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Playwriting MFA

Playwrights shape lived experience into spectacle, exploring our proximity to one another through multiple theatrical forms.

Playwriting students work across a range of media, study with accomplished playwrights, and develop their work alongside a small and gifted cohort.

The Graduate Playwriting Program augments playwriting workshops with coursework in screenwriting, VR/AR, adaptation, and beyond. Our distinguished faculty specialize in African-American theater, bilingual playmaking exploring Latinx culture, and an innovative blend of metatheatricality and trans identity.

Through three years of coursework, students emerge with a portfolio of plays and collaborative experiences that equip them to challenge and reinvent theatrical storytelling.

World-Class Faculty

In the first year, playwrights complete two short plays and a full length play. In the second year, playwrights complete a second full length play, a One Person play, and an additional writing project such as an adaptation for the stage or a screenplay. The third year typically includes an internship with a professional theater or film studio, or comparative environment.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the MFA degree in Theater can be found in the Program Requirements on file at the UCLA Division of Graduate Education


The MFA Program in Playwriting is a comprehensive, professional training program that prepares students for writing careers in the contemporary theater. The degree is awarded on the basis of successful completion of the required courses. Additionally, a critical evaluation of writing projects must culminate in a manner to show professional competence in the field.


Students will be required to enroll in a minimum of twelve units per quarter. Required courses will be scheduled to permit completion of the program within a three year period. In addition to the successful completion of a minimum of courses and units, candidates for the degree must pass a capstone project that is a critical evaluation of directing projects demonstrating professional competence in the field.


Minimum Course Requirements

Students must complete of a minimum of 94 units or 23.5 courses. Of those courses:

  • A minimum of 82 units or 20.5 courses must be at the graduate level.
  • A maximum of 12 units of 596 courses may be applied toward the degree.
  • By petition, course requirements may be fulfilled with approved alternative courses

Final Examination for the Degree

The program culminates in the capstone, satisfied by fulfilling a series of creative projects appropriate to the Playwriting specialization.

  • On completion of the capstone or last quarter of residency, whichever is last, students must file for advancement to candidacy.
  • The final creative project and is reviewed and evaluated by the examining faculty committee.
  • Student participation in the final review is at the discretion of the committee.
  • If the student fails the review and evaluation of the creative work by the examining committee, the student may, with the approval of the Chair of the Department, be re-examined.

Time to Degree

Normal progress toward the MFA degree in Playwriting involves students to be enrolled in their specialized area for a continuous period until all required courses are completed, typically seven to nine quarters.

Normative Time to Advancement To Candidacy is nine quarters. Normative Time-To-Degree is nine quarters. Maximum Time-To-Degrees is 12 quarters.


Core Courses

  • THEATER 230ABC: Advanced Playwriting
  • THEATER 231: Special Topics In Playwriting
  • THEATER 266: Theatrical Conceptualization
  • THEATER 430ABC: Advanced Studies in Playwriting
  • THEATER 431: Special Topics in Playwriting
  • THEATER 432: Theatrical Adaptation

Projects & Production

  • THEATER C433ABC: Script Development Workshop
  • THEATER 435AF-AW-AS: Advanced Playwriting Laboratory

Background Courses

Complete a minimum of 14 units, choose from the following courses:

  • THEATER 205ABC: Background of Theatrical Art
  • THEATER 206: Themes in World Theater and Drama
  • THEATER 210: Topics in World Theater and Drama
  • THEATER 232: Manuscript Analysis
  • THEATER 260: Directing I
  • Elective History in Art History, Arts & Architecture, Design/Media Arts, Dance, World Arts & Cultures, and Film & Television


  • THEATER 498 Professional Internship in TFT