Degree Level:
Master of Fine Arts

Stephens is an institution on a mission: to increase the impact of women and other under-represented voices in television and film.

You have stories to tell. We’re here to make it happen. Learn from some of the best working writers in the industry. Four 10-day workshops in Hollywood + online courses = your two-year M.F.A.


Why Stephens?

Our program — with its bold, daring mission — has drawn the attention and the support of some of the most successful and well-known writers in Hollywood. Our faculty and mentors include some of the best working writers in the profession, and our curriculum includes an in-depth look at the business side of TV and screenwriting.

  • Our community of professors and professional working writers are available to help you develop your vision, your voice and your career. And they’ll do it on your schedule, on your time and between all the other demands of your busy life.
  • Learning the craft of writing is essential, but so is learning the business of selling what you write. We will provide you with access to prominent showrunners, writers from the film world, development executives, agents and managers.
  • Our graduates have a remarkable record of success, having written on shows such as "Ramy," "13 Reasons Why," "Seal Team" and Lena Dunham’s "Generations" on HBOMax. See more alumni accomplishments >


Featured Panel Discussion

Executive Director Dr. Rosanne Welch moderated this panel of female television writers discussing creating real teens for today's audiences. Panelists include Rheeqrheeq Chainey ("The Baby Sitters Club"), Sonia Kharkar ("On My Block," "Never Have I Ever"), Ilana Peña (Creator, "Diary of a Future President") and Christina Nieves ("Generation"), an alumna of the Stephens College M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting.

My Stephens M.F.A. made me a better artist-scholar. Its mission for radical inclusivity inspired my stories and shaped my teaching. I am more deeply committed to telling untold stories than ever. I received several job offers and promotion upon graduation. The emphasis on cutting-edge learning techniques has also shaped my teaching. This program took me to the next level in my career, and I’m not done yet.

Laura Kirk ’17

Faculty + Mentors

  • Our faculty and mentors include Writers Guild Award and Oscar and Emmy winners, showrunners, writer-producers from hit one-hour dramas and half-hour shows, and working writers with extensive teaching backgrounds.
  • Between residencies, you’ll work online with at least four different mentors.

Meet the M.F.A. faculty + mentors >


Program Structure

The Stephens College M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting is the first low-residency program of its kind in the country and is the first to focus on the mission of bringing more female writers into mainstream Hollywood, and studying film with a female gaze.

Our students come to Los Angeles twice a year for 10-day workshops at the beautiful Jim Henson Studio. Between workshops, students work one-on-one online with at least four different mentors over two years.

2020-2021 Workshops

First-year Students:

  • July 31-Aug. 9, 2020
  • Jan. 1-10, 2021

Second-year Students:

  • Aug. 7-16, 2020
  • Jan. 8-17, 2021

During our two workshops for second-year students, we invite panels of managers, agents, directors and producers for students to pitch to. Every workshop, students get the opportunity to connect with people who can advance their careers.

In our industry, there are no set pathways to success. But among the many ways to move forward, we help our students in every way possible.



  • In your first year, you will write a full-length screenplay, a one-hour spec drama, and an original one-hour pilot, and take a history of screenwriting course.
  • In your second year, you’ll write a second screenplay with a new mentor and complete a thesis project. The thesis project allows students to choose their own adventure. Students have written original comedy pilots, limited series, web series and short films.
  • Throughout the two years, you’ll take Dr. Rosanne Welch’s History of Screenwriting courses. Students do selected readings and view films each week, and post online responses to the material. At the end of each semester, students submit a profile of a screenwriter. 22 profiles written by M.F.A. students were compiled it into the book When Women Wrote Hollywood, published by McFarlane Press in 2017.

Explore the M.F.A. Curriculum >

Beyond acclimating me to the business of film writing and improving my scriptwriting in general, the program has helped me know how to network, jump on opportunities, and search out others in film.

Kelley Zinge ’17

Program Publications

Program Director Dr. Rosanne Welch at Skylark Books in Columbia, Missouri

When Women Wrote Hollywood: an award-winning book by the M.F.A. Class of 2017

The inaugural class of the Stephens M.F.A. in TV and Screenwriting collaborated on a collection of essays about the lives of female screenwriters from the Golden Age of Hollywood. These writers helped create unforgettable stories and characters beloved by generations of audiences, but their names have been left out of most film histories. Chapters trace the careers of such writers as Anita Loos, Adela Rogers St. Johns and Lillian Hellman, and explore themes of their writing in classics like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Ben-Hur and It’s a Wonderful Life. Along with bringing more female voices and women-focused stories into mainstream films and television, the Stephens M.F.A. students’ mission is to bring more recognition to the women who came before them. Edited by M.F.A. program director Dr. Rosanne Welch and published in 2018, the book was named runner-up for the Susan Koppelman Award honoring the best anthology, multi-authored, or edited book in feminist studies by the Popular Culture Association.

Read a review by the Columbia Daily Tribune: "Righting History: Book by Stephens students elevates women screenwriters."

I already miss our workshops in L.A. Attending Stephens College was a wonderful experience in my life and I'll miss everyone very much.

- Antonio Zarro, MFA Class of 2020, Assistant Dean, Palm Beach Atlantic University


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Ready to apply? We can’t wait to hear YOUR story.

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