The UNLV Department of Film offers a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Dramatic Media. This terminal degree focuses specifically on the art and craft of writing for performance. This is a three-year long creative writing discipline housed in a film department. The focus of the program is on developing feature screenplays but the candidate will also produce television screenplays, stage plays, and various types of work for digital media as it evolves. The program is based on a “conservatory” approach of practice and repetition and includes a significant amount of “pitching,” or working aloud, as part of the process. Students completing the three-year program will have a significant group of feature motion picture, television, and other scripts that have been honed to a professional level. In addition to faculty with professional experience, the students are exposed to a variety of professional guests.
Plan Admission Requirements
Students are admitted in the fall term of each academic year. In addition to the general requirements for admission to the Graduate College, the following materials must be submitted.
- A writing sample to the Graduate Coordinator. This sample should be a screenplay. A stage play or prose fiction will suffice if approved by the coordinator. The sample is needed to demonstrate narrative ability.
- The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of two references.
- Finalists will be interviewed, by telephone or in person, by the Graduate Coordinator.
Review of applications begins January 15.
All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.
Total Credits Required: 54
Screenwriting Course – Credits: 18
Complete 18 credits of the following course:
FIS 722 - Graduate Screenwriting
Required Courses – Credits: 18
Complete 18 credits from the following courses:
FIS 615 - Story Development
FIS 618 - Writing for Television I
FIS 619 - Writing for Television II
FIS 720 - Advanced Cinematic Structure
FIS 723 - Ensemble Screenwriting
FIS 724 - The Adaptation Screenplay
FIS 725 - Writing for Assignment
FIS 726 - Advanced Screenplay Analysis
FIS 727 - Advanced Screenplay Theory
FIS 728 - Graduate Production
Elective Courses – Credits: 18
Complete 18 credits of 600- or 700-level advisor approved courses.
- Completion of a minimum of 54 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
- In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize an advisory committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
- During the three years of study, each screenwriting student will be expected to complete a minimum of four full-length feature motion picture screenplays and two television scripts. In practice, the output is actually closer to five screenplays and four television scripts. One screenplay will be selected to be the candidate’s thesis script. It will undergo final revision as the work most indicative of the candidate’s art and craft.
- A two-hour oral examination will take place at the end of the course of study. This examination focuses on the student’s final project (1 hour) and on all remaining work completed within the program (1 hour).