second-year students have more opportunities to collaborate with peers and can specialize in television writing.

20. University of Texas MFA in Screenwriting program

This program admits seven students per year who learn about story structure, dialogue, conflict, adaptations and rewriting. They complete three original feature screenplays and are required to complete an internship in Los Angeles, California or Austin, Texas. They can also participate in a school-wide film festival.

21. WarnerMedia Access Writers program

The WarnerMedia Access Writers Program is an eight-month program that starts with a one-week intensive of screenwriting masterclasses. Afterward, the program meets one to two times a week virtually while students develop a script. The program includes mentoring by creative executives.

22. Sesame Workshop Writers' Room program

This two-month virtual program instructs screenwriting students on creating children's content in eight three-hour sessions. The program especially encourages applications from writers with diverse identities and backgrounds. At the end of the program, two students receive further mentorship and career advancement opportunities.

Related: 9 Steps To a Career in Television Writing

23. Humanitas New Voices fellowship

This program focuses on helping new screenwriters to improve their craft and advance their careers. Students receive mentorship, participate in workshops and receive networking opportunities. The program also focuses on helping students find roles as staff writers, show runners, producers and directors.

24. Columbia University MFA in Screenwriting program

This combined screenwriting and directing program focuses on teaching students the fundamentals of both skills, like how to write for television or how to direct actors. During the program, students complete script and film projects. Screenwriting students can focus on their writing skills in-depth during their second year.

25. University of Miami MFA in Motion Pictures program

Students in this program choose a concentration and create individual screenwriting projects. Examples include narrative film, animation, documentary and experimental film. Students also showcase their work at the university's annual film festival.

26. Florida State University MFA in Writing for Stage & Screen program

Students in this program learn both screenwriting and playwriting. In their first year, they write and create a short film and a short play. The program also includes classes on business practices and book-to-script adaptation, plus a two-week intensive course with an established playwright.

27. Warner Bros. Writing Workshop

This workshop provides mentorship and instruction to eight new screenwriters, providing them with an opportunity to hold a staff position on a Warner Bros. television show. The workshop includes lectures on how to work in a writer's room, plus a simulated writer's room experience for students. Students also work with industry writers and executives.

28. Pepperdine University MFA in Writing for Screen and Television program

Students in this two-year program study film history and writing for sitcoms, dramas and documentaries. They also participate in writing workshops with Hollywood professionals. The program typically requires students to complete an industry internship and a thesis.

29. University of North Carolina BA and MFA in Screenwriting program

The undergraduate screenwriting program at UNC teaches students about the fundamentals of the entertainment industry and screenwriting. In the MFA, students meet with their mentors to develop a professional writing portfolio. Students in both programs also attend workshops, screenings and seminars with guest artists.

30. NBC Late Night Writers Workshop

This workshop prepares sketch and comedy writers for an opportunity to earn a staff writer position on a network television show. Students learn how to write sketches and observe a real late-night writers' room. The workshop especially encourages female writers and writers of diverse backgrounds to apply.

31. Nickelodeon Writing program

Students in this program either pursue a 12-month general track for children's television writing or a six-month track on writing for preschool-age audiences. They meet series' creators, work in writers' rooms, write scripts and pitch story ideas. The program is often full-time and paid.

Related: 11 Alternative Jobs for Screenwriters

32. California State University, Northridge MFA in Screenwriting program

This two-year screenwriting MFA allows career-minded students to learn new skills and pursue professional opportunities in film and television. Faculty include professional screenwriters and published authors. The program also features an internship with on-the-job training in the entertainment industry.

33. Ohio University MFA in Film program

Ohio University's MFA in Film is a three-year program that trains students in screenwriting alongside other key film skills, like directing, cinematography and producing. It may especially benefit students who want to work as independent film artists. Second and third-year students can also specialize in screenwriting.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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