Screenwriting

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The Screenwriting program, a two-year master of fine arts degree in film and television, seeks to identify and nurture the most exciting, innovative, diverse and distinct screenwriting voices in a supportive, safe environment that enables students to explore and experiment with form and subject matter. We challenge our students to succeed through risking failure, to engage with other art forms in order to better understand the art of screenwriting, to cultivate a curiosity in global art, to develop critical thinking skills to aid in the analysis of their scripts, and to provide an ethical foundation in building a career path.

Students build their thesis portfolio by concentrating either on feature film or television writing, though students are encouraged to, and often do take, workshops in both concentrations. Our faculty work across the film, television and digital media landscapes and offer guidance and wisdom informed by their many years as working professionals.

Established in 1965, the UCLA TFT Screenwriting program has provided a strong foundation for hundreds of alumni, including Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Dustin Lance Black (Milk), Steven Canals (Pose), Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather), Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island, Altered Carbon) David Koepp (Spider Man), Josefina Lopez (Real Women Have Curves), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), David S. Ward (The Sting), Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and Caroline Williams (Miss/Guided).

MFA: Film and Television, Area: Screenwriting

Summary

The Screenwriting program has the following time-to-degree requirement: A minimum of six quarters; maximum of seven quarters. The minimum total units required to graduate is 72 units (18 courses). Maintenance of a B average GPA.

Courses

430 INTRODUCTION TO FILM & TELEVISION WRITING is required for aLL M.F.A. screenwriting students and must be taken in the Fall Quarter of the student’s first year. Students must take a minimum of two graduate-level Cinema & Media Studies courses.

Please see list below for approved course numbers and titles.

Please note that not all courses are offered every quarter. Students should consult the Registrar's schedule for available courses and class times. For courses in the 298 series, students should consult the graduate advisor first to check whether a course fulfills the CMS requirement.

  • 203 FILM AND OTHER ARTS
  • 204 VISUAL ANALYSIS
  • 206A EUROPEAN FILM HISTORY
  • 206B SELECTED TOPICS IN AMERICAN FILM HISTORY
  • 206C AMERICAN FILM HISTORY**
  • 207 EXPERIMENTAL FILM
  • 209A DOCUMENTARY FILM
  • 208B CLASSICAL FILM THEORY **
  • 208C CONTEMPORARY FILM THEORY
  • 209B FICTIONAL FILM
  • 209D ANIMATED FILM
  • 217 SELECTED TOPICS IN TELEVISION HISTORY **
  • 217A AMERICAN TELEVISION HISTORY**
  • 218 CULTURE, MEDIA AND SOCIETY
  • 219 FILM AND SOCIETY
  • 220 TELEVISION AND SOCIETY
  • 221 FILM AUTHORS
  • 222 FILM GENRES
  • 223 VISUAL PERCEPTION
  • 224 COMPUTER APPLICATIONS FOR FILM STUDY
  • 225 VIDEOGAME THEORY
  • 246 ELECTRONIC CULTURE
  • 270 FILM CRITICISM
  • 271 TELEVISION CRITICISM
  • 276 NON WESTERN FILM
  • 277 NARRATIVE STUDIES
  • 298AB SPECIAL STUDIES (select classes must see graduate counselor)

**These courses are sometimes taught as a core course for M.A. students and may not be available that particular quarter for M.F.A. students.

**Courses are sometimes taught as a core course for M.A. students and may not be available that particular quarter to M.F.A. students.

Students must take a minimum of one graduate-level FTVDM course outside of screenwriting. These may include classes offered by the Producers Program, Production Program or Animation Program.

Students fulfilling their thesis requirements in the feature film track must take:

  • One 434 Advanced Screenwriting Workshop
  • One 437 Adaptation for Screen
  • One 434B Advanced Screenwriting Workshop — Rewrite
  • EITHER an additional 434 or an additional 437

Students fulfilling their thesis requirements in the TV track must take:

  • One 434 Advanced Screenwriting Workshop
  • Two 284B One-Hour Drama Pilot Workshops

AND

  • One 283B ½-Hour Comedy Pilot Workshop

OR

  • Two 283B ½-Hour Comedy Pilot Workshops

AND

  • One 284B One-Hour Drama Pilot Workshop

The program is designed so that students may fulfill their thesis requirements within their tracks in four quarters, leaving the student space within which to pursue screenwriting workshops outside of their tracks if they wish to do so.

As the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media is undergoing a comprehensive curriculum review, we will not be accepting applications for Fall 2021. The department plans to resume Graduate Screenwriting admissions for students entering in Fall 2022.

We do not accept films, DVDs or CDs.

Applicants must submit all required application materials to be considered for admission.

By the time of entrance, M.F.A. applicants must:

  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA.
  • Satisfy the University of California’s Graduate Admission Requirements.
  • Complete equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree.

Click Here for an Application Worksheet and More Detailed Instructions on How to Apply

Please complete all of the following steps:

Step 1: Online

  • Complete the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
    • Indicate MFA, Film and Television, Screenwriting as the program.
  • Upload the Statement of Purpose.
    • Submit a 1-2 page document.
  • Upload a CREATIVE PORTFOLIO
    • Submit ONE of the following options in Script:
      • A FEATURE-LENGTH SCREENPLAY (90-130 page max).
      • First 60 pages of a FEATURE-LENGTH SCREENPLAY in progress.
      • One DRAMA PILOT and corresponding series bible (10-90 page max).
      • Two half-hour COMEDY/DRAMEDY scripts (each 40 page max).
    • Submit OPTIONAL CREATIVE WORK (10 page max).
      • Submit additional samples of prose (short fiction, novel in progress, etc).
      • DO NOT submit adaptations, spec episode scripts or co-written materials, these will NOT be reviewed.
  • Upload Unofficial copies of all Transcripts.
  • Submit Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Enter the Names and Emails of all recommenders into the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.

Step 2: Mail

  • Mail an Official copy of all Transcripts from each Undergraduate and Graduate institutions attended.
    • Note: Community College transcripts are not necessary.
  • Request that all Test Scores be sent directly to UCLA.
    • The GRE UCLA Code is 4837 and the Department Code is 2409.
    • Note: The GRE is not Required for MFA Applicants.

Mailing Address

Please send all applicable materials to:

Graduate Film Admissions: Screenwriting
UCLA Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media
103 East Melnitz Hall, Box 951622
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1622

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

For more information on requirements and applying to UCLA as an International Student, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/international-applicants/.

English Proficiency: Any international applicant whose first language is not English must certify proficiency in English when applying to UCLA, and, if admitted, upon arrival. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as part of their application. The UCLA Code is 4837 and the Department Code is 2409. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/english-requirements/. International applicants who have received a Bachelor’s degree from an American institution are not required to take the TOEFL.

Academic Records: Although the UCLA Graduate Division Application enables applicants to upload an unofficial copy of their academic records, all applicants are required to submit official records from each academic institution attended. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/required-academic-records/.

Undergraduate Degree Requirement: Applicants must complete equivalent to a 4 year US Bachelor’s Degree. International students who hold three-year ordinary pass degrees, or who hold professional diplomas in accounting, business, librarianship, social work, physical education, health education and so on, or four-year degrees, diplomas or higher certificates from technical, vocational or post-secondary specialized schools are NOT eligible for graduate admission. For Academic Requirements by Country or Educational System, visit: https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/required-academic-records.

Proof of Funding for Visa: U.S. immigration law requires that international applicants, if admitted, show documented evidence that sufficient funds to cover all tuition, fees, transportation, and living expenses are available for the first year of their studies at UCLA. This must be proven before a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS2019) for a visa can be issued. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/visa-procedures/ .

FAFSA

For U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents interested in receiving financial aid, note that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deadline for UCLA is March 2. Applicants must complete the FAFSA by this date if they want to be eligible for all awards, work-study, and scholarships that UCLA offers. If applying after March 2, please check with the Financial Aid Office for available funding opportunities. www.financialaid.ucla.edu

DREAM Act

For non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents who are approved to pay in-state tuition because they graduated from a high school in California; they will need to complete the California DREAM application by the March 2 deadline. The DREAM application can be accessed at https://dream.csac.ca.gov. If applying after March 2, please check with the Financial Aid Office for available funding opportunities. www.financialaid.ucla.edu

Please visit the FAQ page for additional information, call 310-206-8441, or email filmgrad@tft.ucla.edu.

** Please do not contact the department to check on your application, as we cannot update you on your application status or materials.

For Prospective Students:

For Current Students:

Film, Television and Digital Media Counselor: Cheri Smith

Film, Television and Digital Media Staff

Film, Television and Digital Media Faculty