School of Communication

MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage

The MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage is an interdisciplinary degree founded upon principles of art, craft, business, vision and community and concentrating on playwriting, screenwriting, and television writing. It is specifically designed to provide writers with a diverse array of tools to apply to their work in screen, stage, television, and experimental media. Over the course of the two-year program, the 12 selected members of each incoming class learn, work and grow together to form a close-knit artistic community exploring the art, craft, and business of playwriting, screenwriting and television writing.

After completing this MFA, you will possess:

  • A full portfolio of diverse work
  • Business acumen for navigating in the professional world of writing
  • A network of new colleagues, including the program’s working faculty and visiting artists featuring leading voices and rising stars in writing, such as Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report) John Logan (The Aviator), Greg Berlanti (Everwood), Rebecca Gilman (Spinning Into Butter)—as well as media executives, agents, and producers
  • In addition to incisive coursework, Northwestern offers the professional writer other remarkable opportunities.

During this two-year program you'll have access to:

  • A $5000 grant to help bring to life your play, screenplay, or teleplay
  • First-class technical facilities and a black-box studio in which to film or stage works
  • The opportunity to see professional actors perform your work
  • Internships in Los Angeles, New York, or Chicago to give you on-the-job understanding of the industry
  • Entrée to the Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance, a recognized media force devoted to promoting the careers of recent Northwestern graduates

Northwestern’s commitment to cross-departmental interaction and collaboration among faculty and students creates fertile ground for inspiration and expression. Many of our programs, such as the PhD in Screen Cultures and Program in Sound Design break down boundaries and allow unfettered exploration for graduate students.

Our school gives birth to some of the country's most exciting new theatre, such as the work emerging from our American Music Theatre Project and the remarkable productions that are Amanda Dehnert's Verona Project and Mary Zimmerman's Eleven Rooms of Proust.

Visit the program web site at