Master of Fine Arts 2013-2014

Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting

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

No course labeled as Introductory in any other program may be substituted for any other course at any level.

First Year
Fall Quarter
DC 429 Television Genres and Analysis
DC 501 Storytelling for the Screenwriter
DC 502 Story Structures
Winter Quarter
DC 400 Writing the Television Spec Script
DC 402 Writing the Feature I
DC 424 Script to Screen Film Analysis
Spring Quarter
DC 403 Writing the Feature II
DC 406 Writing the Sitcom
OR DC 407 Writing the Episodic Drama
DC 503 Studio Development
Second Year
Fall Quarter
DC 506 Writing for Film Thesis I
OR DC 508 Writing the TV Thesis I
Choose 2 of the following 4 courses:
DC 405 Topics in Screenwriting
DC 441 Storytelling for Video Games
DC 428 Writing the Web Series
DC 483 Comedy, Joke, and Sketch Writing
Winter Quarter
DC 507 Writing for Film Thesis II
OR DC 509 Writing for TV Thesis II
Choose 1 of the following 4 courses:
DC 405 Topics in Screenwriting
DC 406 Writing the Sitcom
DC 407 Writing the Episodic Drama
DC 408 Writing On Assignment
Spring Quarter
DC 510 Writing for Film and Television Portfolio *
DC 505 Industry and Pitching Seminar *
*See information about Optional Los Angeles quarter below.
Optional Los Angeles Quarter
Students may apply to participate in the Los Angeles Quarter Program for the spring of their second year; they will spend twelve weeks in Hollywood doing industry internships, living with their fellow DePaul classmates, and having twice-weekly classes on an industry lot where they will have intimate question and answer sessions with industry professionals in all aspects of the film, TV, and videogame world. If selected to participate in the LA program, MFA Screenwriting students would take DC 488 Filmmakers Seminar and DC 499 Internships in Media and Design instead of DC 510 and DC 505.
MFA Thesis
Students in the MFA in Screenwriting program must complete a MFA Thesis project which consists of either a feature length screenplay or an original television pilot plus a "show bible" and outlines for six future episodes. 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 plus their thesis instructor; these three faculty members will be the 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. They will ultimately judge the final thesis project as pass or fail.

MFA Thesis Timeline: Year Two
MFA in Screenwriting students are required to pitch their thesis ideas and decide upon a project by the second week of the fall quarter. The first draft of the thesis must be completed by December 15. The writers will get notes from their committee on their draft by Monday of Week 2 of the winter quarter. The final draft of the thesis script will be turned into the committee on the last day of final exams for the winter quarter. The committees will meet on Friday of Week 2 of spring quarter, and students will be expected to be present to defend their thesis at their given day/time. The committee will then make a pass or fail decision. If a student passes, they just must then complete their coursework in order to graduate. If a student does not pass, the writer must resubmit his or her thesis by Friday of week 8 of spring quarter. (Students may re-submit earlier if they feel they are ready.) The re-defense will take place no later than Friday of week 10 of the spring quarter. If the student passes, they can move on to graduation assuming all courses are complete. If the student has a second non-pass, the student must enroll in DC 701 (a zero credit hour and zero cost class) to keep enrolled as a student for the summer session after their completion of year two coursework. Students will have the summer to perform on final rewrite on the project. The script will be due by the final day of Summer I. The defense must be scheduled to take place with the committee before the end of the Summer II session. If the student passes, he or she may apply for the next round of graduation. If the student does not pass, he or she can talk to advising about applying their course credit hours to an M.S. Cinema Production degree, if interested.