Should You Earn a Screenwriting Degree?

Screenwriting student working on homework

Have you ever gazed upon a TV screen and felt moved by a story? Have you ever been inspired by a character in film or television? Or perhaps had a movie or show change your day for the better?

It may have been a tear-jerking romance, an adrenaline-pumping thriller, or an uplifting comedy. Regardless of the genre, films have extraordinary power. Screenwriting professionals create scripts that are brought to life in movies and on TV screens and touch the hearts of people all over the world.

5 Reasons to Earn a Screenwriting Degree

If you are considering screenwriting programs and are wondering if a screenwriting degree is worthwhile, consider these five reasons to earn your screenwriting degree:

1. Screenwriting Experience

As in any art form, practice and experience are of extreme importance in screenwriting. Experience can help you develop from a good writer to a great one. In a screenwriting program, students can improve their writing skills to the high level expected of screenwriters. Graduates of such programs know the techniques to use to create the best final product.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that a bachelor’s degree is the typical entry-level education for writers and authors, including screenwriters.1 A BA degree will help put you on the path to success as a writer and is valued by employers as a symbol of your experience and learning.

2. Opportunities in Screenwriting Jobs

Many jobs are available to graduates of a digital film program with an emphasis in screenwriting in addition to becoming a traditional screenwriter.

Here are some screenwriting job opportunities for graduates:

  • Corporate video writer
  • Documentary writer
  • Film critic
  • Game scriptwriter
  • Script supervisor
  • Story editor
  • Studio script reviewer

3. Screenwriting Skills and Knowledge

A screenwriting degree drives students to acquire new knowledge and screenwriting skills that will help them attain their career goals. Not only do these skills set up graduates for success after college but they are also influential in helping students discover their writing styles and learn to create effective scripts.

Here are some courses that students might take while earning a screenwriting degree:

  • Introduction to Cinema: History & Aesthetics
  • Digital Video Production
  • Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay
  • Writing the Genre Film
  • Professional Success Within the Fine Arts
  • Writing Meaningful Dialogue
  • Adapting Media to Screenplays
  • Creating Authentic Cinematic Conflict

A digital film and screenwriting degree strengthens skills including:

  • Creativity: In any artistic field, it is important to be creative when developing original work. The courses in this program will allow you to practice your creativity through projects and writing.
  • Collaboration: Screenwriting may not always be a solo task. You may have to work with producers, authors and others. Thus, knowing how to collaborate is important and earning your degree can help you learn to collaborate with others effectively.
  • Character Development: To create an interesting movie or TV show, there must be strong, likable characters. The courses in a digital film with an emphasis in screenwriting degree will help aspiring screenwriters create characters with the potential to succeed on-screen.
  • Creating Conflict and Drama: In general, creating conflict and drama is to be avoided. However, in writing, creating conflict and drama helps make a movie or show interesting and appealing.
  • Cinema and Film Understanding: If you want to enter the world of screenwriting, it is important to understand cinema and film. Fortunately, a digital film degree with an emphasis in screenwriting offers courses to give students a fundamental understanding of film.

4. Connection and Mentorship

Another significant benefit of earning a screenwriting degree is the connection with peers and mentorship from professors. Not only can you form friendships with these people, but you can also learn from their writing, experiences and goals.

The professors in a screenwriting degree program are experienced in their fields and can guide students in discovering their screenwriting strengths. These professionals also know what it takes to be successful in the industry and can share their real-life experiences with students.

These mentors and peers may also serve as references or connections as you enter the film world.

5. Campus or Online Screenwriting Degree Options

One perk of a screenwriting degree is that there are multiple ways for you to earn your degree, including online, campus and evening classes.

  • Online: If you are a busy individual with a full-time job or you want to study from the comfort of your home, an online screenwriting degree could be a suitable option for you.
  • Campus: On the other hand, if you would like to earn your degree in a community setting, you can choose a campus degree. A campus setting allows students to interact and connect. It also provides other opportunities that may interest screenwriting students, such as clubs.
  • Evening: If you want both flexibility and to interact with other students, an evening degree can provide you with a combination of both. Evening classes meet less often than typical in-person classes but still offer interaction and connection with other students and mentors.

If you are interested in the film industry and screenwriting, Grand Canyon University’s BA in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Screenwriting could be perfect for you. To learn about our other arts and media degree programs, click on the Request Info button at the top of the screen.

1Retrieved from U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Writers and Authors in July 2021

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.