MFA-in-Screenwriting

Master of Fine Arts winter & spring 2012-2013

Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Screenwriting is the terminal degree in writing for film and television. The MFA program is a highly selective program that culminates in the successful completion of the MFA thesis screenplay or teleplay.

Learn more about admission to this program.

Degree Requirements
Students in this degree program must meet the following requirements:
  • Complete a minimum of 64 graduate credit hours in the designated degree program.
  • Complete all graduate courses and requirements listed in the designated degree program.
  • Earn a grade of C- or better in all graduate courses of the designated degree program.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Satisfactorily complete the MFA thesis as determined by the student's MFA Advisor Committee.
  • Students cannot count credit earned towards a previously awarded master's or MFA degree toward the completion of this MFA program.

For DePaul's policy on repeat graduate courses and a complete list of academic policies see the DePaul Graduate Handbook in the Course Catalog.


Course Requirements
First Year
Fall Quarter
DC 501 Storytelling for the Screenwriter
DC 502 Story Structures
DC 503 Studio Development
Winter Quarter
DC 402 Writing the Feature I
DC 400 Writing the Television Spec Script
Spring Quarter
DC 403 Writing the Feature II
DC 405 Topics in Screenwriting
1 CIM or MCS Elective
Summer Quarter
DC 480 Project Bluelight
Second Year
Fall Quarter
DC 561 Thesis I
DC 406 Writing the Sitcom
OR DC 407 Writing the Episodic Drama
1 CIM or MCS Elective
Winter Quarter
DC 562 Thesis II
DC 408 Writing On Assignment
Spring Quarter
DC 563 Thesis III
DC 505 Industry and Pitching Seminar
CIM or MCS Electives
CIM electives include any graduate level ANI, DC, GAM, GD, GPH, HCI, MCS or VFX courses.
MFA Thesis
Students in the MFA in Screenwriting program must complete a MFA Thesis project which consists of a feature length screenplay or original television pilot and future episode. We expect the thesis projects to be at a level of quality that would warrant representation by literary agents and managers. Satisfactory completion of the MFA Thesis project is determined by the MFA Advisor Committee (see below).

Student's MFA Advisor Committee
Prior to beginning their second year, all MFA candidates will be assigned two thesis committee members. The candidate will select a third thesis committee member from all CIM faculty and, upon acceptance of the student's request, this faculty member will make up the third member of the candidate's MFA Advisor Committee. This committee will conduct a portfolio review prior to the beginning of the second year to ensure the student is making proper progress towards his or her degree. The MFA Advisor Committee will offer suggestions and feedback on the student's work and help guide the student during the thesis phase of the program.

MFA Thesis Timeline
MFA in Screenwriting students are required to turn in a first draft of their thesis project by December 31st following the fall quarter of their final year. The thesis committee will provide notes on the project by January 31st. Candidates will turn in a final draft of their project by May 1st during their final year. The thesis committee will review the thesis project and decide whether the MFA candidate should be awarded the degree. If the committee does not deem the project ready for approval, the student will be given notes and asked to resubmit their project. Students may resubmit up to three additional times. If a student's project is not deemed passable after the fourth time, the student will not receive the MFA. Students have eighteen months from the submission of their first draft to obtain the committee's approval or the degree will not be awarded.