Program Summary

Screenwriters in today’s industry must be versatile in terms of which genres and mediums they are able to work with. Emerson’s MFA in Writing for Film and Television is a progressive, two-year program that brings together a community of students for focused, rigorous instruction. Building on Emerson’s long-standing Department of Visual and Media Arts, the low-residency MFA program helps students refine their craft as writers for film, television, and other emergent forms of media.

The low-residency MFA program offers a personalized course of study in which professors work with you at the beginning of each semester to talk about story ideas and help you select which piece(s) you will write for the online workshops. They will also act as mentors throughout the program and regularly meet with you to discuss your career goals and how to set yourself up for success after graduation.  

Each semester begins with a week-long residency, which will be held on our Boston (Fall) or our L.A. (Spring) campus.

Following the residency, you will take two online classes: a writing workshop and a topics course. Your creative work will be completed in the writing workshop and submitted online. You will receive thoughtful, detailed feedback from your faculty and peers. After reviewing your group feedback, you will schedule an online or phone meeting with your faculty advisor to discuss the progress of your creative work and receive constructive notes.

Online classes may consist of synchronous and asynchronous elements.

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As an MFA candidate, you will complete a professional-caliber portfolio that contains the following:

  • Short Screenplays
  • Feature Screenplay
  • Original Television/Cable/Streaming Pilot
  • Additional Script (Pilot or Feature Screenplay)
  • Critical Essay

The MFA in Writing for Film and Television requires 40 credit hours including:

Screenwriting Workshops (One per semester, 16 Credits)

Number Course Credits
SW 631 Writing Workshop I - Writing for Short-Form Media 4
SW 632 Writing Workshop II - Writing Series Television 4
SW 633 Writing Workshop III - Feature Film Screenwriting 4
SW 698 MFA Thesis Project 4

Topics Courses (One per semester, 16 Credits)

Number Course Credits
SW 621 Film Genres 4
SW 622 The Writer’s Room 4
SW 623 Television Genres 4
SW 624 Writers in Development 4

Residencies (One per semester, 8 Credits)

Number Course Credits
Residency I Storytelling and Writing Short Scripts (Boston)
Residency II Series Television Writing (Los Angeles) 2
Residency III Long-Form Writing (Boston) 2
Residency IV The Business of Screenwriting (Los Angeles) 2

Residency Schedule

See our Academic Calendar for specific residency dates for each semester.