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The M.F.A. in Film and Television specializing in Screenwriting

The UCLA TFT M.F.A. degree program in Film and Television specializing in Screenwriting is a two-year graduate program that encourages students to concentrate upon the challenge of writing a well-structured story inhabited by vivid, compelling characters. The elements of character, dialogue, scene, setting, texture, style and tone are explored through an intensive workshop process.

Distinguished screenwriting alumni include:

Ana Lily Amirpour
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Dustin Lance Black
Milk, J. Edgar

Shane Black
Iron Man 3

David Koepp
Spider-Man, Indiana Jones 4 & 5, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Josefina Lopez
Real Women Have Curves

Michael Miner

Alexander Payne
Nebraska, The Descendants

Caroline Williams
Miss Guided

A breakdown of the M.F.A. degree program specializing in Screenwriting is below.

First Year
Students learn all the key elements of creating scripts for feature film and television, including story structure, plot, scene development, characterization and dialogue across multiple genres, formats and platforms. During the first and second ten-week quarters, students conceive and write outlines and first acts of their film and TV scripts, implementing the fundamentals gleaned from both lecture and writing workshops (each containing eight students, maximum), in preparation for their advanced workshop (known as FTV 434) in which they write a feature-length screenplay. The 434 is the foundation of our program, and students take their original ideas from concept and character development through structural outline to a finished draft of the screenplay.

Second Year
Second year students have the opportunity to write at least three additional screenplays in subsequent 434 workshops, as well as hone their craft for creating and writing pilot scripts for both half-hour comedy and one-hour drama series. In the TV curriculum, students learn not only how to write speculative episodes of existing TV series (in preparation for working on a TV writing staff), but also how to develop and sustain a viable TV series pilot over multiple episodes and seasons by crafting a "series bible" for their original TV series.

Thesis Requirement
Students are required to complete ONE of the following as their body of work:

-Four feature screenplays
-Three feature screenplays and two TV drama pilots
-Three feature screenplays, one TV drama pilot and one TV comedy pilot

Additional information about the M.F.A. degree program in Screenwriting can be found on the M.F.A. Screenwriting webpage.