The Screenwriting and Film Studies program is a summer program, with yearly six-week sessions from mid-June through the end of July. Either degree can be completed in three to five summer sessions. Students typically take two courses (eight credits) during their first summer, three (twelve credits) in subsequent summers. The program’s international teaching faculty is comprised of professors from leading universities as well as industry insiders. Recent faculty members have come from Berlin, Prague, London, UCLA, and NYU. Recent guests of the program have included filmmakers and writers such as Peter Riegert ("The Sopranos"), Tom Noonan ("Damages," "Hell on Wheels"), Academy Award-winner Marleen Gorris (Antonia's Line), Scott Kosar (The Machinist), Sabrina Dhawan (Monsoon Wedding), and UCLA co-chair Hal Ackerman.
Ten four-credit courses and an eight-credit thesis project (48 credits total). The ten four-credit courses include the required courses FILM 505: Narrative Theory and Practice (a prerequisite for all other screenwriting courses); FILM 510: Film Analysis and Research; FILM 507: Creative Writing Seminar in Screenwriting (must be taken a minimum of two times); and, during the final summer, FILM 595: Advanced Screenwriting Tutorial. At least 24 of the 40 classroom credits must be creative courses (screenwriting, film/video production, photography). The eight-credit thesis project is typically taken over the student's last two terms (four credits each term). The thesis must consist of a feature-length screenplay or an extended television project (a pilot and two additional episodes of an original television series idea). The M.F.A. degree does not require a language proficiency exam, but students must pass a comprehensive final examination.
Eight four-credit courses and an eight-credit thesis project (40 credits total). The eight four-credit courses include the required courses FILM 505: Narrative Theory and Practice (a prerequisite for all other screenwriting courses) and FILM 510: Film Analysis and Research. At least 16 of the 32 classroom credits must be taken in film studies courses. The eight-credit thesis project is typically taken over the student's last two terms (four credits each term). The thesis must consist of an extended critical or research essay. The M.A. degree requires that students demonstrate proficiency in reading a modern foreign language (usually French, German, or Spanish) by taking a language proficiency exam, and students must pass a comprehensive final examination.
Fees and Financial Aid
Tuition for the 2013 summer term is $745 per credit hour or $5,960 for the normal load of two (2) four-credit courses. Student scholarships and loans are available. To apply, students must complete the FAFSA annually.
New students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $400 within two weeks of their acceptance. Returning students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $200 by May 15. All deposits will be credited toward summer tuition charges.
Housing during the 2013 summer term is available in student apartments (private bedroom with shared living room, kitchen and bath) and dormitory rooms (communal kitchen and one bath per hall). The cost is $1,015 for the six-week term.
Candidates must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. They must give evidence, by undergraduate record, letters of recommendation and writing samples, of their capacity to undertake the program. Acceptable writing samples can include a feature-length screenplay, stage play, or a 30- or 60-minute television script for M.F.A. students and a sample of college level scholarly writing for M.A. students. They may also submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination, but the GRE is not required. A $40 processing fee is also required. Applications may be obtained from:
Graduate Studies Office
P. O. Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020
Phone: (540) 362-6575