We live in an increasingly visual society. The online master’s in screenwriting program at Southern New Hampshire University is an advanced exploration of the world of film and video, from shorts and episodic serials to feature-length blockbusters and documentaries. This English and creative writing degree is based on a comprehensive study of the visual medium of film, with a special focus on story structure, character development and creative writing. At the culmination of the degree program, you'll have developed your own screenplay, one that takes you deep into subjects that matter to you.
While an understanding and analysis of literature – whatever the genre – is at the core of this MA degree, the screenwriting concentration places a special emphasis on visual storytelling. Designed by experienced and distinguished faculty, this master’s in screenwriting program will give you a powerful understanding of how story, character, theme, action, visuals and dialogue intertwine to create a visual moment in time. Collaboration is encouraged, and direct interaction with faculty and peers pushes the imagination to new heights.
As a private, nonprofit university, SNHU has one mission – to help you see yourself succeed. The benefits of earning your master’s in English at SNHU include:
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our five graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options. Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application ($40 fee) and providing undergraduate transcripts.
Candidates must also submit a personal statement. Students with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 are eligible for provisional acceptance. Based on your educational background, some Master of Arts provisional students may be required to take SNHU 501 – Introduction to Graduate Studies – which will provide students with the scholarly tools to be successful in their Master of Arts program of study.
The visual arts (film, television and video) are as popular as ever, engaging audiences around the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the arts, entertainment and recreation industry is expected to grow 6 percent by 2026.* From scripts for news anchors to commercials, television and films, the work of professional screenwriters is essential. Whether you pursue an independent career and develop scripts on your own or write for specific projects, including rewriting and editing, the future is wide open for talented graduates of the master’s in screenwriting program at SNHU.
The curriculum for the screenwriting concentration exposes you to powerful examples of screenwriting and provides an outlet to experiment and refine your skills. Courses are taught by accomplished instructors, with deep insights into the industry.
Reading is an essential part of the writing process. To write an effective piece, an author must first read the essential creative works that have informed the genre and delivered on similar themes. In this course students will study the craft of creative writing in close detail. Understanding and identifying the core, foundational elements of quality storytelling, regardless of genre, is crucial to the advancement of a creative writer. In preparation for the development of their own creative works and techniques, students will analyze self-selected texts for their strategic use of the core storytelling elements, and determine whether or not the author was successful in delivering on his/her concept.
How do authors generate creative ideas? How do they know when to reveal certain information? Do the chapters flow naturally from the broader story concept, or should they be planned? What makes for a rich environment? These are the types of questions we will consider in this course. With these in mind, students will conceptualize a writing project of significant length. The focus will not be on the writing of actual scenes or chapters from this work, but on the drafting of plot arcs, detailed outlines, character sketches/development, world-building, and thematic development. The concepts developed in this course may indirectly or directly inform writing projects in future courses.
This course is an introduction to the following topics in English linguistics: history of English, etymology, vocabulary 'morphology', phonology, dictionaries, syntax, semantics, dialects, discourse analysis, and child language acquisition. The course is designed for students who want to learn about the English language as preparation for teaching, or becoming better writers, or for studying literature. Students will have the opportunity to research, write about, and present on a linguistic topic of individual interest, such as the language of advertising or propaganda.
This course is an introduction to the major schools of contemporary literary theory, and an examination of principal exponents of these theories. The student will become familiar with the most important features of psychoanalytic criticism, Marxism and feminism and examine the meaning of structuralism and post-structuralism. In addition, the course affords an opportunity to practice applying the theories to specific literary texts.
In this course, writers will learn the essential elements of screenwriting, including plot structure, character, scene, dialogue, and the craft of visual storytelling. Beginning with the mechanics of scripts for television and film and the process of script outline and written synopses ("treatments"), attention is then given to storytelling through script structure with a focus on feature-length film. Existing movie scripts and films will be examined as writers create and build on scenes and dialogue in preparation for the course's final project a short one-act screenplay.
This workshop-oriented course is designed for writers who seek to write a feature-length screenplay for their theses. Writers will share script treatments (plot summaries), outlines, and written script pages, and offer constructive feedback on other class members' scripts, as well as watch films, read scripts, and discuss screenplays. Through the writing and revision process, writers will submit final feature-length script treatments, outlines, and the first act of their feature-length screenplay theses.
In this course, writers will work on their screenplay theses through rewrites and group feedback, and offer constructive feedback on other class members' scripts. Focus at this stage will be given to examining character development, motivation, and subtext through visual storytelling, and in identifying plot inconsistencies and weaknesses. Writers will complete their feature-length screenplay theses.
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This course is designed to provide writers with an insight into pedagogical approaches to teaching. Students design and plan instruction that promotes improved literacy practices. By investigating and practicing a variety of writing exercises, processes, and approaches to improve writing skills, students will create a portfolio of ideas and options for teaching others.
This course is designed to provide students with practical, hands-on experience as online classroom facilitators. Through institutional support, each student will be paired with an undergraduate instructor to assist with the daily and weekly responsibilities that come with teaching. Students will learn directly from experienced professionals best practices toward identifying struggling students, fostering motivation and student engagement, determining appropriate feedback for various assignments, and grading towards established rubrics. In addition to their assistance in the undergraduate course, students in ENG 675 will be enrolled in this graduate course where they complete assignments and activities that support a variety of writing exercises, processes, and approaches to improve writing skills.
Select two from any graduate online LIT offerings
Select two of the following:
This course is designed to deepen writers' understanding and mastery of elements of poetry (including tone of voice; traditional, formal, and "informal" structure; imagery; meter and rhythm; and use of sound and diction) and to introduce major movements in English and American poetry. In addition to producing their own poems, writers will read poetry and also prose about poetry by major poets.
This course is designed to deepen writers' understanding and mastery of elements of fiction, including voice, point-of-view, theme, characterization, structure, reflexivity, symbolism, imagery, rhythm, and tone. Writers practice a variety of fiction writing, reading, and workshop skills. They also study major examples of the novel, novella, short story and representative critical texts.
In this course, writers study several genres of creative nonfiction, including reportage and memoir, personal essay and biography, travel writing and science writing, literary journalism, and biography. Writers explore and master structure and technique through critical reading of modern and contemporary sources in these subgenres and through writing workshops in which they revise their own work and comment on classmates' writing. In addition to becoming better critical readers, writers begin to develop their own unique writing voices.
This course provides students with the opportunity to explore storytelling through two of its most popular mediums: film and literature. Students will examine basic principles of storytelling; point of view, voice, rhythm, character and plot development, theme, symbols and how those principles are represented differently or correspondingly in each form. Students will be expected to use analytical skills to dissect stories and recreate their essence through a number of creative writing exercises. They will also be expected to read their peers' writing and use constructive criticism to provide supportive feedback.
What is place? How does it impact storytelling? In this course, students explore the concept of place as both an internal and external factor that influences writing. Students will examine the importance of the writer's identity, or place, and how it can shape the physical space and characters within a story. Students will be expected to represent elements of voice, tone, atmosphere, point of view, and time through creative writing exercises that emphasize descriptive environments. They will also be expected to read their peers' writing, and use constructive criticism to provide supportive feedback.
What does it take to be a good sci-fi writer? How does a writer become the next Tolkien? Beyond the scope of general genres - fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting - there are specific sub-genres to consider at the start of a novel and, in some cases, a career. In popular fiction, these genres tend to cycle through the bestsellers lists. In this course, students select a particular genre to explore in more depth, and apply that genre to their writing throughout the term. While crafting and critiquing these pieces with their peers, they develop their professional identity as authors of their genre, and research and apply methods that will help them market themselves as genre writers.
This is a seminar in the historical and contemporary development of literary cultures. Students will examine the driving influences of the literary market, looking at the history and evolvement of the publishing industry, book review, literary organizations, literary awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and others, and how these factors influence literary productions and careers. They will also examine the lives and the works of the most influential contemporary literary writers who have succeeded in the present culture. Additionally, students will prepare for current trends in publishing and learn how to submit their own work for publication.
Writing a story is only half the battle. What happens when the writer finishes the first draft and any subsequent revisions? When is the work finally ready for someone else's eyes? Should someone be reviewing every step in the process? With expanding opportunities in social media and self-publishing, the role of the editor may be shifting. Whether pursuing traditional publication or new media platforms, writers may be in need of editors now more than ever. In this class, we focus on the relationship between author and editor by placing students in the role of the editor. Students study the different responsibilities of each editor type - from developmental editors and proofreaders to acquisitions editors and copy editors - and where these play a part in the writing and publishing process. Students practically apply the multifaceted role of the editor and compile their feedback as the start of a professional portfolio.
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25 percent tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
*Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed Annually.
$40 Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies. More...