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Humanities & Teacher Education

Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Screen and Television

Storytellers as Cultural Leaders

Pepperdine's two-year MFA in Writing for Screen and Television trains students for a vocation as screenwriters and prepares them to become cultural leaders in the entertainment industry. Courses in the program focus on the storyteller in conversation with contemporary culture through the lens of ethics, philosophy, film studies, and religion. Here at Pepperdine we take a values-centered approach to education and work to strengthen student lives in purpose, service, and leadership.

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Course Requirements

48 units minimum - 64 units maximum. Maximum of seven years from start date to complete the program.

CourseIDCourse DescriptionUnits

Writing: (28-36 units)

STW 601 The Storyteller as Cultural Leader


CRWR 510 Writing for Screen and Television


STW 610 Topics in Writing for the Market
  • Writing the One Hour Pilot
  • Writing the One Hour Spec
  • Writing the Half Hour Pilot
  • Writing the Half Hour Spec
  • Writing for Animation
  • Writing Sketch Comedy
  • Writing the Feature Film Screenplay
  • Writing the Documentary Script


Film: (12 units)

FILM 500

Film Theory


FILM 501

History of American Cinema


STW 602

Great Books and Film


Industry Internship: (2 units)

STW 695 A supervised internship.
Prerequisite: completion of 24 units in the program.


Thesis: (2-6 units)

STW 690 Students are required to register for the Master's Thesis Project in their final semester and to work with an advisor; this course must be repeated thereafter until completion of the Thesis Project. Thesis must be completed within seven years from the date of entering the program. Grade of C/NC; may be repeated for one credit each semester in subsequent years past year two if candidate has not completed thesis.
Prerequisite: completion of 24 units in the program.


GRST 699 Reading for Master's Thesis
By request of the Dean of Seaver College, graduate students who have completed all academic coursework must enroll in this course in order to maintain continuous enrollment as a full-time student.


Electives: (max 16 units)

ITAL 562 Italian Cinema and Culture


AAS/FILM 531 African-American Films


ASIA/FILM 565 Japanese and Asian Film


REL/FILM 551 Religion and Film


WMST/FILM 541 Women and Film


The MFA degree in Writing for Screen and Television will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of classes and approval of a Master's Thesis Project and portfolio which will contain:

  • Ten-page vocational statement with the writer's approach to this vocation, including:
    • A statement of values, purpose, and goals as a cultural leader.
    • An outline/roadmap to accomplish these goals.
  • Thesis Project
    • Screenwriting Emphasis: two full-length screenplays (each 110-120 pages)
    • Television Emphasis: two 60-minute teleplays and two 30 minute teleplays
    • Or any combination of the two emphases above (approx. 180-240 pages), with the approval of the Thesis Director. The Master's Thesis Project and portfolio will be overseen by a thesis committee which will include the Program Director, a faculty member from Creative Writing, and a faculty member from Film Studies. The approval of the Thesis Project Committee is necessary for the awarding of the degree.

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