Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

School of Theatre, Television, and Film Launches MFA Screenwriting Degree Program in 2021

The SDSU MFA Screenwriting degree program will be taught by professional screenwriters allowing students to take a deep dive into the screenwriting process.

School of Theatre, Television, and Film Launches MFA Screenwriting Degree Program in 2021

by Aleah Jarin

September 22, 2020

San Diego State University’s School of Theatre, Television, and Film will offer a new type of MFA degree to students starting Jan. 2021 through SDSU’s Global Campus. This new, two-year degree program will focus on screenwriting and allow students to learn firsthand from screenwriting professionals. Students can apply as they normally would for any other graduate program and then must register through SDSU Global Campus, which is an extension of SDSU offering many other degree programs.

Aside from this program being the first of its kind at SDSU, it’s also unique due to its low-residency nature. Director of The School of Theatre, Television, and Film, Niyi Coker, shared that students enrolled in the MFA Screenwriting program will spend one summer semester in residence at the television and film studio on campus.

“Students will get to experience all the various aspects that go into transforming a script from pages of paper to the screen [including] the pre-production, production and post-production details, that most writers are unaware of,” Coker said.

Learning and understanding the whole process screenwriters go through will be at the core of this degree program.

“They’re going to be involved in understanding how those [films and TV shows] get made,” Coker said. “We’re now giving students an opportunity, through these screenwriting courses, to come and see how scripts become productions.”

Coker noted that he expects a lot of international students to take advantage and apply.

He also emphasized the caliber of this type of degree program and said, “[Students] are going to be working with a lot of SDSU alumni and world-class screenwriters.”

Coker said that the professional screenwriters who will be coming to teach these courses are what makes this degree program so special.

When talking about the structure of the program overall, Coker said rather than bringing in individuals who only teach writing, he’s bringing in people directly from the industry.

“We have Joseph Michael Straczynski, the creator of Sense8, and Changeling…Brad Buckner who’s a professional writer in Hollywood and producer of Supernatural,” Coker said. “We also have Kenny Leon who’s a Tony-Award-winning director on Broadway.”

The first classes for this program will be offered in Jan. 2021 when the first group of students will be admitted. All students can expect this MFA program to be officially opened in Sept. 2021.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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