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Writing for the Screen and Stage, M.F.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
University rank #31 (QS) , IL,
The Writing for the Screen and Stage program of Northwestern University is founded upon these five principles, principles that have also guided Northwestern's highly successful undergraduate Creative Writing for the Media Program.


The Writing for the Screen and Stage program of Northwestern University has six core courses, which introduce you to a set of “transportable” media writing concepts, as well as specific idioms/genres. You’ll build a significant portfolio — at least a short screenplay, play, TV episode, and full-length thesis project of your choosing. You’ll understand not just the art and craft of media writing, but also the business of media writing as we’ll practice pitching, taking meetings, writing query letters, and understanding contracts. You’ll choose from a range of topics courses, such as developing the pilot, writing the teen film, experimental adaptation, and interactive narrative. Along the way, you’ll meet artists and executives from TV, stage, film, and new media.

And when you finish, whether you pursue writing for Film, Stage, TV, or some emerging form that you help define, you’ll be eligible to join the Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance, an organization devoted to promoting the careers of recent grads. It’s becoming well known throughout the country: Northwestern fosters a profound sense of artistic community and professional camaraderie.

Career paths

The recent graduates have been staffed as writers on television shows such as Heroes Reborn, Late Night with Stephen Colbert, The Late Show with Seth Meyers, Major Crimes, and Murder in the First. They’ve also had plays produced at major venues such as The Second City, Victory Gardens Theatre, Steppenwolf, the Flea Theatre, and the National Playwrights Conference at The O’Neill Center and received honors and grants like the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work, the Princess Grace Award, and the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival Award. In addition, their plays have been published by Dramatic Publishing and Samuel French, their films have been accepted to festivals like Newfest: New York LGBT Film Festival, the Ashland Independent Film Festival, and the Rhode Island Film Festival, and they’ve been hired as professors at major universities such as Kenyon College, The University of Wisconsin, and the University of Mississippi.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Foundations of Writing for the Screen and Stage
  • Writing the Full-Length Play
  • Writing the TV episode
  • Topics in Media Writing
  • Writing the Production-Ready Short Film
  • Writing Romantic Comedy

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Credits
    60 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

    Schedule TOEFL®

General Requirements

  • Online application form
  • Writer’s Statement
  • Unofficial transcripts from all higher education institutions attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume / CV
  • A 10-page writing sample
  • A one-page Synopsis of a writing project
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (international students)

Tuition Fee

  • International

    50000 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 50000 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • National

    50000 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 50000 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • In-State

    50000 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 50000 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Evanston

  • 1100 - 1500 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.


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