The Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting: Writing for Film and Television is a two-year terminal graduate degree
designed for students who are passionate about developing the professional-level skills necessary to create
narratives from concept to production. Students prepare for their careers as professional writers by learning
how to think critically about society and how to approach current issues such as diversity, inclusion, access
and modern theatre theory. With a focus on the collaborative process, students develop advanced storytelling
techniques through writing-intensive coursework and in co-curricular programming. Creating production-ready
content is at the core of this program and to this end, students have many opportunities to witness their work
being brought to fruition by AMDA’s student performers on the stage and screen. Graduates complete the program
having created a portfolio of professional pieces, preparing them to enter the business of screenwriting for film
Please submit a sample of writing materials that includes examples of original dramatic work. A minimum
of two completed pieces, which could include written work from undergraduate degree or independently
written pieces. Please submit your documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
or click the button below.
Once you have completed your application, an AMDA representative will reach out to you by phone to
discuss your interests, background, and experiences related to the focus of this program.
Reference letters +−
Three reference letters from people who have known the applicant for two years or longer, such as
instructors, directors or faculty advisors, or employers (but not a friend or family member). Reference
letters may be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to the
address below and should note the relationship of the writer to the applicant.
Official transcripts +−
Please submit transcripts for completed undergraduate degree and any graduate coursework attempted or completed. The minimum grade point average (GPA) expected for AMDA's graduate programs is 3.0 out of 4.0 or its equivalent in other grading systems.
211 West 61st Street
New York, NY 10023
Program Learning Outcomes
AMDA students within the MFA in Screenwriting: Writing for Film and Television program will achieve the following program learning
Advanced skills in dramatic construction: Demonstrate the ability to create texts that effectively incorporate
dramatic strategies and structures.
Concept to script:
Demonstrate the ability to cultivate an idea from concept to finished product.
Script to production: Demonstrate the ability to edit a script through the process of
collaboration to final production.
Interdisciplinary competency: Demonstrate a command of interdisciplinary research and practice
through written and oral presentation.
History, theory, and criticism: Acquire an advanced understanding of theatre history, theory, and
criticism as it reflects current and historical discussion and debate and apply knowledge to the
production of creative pieces.
Cross-cultural responsibility: Exhibit a command of cross-cultural analysis, demonstrating a grasp
of global perspectives and cross-cultural conversations.
Research: Engage in
original, focused research pertaining to their field of study.
Professional writing: Demonstrate key professional
capacities related to writing for performance, including effective communication skills,
technology literacy, and an understanding of professional ethics and best practices.
Summary of Required Courses
Program Category KeyCredits
Creation & Presentation Credits45.0
Theater Studies Credits12.0
Total Program Credits60.0
THR521Graduate Seminar: Film and
Theatre Genre Analysis3.0
WTM516Short Films, One Acts, and
WTM521Advanced Dramatic Writing 1:
Story Analysis and Ideation3.0
Picture Scene and Script Analysis3.0
WTM511 Advanced Dramatic
Writing 2: Practicum in Screenwriting6.0
THR560Seminar in Critical Race
Business of Writing for Movies, Television, and Theatre3.0
Drama Series Pilot3.0
Writing 3: Practicum in Screenwriting3.0
Comedy Series Pilot3.0
WTM553Film and Theater
Writing 4: Practicum in Screenwriting6.0
THE570Seminar in Queer and Gender
Writing 5: Thesis Preparation and Ideation3.0
WTM562Advanced Seminar in
THR521Graduate Seminar: Film and Theatre Genre Analysis
This course provides a dramaturgical investigation into film and theater genres, including action
adventure, comedy, drama, fantasy, horror, science fiction, war and western, as well as relevant
subgenres (e.g., romantic comedies, spy thrillers). What are the obligatory scenes (dramatic beats
storytellers use to fulfill or subvert expectations) within each genre? What are the aesthetic and
thematic concerns? Students screen several films and recorded theater productions, as well as read
dramaturgical theory, reflecting on their insights through brief written responses and in-class
discussions. Students cocurate seminar topics by bringing in excerpts from each genre. The
culminates in a subgenre research project workshopped within the final weeks of the course.
WTM516 Short Films, One Acts and Webisodes
This course provides students with an opportunity to craft their writing voice by telling short stories
for the stage in the form of one acts, 10-minute plays and monologues— as well as experiment in writing
short webisodes for the screen. We read and watch relevant examples and dive into structure models and
some dramatic structure theory. Several classes are devoted to workshopping works in progress. At the
end of the course the student will have written drafts of three major projects, including one finished
play (one act or 10-minute), one webisode and a historical, research-based series of monologues or
letters (Voices from History) that tell a tale from the past through a series of voices.
WTM521 Advanced Dramatic Writing 1: Story Analysis and Ideation
Students investigate the techniques and dramatic tools used to write powerful scenes for the screen.
Emphasis is on the creation of fully dimensional characters and use of visual elements, tempo, timing,
descriptive style and dialogue. This workshop course is product oriented; students ideate a screenplay
then complete the first act.
THR551 Advanced Motion Picture Scene and Script Analysis
In this course, students explore screen story structure and the screenwriting tools of dramaturgy used
in contemporary motion pictures to impact audiences emotionally and intellectually. Effective story
outlining paradigms are investigated, and story strengths and weaknesses are analyzed. Students engage
in film analysis projects that help them better understand story structure and how to apply these
principles to screenwriting.
WTM511 Advanced Dramatic Writing 2: Practicum in Screenwriting
In this course, screen story structure creation undertaken in Dramatic Writing 1 is continued to the
completion of a feature-length screenplay. Students revise their scripts from Dramatic Writing 1, making
a focused pass that centers on character, structure or story world.
THR560 Seminar in Critical Race Theory
This course identifies and analyzes existing power structures that perpetuate white, heteronormative
ideologies and the marginalization of people of color. It investigates race and racism as a social
construction and highlights the ways these theories are supported or condemned in the performing arts.
Topics include Afro-pessimism, Latinx race theory, Orientalism, Native American race theory and
WTM580 Media Practicum: Business of Writing for Movies, Television and
The building blocks of maintaining a career as a writer in media or theater are analyzed. The
acquisition of representation, the writing of a query letter, the acquisition of an internship and
employment and the building of producing skills (budgeting, independent cinema, webisodes) are also
WTM531 Advanced Hour-Long Drama Series Pilot
This course is designed to explore the fundamentals of hour-long television writing while allowing
students to develop their skills in creating compelling characters, dialogue and plot. This course
surveys the basic elements of dramatic structure and the parallels and differences between writing for
television and writing for film. The final project consists of an original, one-hour pilot script and
the outline for six subsequent episodes.
WTM512 Advanced Dramatic Writing 3: Practicum in Screenwriting
The student writer’s creative strengths and weaknesses are identified and analyzed. Format includes
exercises and original screenplay material specifically designed to strengthen narrative skills.
Students will further explore the creative process and the various types of research (grounded,
personal, imaginative and book-centered) to develop a new feature screenplay idea with provocative,
WTM552 Advanced Half-Hour Comedy Series Pilot
An examination of the theory, spectrum and structures of comedy, as well as the writing of comedy
scenes, teleplays and pilots. Students create a comedy one sheet, producing a detailed character list,
ideas for subsequent episodes and a well-structured log line for both the pilot and the series.
WTM553 Film and Theater Pedagogy
Students gain skills in the teaching of screenwriting, television writing and theater writing by
preparing syllabi, lesson plans and in-class practicum. This class is held conjointly with opportunities
for graduates to assume teaching assistant positions.
WTM513 Advanced Dramatic Writing 4: Practicum in Screenwriting
Ideation in the development of a full television or movie outline to be completed as a thesis project.
The first act of a feature-length thesis script is also written as preparation for final thesis
completion and publication in Thesis/Graduate project.
THE570 Seminar in Queer and Gender Theory
This seminar offers an intersectional approach to understanding identity and its relationship to sex and
sexuality. It is a post-structural analysis of heteronormative power structures that promote
heterosexuality as the preferred sexual orientation and institutionalize patriarchy. It examines the
ways these analyses and theories are supported or condemned in the performing arts. Topics include
identity and performance, queer theory and intersectional feminism.
WTM514 Advanced Dramatic Writing 5: Thesis Preparation and Ideation
Instruction in the steps of thesis publication and individual guidance in developing original story
ideas into full outlines for thesis screenplays. The first act of a feature-length thesis script is also
written as preparation for final thesis completion and publication in Thesis/Graduate project.
WTM562 Advanced Seminar in Screenplay Adaptation
Advanced development of student screenwriting and playwriting skills and techniques, with emphasis on
the adaptation of a published literary work. Students write adaptations of short stories, young adult
novels and a literary source of their own choosing. A full outline of a feature film based on this
literary choice will be added to the student’s portfolio.
WTM572 Thesis or Graduate Project
Students complete a page one rewrite of their feature film draft written in Workshop Lab 4. Rewrites
include a pass for character, structure, plot and dialogue, based on notes from the professor. All
thematic, creative, personal and book research into character and world is presented with a final,
polished script. Students choosing a television show for their thesis complete a rewrite of pilot
scripts written in Workshop Lab 4 and include a full outline and character list and five subsequent
episodes. The final television pilot also includes a full analysis of series, seasonal and principal
WTM582 Professional Internship
Using research and skills acquired in the Business of Screenwriting, students acquire internships in
line with their creative sensibilities. These internships include opportunities to strengthen their
writing skills and hone their creative voices by writing script coverage and observing writers’ rooms
and in-house story consultation meetings. Students further explore skills learned in advanced writing
workshops to make meaningful contributions in the television, film or allied industry of their choice.
TA Experience Teaching Assistant Experience
Students are offered full practicum experience as a teacher's assistant attending to any requirements of
the lead teacher, including the reading and grading of all class assignments, teaching individual
lessons and answering student queries.