Dramatic Writing

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Graduate programs

Master of Fine Arts, Dramatic Writing

Cristina Pippa, Program Director
Craig Hall, room 376
Phone: (417) 836-3266

Program description

Advanced study in Dramatic Writing for film, television, web, and the stage. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a wide variety of professional writing outlets. While completing the program, students will not only learn crucial story skills and writing tools, but also become comfortable expressing their unique voices within the screenwriting and playwriting formats. They will create a strong and diverse portfolio across a variety of media. In addition to learning the craft of writing, students will focus on how to create material designed for independent production.

To complement this education, the curriculum also focuses on teaching skills that will empower writers to bring their own dramatic work to life. Students will gain fundamental skills of film and theatre producing, as well as above-the-line video production skills. They will also have opportunities for expanding their knowledge through either academic study, hands-on-experience, or a mixture of both. This program ultimately aims to empower future writers by teaching them not only the craft of writing, but also the professional expectations of the industry. Students will gain hands-on experience in a variety of contexts in order to prepare for professional writing opportunities in the future.

Admission requirements

Admission requires approval of a departmental entrance committee, who will examine the applicant’s potential for program success. Our goal is to create a well-balanced cohort of students.

Admission to the program is based on the following:

  1. A completed Missouri State University Graduate Application in the GradCAS admission system. All university-wide requirements for graduate study must be met.
  2. The following supplementary material:
    • A Writing Sample (maximum 10 pages) of the applicant’s best work. This may be in either screenplay format, stage play format, or prose;
    • A 300- to 800-word Statement of Purpose, describing the reasons and goals behind the applicant’s interest in graduate study and the direction of intended research;
    • At least one Letter of Recommendation from an individual able to speak of the applicant’s academic achievements and potential;
    • The name, title, and contact information of at least two other References (either academic or professional) willing to support the applicant’s candidacy.

All matters relating to admission are the applicant's responsibility.

Accelerated Master's Degree option

Eligible undergraduates may apply for early admission to the Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing during the second semester of their junior year. Once accepted for early admission, students may take up to 12 credit hours at the 600-700 level that apply to both their undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Before enrolling in courses to be counted for both undergraduate and graduate credit, an undergraduate student must be accepted into the accelerated master’s program AND receive prior approval from the Director of Graduate Studies, the Department Head, and the Dean of the Graduate College (on a Mixed Credit Form).

Admission requirements for the Accelerated Master’s option

  1. The applicant must be of junior or senior standing with a cumulative GPA of 3.25.
  2. The applicant must have declared a minor in Screenwriting or declared to add a certificate in Writing for Television and Film. The applicant must also have completed 6 hours of screenwriting or playwriting courses.
  3. The applicant must submit two letters of recommendation, one of which must be written by a graduate faculty member in the Department of Communication, Media, Journalism & Film.
  4. The applicant must submit a 300-800 word Statement of Purpose. This statement should address the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in pursuing the MFA in Dramatic Writing at Missouri State University?
    • How does your experience (educational and otherwise) prepare you for accelerated graduate study?
    • What professional goals do you hope this degree will help you achieve?
  5. The applicant must submit a writing sample from a play or screenplay (5-10 pages in standard formatting).

Admission decisions will be made by the Graduate Faculty. Meeting the above entrance requirements does not guarantee admission to the Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing Accelerated Program.

Degree requirements (minimum of 60 hours)

A minimum of 60 hours of coursework is required.

Writing core courses (30 hours)
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
MED 610 Playwriting 3 hrs
MED 711 Fundamentals of Screenwriting 3 hrs
MED 712 Feature Film Writing 3 hrs
MED 713 Feature Film Writing II 3 hrs
MED 714  Writing Episodic Television 3 hrs
MED 715 Rewriting 3 hrs
MED 716 Writing Episodic Pilots 3 hrs
MED 717 Portfolio Script I 3 hrs
MED 718 Portfolio Script II 3 hrs
MED 719 Portfolio Review 3 hrs

Producing core courses (9 hours)

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
MED 684 Producing the Feature Film 3 hrs
MED 762 TV/Film Producing and Marketing 3 hrs
MED 766 Pre-Production Practicum for Stage and Screen 3 hrs

Production Core Courses (9 hours)

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
MED 764 Visual Storytelling 3 hrs
MED 765 Directing for Film and Stage 3 hrs
MED 767 Staged Production 3 hrs

Electives (12 hours)

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
  Choose 12 hours from the following:  
  History and Theory Electives  
MED 670 Film Theory 3 hrs
MED 674 History of Film 3 hrs
MED 675 History of Film II 3 hrs
MED 704 Theory & Research in Mass Communication 3 hrs
THE 742 Dramatic Theory and Critisism 3 hrs
  Industry/Professional Electives  
MED 695 Media Internship 1-6 hrs
MED 697 Advanced Studies in Media 1-6 hrs
  Producing Electives  
MED 781 Producing the Short Film 1-6 hrs
MED 782 Producing the Web Series 1-6 hrs
MED 783 Producing the Mutlicam Show 1-6 hrs
MED 784 Producing the Documentary 1-6 hrs
MED 785 Producing the Longform Narrative 1-6 hrs
MED 786 Producing the Stage Play 1-6 hrs
  Production Electives  
MED 662 Digital Filmmaking Capstone 3 hrs
MED 683 Advanced Television Production 3 hrs
MED 792 Independent Study in Media 1-6 hrs
MED 793 Practicum in Producing and Production 1-6 hrs
  Special Topics Electives  
MED 600 Special Topics in Media 1-3 hrs
MED 690 Special Topics in Film 3 hrs
  Theatre Electives  
THE 611 Scripting and Performing 3 hrs
THE 710 Seminar: Performance

3 hrs

THE 794 Theatre Practicum 3 hrs
THE 797 Topics 1-3
  Writing Electives  
MED 663 Writing Adaptations 3 hrs
MED 664 Genre Writing 3 hrs
MED 667 Intermediate Screenwriting 3 hrs
MED 668 Writing for Television 3 hrs
MED 669 Rewriting Film and Television Scripts 3 hrs
MED 671 Writing the Web Series 3 hrs
MED 672 Advanced Screenwriting 3 hrs
MED 794 Practicum in Playwriting 1-6 hrs
Additional degree requirements
  1. A student’s Program of Study is subject to the approval of the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the program faculty.
  2. A probationary review will be conducted by the program faculty after the student completes MED 715 (usually the third semester) to evaluate the student’s overall body of work. A less than satisfactory review could result in dismissal or additional coursework with a follow up review to assess progress.
  3. All students will develop a Final Portfolio of their work, which the supervisory committee will review. These portfolios, developed in the final semester of graduate study in MED 719, must have:
    1. Multiple well-polished scripts across a diverse range of media (film, TV, web, stage); these works should highlight the student’s strengths and be geared toward the current professional marketplace.
    2. A clearly written overview of these projects.
    3. A successful oral defense of the portfolio before the supervisory committee.