Program Overview

The screenwriting major provides a multidisciplinary experience intended to nurture original cinematic voices, cultivate creativity, develop marketable skills, and prepare students for graduate school and life long careers. A core curriculum of screenwriting is supplemented with studies in creative writing, theater, film studies, and film production This holistic approach recognizes the benefit of engaging in complementary fields of study that contribute to capable, curious, and creative professionals in screenwriting, writing/directing, and related new media.

More information about this program

Declare Your Program

To be eligible for acceptance to the Screenwriting major, students must submit a College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form. Consult with an advisor before enrolling in courses toward the major.

Declare Your Program

Requirements

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core, and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

Internships

Internships in screenwriting, film, television, cable, and emerging media/technologies are highly recommended and may serve as effective stepping stones to careers and personal growth. Students in the past have interned for companies in the Twin Cities, Los Angeles, and New York. Guidance for arranging internships in Los Angeles and New York is offered through the screenwriting program.

Other Graduation Requirements

To graduate from Metropolitan State University with a bachelor of arts in screenwriting, students must complete at least 120 semester credits. Forty of these semester credits must be at the upper-division level (courses numbered 300 or above). In addition, students must complete while at the university, or transfer to the university, a number of courses to meet the general education and liberal studies requirements. Students must complete a minimum of 23-24 credits of the screenwriting major at Metropolitan State University.

How Admissions Works

We are looking forward to you joining us. Take the first step by filling out this application.
Course List

Prerequisites

Requirements ( 120 total credits)

Screenwriting Required Courses

Seven core courses required (28 credits)

  • SCRW 313 Beginning Screenwriting
    4 credits

    The process of writing narrative screenplays will be introduced through writing exercises, screenplay readings, film viewings and discussion. Writing exercises will explore creativity, individual voice and practical skills. Writing in screenplay format will also be covered. Students will finish with at least one complete short screenplay ready for production. This course provides a foundation for further study in screenwriting.

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  • SCRW 314 New Screenplay Forms
    4 credits

    Through writing exercises and screenwriting assignments students will explore and practice writing in a variety of forms including adaptations, webisodes, scripted series, or other emerging episodic forms. Films and screenplays will be analyzed and discussed for critical and historical perspectives. Professional development opportunities will be introduced.

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  • SCRW 315 Film Production and Editing I
    4 credits

    The course introduces the principles and practices of electronic filmmaking as a personal and creative art form. Students will engage in exercises and projects to explore and understand editing, camera work, light, composition, and sound. A variety of cinematic forms will be examined. Student screenplays may be produced. Students will film and edit individual creative projects.

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  • SCRW 410 Film Production and Editing II
    4 credits

    Through a hands on, learn by doing experience, students will select a project, plan the production, audition actors, work as crew filming on location, and direct a short digital film. Each student will edit their own individual project. This course offers a complete package overview of writing and directing low budget, short narrative digital films. This course may be taken twice for credit.

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  • SCRW 415 Advanced Screenwriting
    4 credits

    This course investigates the dramatic essence, creative demands, and craft of feature length screenwriting. Originality and distinctive voice will be analyzed and explored through readings and writing exercises. Students will write a rough draft feature length screenplay. Films and screenplays will be analyzed and discussed for critical and historical perspectives. Professional development opportunities will be presented.

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  • SCRW 416 Projects in Screenwriting
    4 credits

    In a supportive workshop environment, students will complete a market ready screenplay and prepare a portfolio of previous work. Students will also participate in community engagement opportunities such as attending film festivals and related professional networking events. Career development strategies will be presented. This is an opportunity to enhance screenwriting skills at an advanced level, reflect, and participate.

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  • MDST 371 American Film: Tradition and Trends
    4 credits

    This course surveys the development and growth of American popular film from the silent movies at the turn of the century through Hollywood's studio system to the modern age of the multiplex theater, home video and cable television productions. Using a variety of feature films, historical sources and critical essays, students explore how film recreates, reflects and influences American culture. Also, students gain a basic knowledge of the technology and language of film, and critical approaches to film study.

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Screenwriting Required Courses

Choose one of the following as long as it is not repeated in any other area.

  • MDST 370 Contemporary Cinema
    4 credits

    This course uses currently playing films as entry points into a study of wider issues around film as an art form, cultural phenomenon and industry. Students attend various screenings of Hollywood blockbusters, low-budget art films and experimental works, and then analyze them and their significance relative to topics in film theory and aesthetics.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • MDST 378 World Cinema
    4 credits

    An opportunity for students to explore the world, world cultures and film traditions, and world issues through films from around the globe. The goal is to enrich students' film and cultural understanding of selected parts of the contemporary world.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • IDST 370 Cinema, Self and Other
    4 credits

    This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing how identities (cultural, sexual, ethnic, etc.) are constructed in and through film. It provides students with the basic vocabulary and primary theoretical approaches to film analysis and asks them to consider how various points of view and social and political issues are presented and framed, and how our fears and fantasies about others are projected on the screen. Students will help select the films for viewing and discussion, keep a journal of responses to our readings and films, and present a film analysis on one of our themes.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8

Screenwriting Required Courses

Choose one of the following as long as it is not repeated in any other area.

  • WRIT 251 Introduction to Creative Writing
    3 credits

    This course provides an introduction to the elements of writing short fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Students learn a variety of approaches to creative writing in a cooperative class environment.

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  • WRIT 324 Topics in Writing
    4 credits

    Topics courses deal with special issues or areas of interest in writing fiction, nonfiction or criticism. Topics and instructors vary. Check the Class Schedule for current offerings. Prerequisite: A 200- or 300-level writing course or instructor's consent.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • SCRW 383 Writing For Video Games
    4 credits

    In this course, students will learn how to write narrative, stories, and dialogue for video games. Video game writing is a unique kind of writing in the sense that dialogue and other visual-¬written feedback changes depending on the input of the player. By learning a writing for games style grounded in character creation, episodic structure, and dialogue, students in this course will learn the skills to become excellent game writers. Careers writing for video games, sometimes called game designers, are gaining in popularity and importance. In this unit, students will gain the background necessary to successfully write for video games and the video game industry. This course is part of the Game Studies Minor core.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • MDST 560 Writing for Television
    4 credits

    This course focuses on the techniques of writing for television with an emphasis on examining the professional writing environment on a television program, the history and trends involved in television writing and creating professional quality scripts. Students should consult the Class Schedule for particular topics and descriptions which include situation comedy, drama and newswriting. Familiarity with script software and full attendance required.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • WRIT 353 Writing Short Fiction
    4 credits

    Drawing on student ideas and experiences, this course develops the craft of short fiction writing in a workshop setting. Students read each other's work and explore the conventions of the short story. This course may be repeated for credit.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8

Screenwriting Required Courses

Choose one of the following as long as it is not repeated in any other area.

  • THEA 321 Directed Readings in Theater
    4 credits

    This course uses full length play scripts, videos of plays and film adaptations to tour the rich traditions of the theater. Students are required to demonstrate reading knowledge of all plays on their individual reading/viewing list, through on line discussions, and the focused analysis of six short questions for each play read or seen. This class can be done at home or on site at the teaching center, and may be taken for a maximum of eight credits.

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  • THEA 345 Acting III
    4 credits

    Actor training can be life enhancing. In this class, advanced students are guided to discover, explore and develop their emotional, physical and psychological resources using varied acting exercises and techniques. Prerequisite: Acting II (MCTC) or equivalent (Screenwriting students exempt from prerequisites).

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  • THEA 346 Topics
    0 credits

    Studies in selected areas of theater art. (See class schedule for current topics.)

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • THEA 387 Theater History II: Contemporary
    4 credits

    This course is for students interested in the implications of modern drama on our contemporary world. In this class, students explore some of the most exciting plays in modern and contemporary drama and experience the incredibly rich variety of theater offerings within their own community.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • THEA 400 Playwriting I
    4 credits

    Writing for the spoken word and for acting demands different skills than writing for the page. Develop your ear, your signature of voice, your sense of subtext. Through a variety of approaches, from improvisation to creative autobiography, students explore character, conflict and drama as metaphor. Writers with material they would like to explore or adapt for the stage are welcome. Expect to complete at least one short play.

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Screenwriting Required Courses

Choose one of the following as long as it is not repeated in any other area.

  • ARTS 115 Introduction to Photography
    4 credits

    This introductory course focuses on the aesthetic and practical elements of image making in photography. Basic principles of camera work, framing, light and lenses are covered. This course provides a foundation for further study in photography.

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  • GNDR 369 GLBT Issues In Literature and Film
    4 credits

    Once a uniformly banned and censored subject, these orientations have been treated with increasing frequency in modern culture. This course examines history and themes in the presentation of "glbt" people, by "glbt" people in novels, plays, poetry, essays, documentaries and films. The course examines perceived notions of the relationship between gender and sexuality, and common themes in the material, including love, desire, tolerance, conflict and social change.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • IDST 370 Cinema, Self and Other
    4 credits

    This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing how identities (cultural, sexual, ethnic, etc.) are constructed in and through film. It provides students with the basic vocabulary and primary theoretical approaches to film analysis and asks them to consider how various points of view and social and political issues are presented and framed, and how our fears and fantasies about others are projected on the screen. Students will help select the films for viewing and discussion, keep a journal of responses to our readings and films, and present a film analysis on one of our themes.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • MDST 560 Writing for Television
    4 credits

    This course focuses on the techniques of writing for television with an emphasis on examining the professional writing environment on a television program, the history and trends involved in television writing and creating professional quality scripts. Students should consult the Class Schedule for particular topics and descriptions which include situation comedy, drama and newswriting. Familiarity with script software and full attendance required.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • LIT 301 The Short Story
    4 credits

    This course is designed to help students read short stories with enjoyment, understanding and critical appreciation. It emphasizes twentieth-century writers including women, ethnic and minority writers, and writers both within and outside the European literary tradition.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • LIT 315 Gender in Literature and Film
    4 credits

    This course surveys how classic works of American literature and film assert, examine and/or question gender conventions that affect both men and women. Students discuss ways in which fiction, drama, poetry, popular music and film can promote, question or subvert gender conventions. The goal of these discussions is to make new discoveries about familiar works of literature, to examine a range of assertions and arguments that authors and film directors make about gender, and to consider the purposes gender conventions serve for individuals and the community in the United States.

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  • LIT 342 American Literature: 1870-Present
    4 credits

    This course surveys illustrative works from 1870 to the present, introducing students to the study of that literature and sharpening critical reading skills. Emphasis is on the development of literary technique and on the cultural context of literary works. Topics covered include the rise of modernism, its impact on a diverse population and various responses to modern culture, as well as changing perceptions of religion, race, gender, environment, the future, the self and the community. Students are introduced to a range of contemporary critical approaches to literature.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • MDST 370 Contemporary Cinema
    4 credits

    This course uses currently playing films as entry points into a study of wider issues around film as an art form, cultural phenomenon and industry. Students attend various screenings of Hollywood blockbusters, low-budget art films and experimental works, and then analyze them and their significance relative to topics in film theory and aesthetics.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • MDST 561 Advanced Television Writing
    4 credits

    This independent study course further develops the techniques of writing for television with an emphasis on creating professional quality scripts that are ready to submit for artist fellowships, industry opportunities, agents and/or graduate school . All students must write at least one full length industry standard single camera spec script for a current situation comedy and an additional full length script for another comedy or other television genre. Familiarity with script software is required. Students will work independently with the instructor but will be able to utilize an active and engaging D2L site including opportunities for real time critiques and industry opportunities.

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  • SCRW 350I Screenwriting Individual Internship
    0 credits

    Students obtain internships in selected areas of study to gain deeper understand of knowledge, skills and the context of a given field. Faculty members serve as liaisons and evaluator between the internship sites and the university, providing information to students and potential supervisors and supervising the learning experience. Internships normally earn between one and four credits, required 40 work hours per credit, and may be served through a standard hours/work schedule or with flexible work hours scheduling, depending on the nature of the internship and site preferences.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • WRIT 353 Writing Short Fiction
    4 credits

    Drawing on student ideas and experiences, this course develops the craft of short fiction writing in a workshop setting. Students read each other's work and explore the conventions of the short story. This course may be repeated for credit.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • SCRW 383 Writing For Video Games
    4 credits

    In this course, students will learn how to write narrative, stories, and dialogue for video games. Video game writing is a unique kind of writing in the sense that dialogue and other visual-¬written feedback changes depending on the input of the player. By learning a writing for games style grounded in character creation, episodic structure, and dialogue, students in this course will learn the skills to become excellent game writers. Careers writing for video games, sometimes called game designers, are gaining in popularity and importance. In this unit, students will gain the background necessary to successfully write for video games and the video game industry. This course is part of the Game Studies Minor core.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8