Screenwriting Classes and Schools

Screenwriting classes may be offered through degree programs in screenwriting, creative writing or English. They may cover topics ranging from developing dialogue to writing scripts for particular types of media, like commercials. Read on for more details about what you can learn in screenwriting classes and tips for choosing a school. Schools offering Script and Screenwriting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

You can take screenwriting classes to earn a degree through an on-campus program or earn a certificate through distance education. In degree programs, you can expect to hone your craft through intensive writing workshops and collaborate with other students on developing screenplays.

Schools Columbia College Chicago, Chapman University, Hollins University, University of Texas at Austin, New York University School of Professional Studies
Program Options Certificate in Screenwriting, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinema Art and Science: Concentration in Screenwriting, Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting, Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting
Classes Character analysis for writers, visual storytelling, feature screenwriting, film aesthetics, writing the adaptation, storytelling strategies, history of film

How Should I Choose a School?

You might want to consider schools with successful program graduates or faculty who are also experienced screenwriters and producers. If you're interested in not only writing, but also producing your own screenplays, check out schools that will allow you to do so. Some schools may also offer you the opportunity to participate in internships with network television studios or production companies. The opportunity to collaborate with other screenwriting students may also appeal to you.

In addition to schools listed earlier, other schools that contain programs in screenwriting include:

  • New York Film Academy
  • Emory University
  • The University of Utah
  • Emerson College
  • University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts

What Can I Learn From a Screenwriting Class?

Introductory screenwriting classes often teach you how to use description, dialogue and setting to develop a story's character or narrative. In more advanced classes, you may read examples of successful and unsuccessful screenplays, learn the mechanics of the screenplay writing style and practice pitching your work. You may also learn to write scripts specifically for commercials, television sitcoms or full-length films. Many screenwriting classes include a writing workshop where you can give and receive critical feedback and suggestions.

Other topics covered in a screenwriting class include:

  • Screenplay formatting
  • Story theme development
  • Outlining and full treatment
  • Visual writing techniques
  • Writing TV scripts

Are There Any Degree Programs Available?

There are associate's and bachelor's degree programs with screenwriting majors. These could include associate's degrees in fine arts or media arts, or bachelor's degrees in fine arts, writing for screen and television or creative writing. You might also take screenwriting as an elective in an English major program. Topics covered in these undergraduate courses include digital film, media arts and film genres.

Can I Pursue an Advanced Degree in Screenwriting?

If you already have a bachelor's degree, you may apply to a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in screenwriting. The curriculum includes advanced courses in topics like film analysis and comedy writing as well as thesis requirements. You might also study film history, production and screenwriting adaptation. You will likely finish your degree with one or more completed manuscripts.

What About Online Programs?

Screenwriting certificate programs are available online through a college's or university's continuing or distance education department. There are also low-residency MFAs available. In addition to online coursework, you may be required to complete occasional on-campus residencies or summer semesters abroad.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools