MA in Screenwriting

APU’s M.A. in Screenwriting program prepares writers with literary talent and strong motivation to tell substantive stories that point audiences toward truth and beauty, while exploring the dialogue between faith and cinematic arts.

The Master of Arts in Screenwriting prepares writers with literary talent and strong motivation to tell substantive stories that point audiences toward truth and beauty, while exploring the dialogue between faith and cinematic arts. Faculty are entertainment industry veterans who are passionate about mentoring students as they hone their craft. And with close proximity to Hollywood, students benefit from collaborative opportunities to learn from visiting professionals.

The MA in Screenwriting program is offered in a low-residency format that supports working professionals. It is the only graduate screenwriting program offered among Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) member schools on the West Coast.

Program Highlights

  • A low-residency format enables students to complete their master’s degree during three summer terms and online courses during the fall and spring terms.
  • Multiple entry points so students can select the ideal time to start their graduate education journey.
  • Highly collaborative relationships with professor-mentors who encourage writers to hone their craft through critique and individual instruction.
  • A learning environment located less than 25 miles from Hollywood, the entertainment capital of the world.

Department Policies

Students enrolled in SCW 519 Directing for Screenwriters and SCW 615 Web Series Development and Production must follow guidelines expressed in the APU Cinematic Arts Production Bible. Prior to production, the department’s safety and risk management coordinator must vet and approve student projects. In addition, students must sign required legal, safety, insurance, permissions, permitting, and equipment release agreements; failure to follow guidelines contained within these documents, as well as all policies outlined in the Production Bible, will have consequences varying from loss of equipment privileges to reduction of the project grade to academic disciplinary action.

Advanced Standing

  • Master of Arts in Screenwriting students may petition for up to 6 units of Advanced Standing from upper-division undergraduate work in cinematic arts, communication studies, or theater arts.
  • The number of core courses that may be replaced by Advanced Standing is limited to two.
  • Courses in which a grade of B- or lower was earned may not be used for Advanced Standing.
  • Undergraduate work must be from a regionally accredited college or university.


Required Courses
SCW 501Cinematic Arts and Culture3
SCW 519Directing for Screenwriters3
SCW 520Script Analysis for Screenplays and Teleplays3
SCW 575Screenwriting: Story and Character3
SCW 595Entertainment Production3
SCW 615Web Series Development and Production3
SCW 611Adaptation for Film and Television3
SCW 685Writing the Feature Screenplay3
SCW 699Screenplay/Teleplay Portfolio Workshop3
Select one of the following:3
Writing the Drama Pilot
Writing the Comedy Pilot
Total Units30


University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Admission to the University). Program-specific application requirements are available online.

International students should contact Graduate and Professional Admissions for application procedures.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. Understand and practice the art of cinematic storytelling
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in the aesthetic, practical, and technical aspects of writing, production, or criticism
  3. Articulate, critique, and apply the historic, social, and theoretical contexts of the cinematic arts
  4. Implement the protocol, vocabulary, and work ethic necessary for professional careers
  5. Serve as a member of a creative team in leadership and servanthood roles to meet project goals
  6. Integrate an understanding of Christian faith through critical, creative, and collaborative endeavors