Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Digital Film - Screenwriting Degree

Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Screenwriting

Offered By: College of Arts and Media

Earn Your BA in Digital Film With an Emphasis in Screenwriting Degree Online

Films can be informative, entertaining or inspiring. They can reflect and become part of cultural ideals and values. You can pursue your passion for film and build the basis for a meaningful career with the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Screenwriting degree online or on campus from Grand Canyon University. Acquire the necessary industry knowledge and writing skills to pursue a career in pre-production. You will explore effective strategies in story development, learn how to create authentic dialogue and build characters that audiences can connect with.

The online screenwriting degree is offered by the College of Arts and Media at GCU. This robust curriculum covers genre-specific screenwriting techniques. You will explore the adaptation process for transferring a story from another medium into digital film. The BA in digital film screenwriting degree program also provides you with an in-depth understanding of the business side of film creation and the various movements within cinema throughout history. Additionally, you will explore aspects of film creation in the production stage, such as cinematography and directing.

Gain High-Demand Film Industry Skills and Knowledge With GCU's Screenwriting Degree Emphasis

The online screenwriting degree emphasis, offered both online and on campus, prepares you to excel in the arts and entertainment industry. Learn to become a student of human nature by transferring authentic experiences and genuine interactions to the written word. Immerse yourself in the world of professional filmmaking with courses such as:

  • Introduction to Cinema: History & Aesthetics
  • Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay
  • Creating Authentic Cinematic Conflict
  • Creating the Dramatic Television Series
  • Writing Meaningful Dialogue
  • Adapting Media to Screenplays

Senior screenwriting students demonstrate their knowledge, skills and creativity in the Screenwriting Capstone. The Screenwriting Capstone enables you to bring together what you have learned of character and place development, film structure, themes, conflict and expressive storytelling. Upon completion, graduates will have multiple, well-developed screenplays in their professional portfolio to enhance their career qualifications as they pursue their professional ambitions.

The bachelor's in screenwriting program emphasis integrates the Christian perspective and values into the curriculum. As a private Christian university, GCU encourages you to grow into a mindful servant leader who actively evaluates ethical dilemmas and searches for moral solutions.

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Estimated job growth expected for producers and directors from 2020 to 20301

Prepare for a Career in Digital Film and Screenwriting

In digital film creation, the role of the screenwriter is among the most important, since no film can be made unless there is a script for it. Screenwriters may be generalists or specialists. Some screenwriters choose to specialize in comedy, science fiction, drama or horror movies. Others specialize in adapting writing from other forms, such as novels, into screenplays. Some of the specific jobs that may be related to this degree include the following:

  • Film and video editor
  • Postsecondary art, drama and music teacher
  • Producers and directors
  • Camera operators, television, video and film

Professional screenwriters may find work in a variety of settings. These may include corporate film production companies, digital design agencies, advertising agencies, television studios and publishing houses.

BA in Digital Film and Screenwriting Degree Emphasis FAQs

Yes. A screenwriting degree not only helps you in the film industry, but it can also aid in your postgraduate job hunt. As of September 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates job growth for producers and directors to increase by about 24% from 2020 to 2030, faster than average, accounting for an estimated increase of 31,600 jobs in the field.1

No. GCU’s in person and online screenwriting degree program is more interested in your “voice” and looks for creative writers who can spin a story. To increase your chances of being accepted into the program, students should have basic knowledge in plot structure, dialogue, language and writing skills, creativity to generate original ideas, and confidence in your work.

No. A writing portfolio is not necessary to apply to the BA in screenwriting degree program, but it will help you stand out. An established portfolio documenting your skills allows you to enter the program with a bit of experience and understanding.

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, the data shown is based on September 2021, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Producers and Directors, retrieved in June 2022.

Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks [More Info]

Online: 7 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]
Online: $485 per credit [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
60 credits
Open Elective Credits:
20-26 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University’s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.


Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
  • COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • INT-244, World Religions: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course covers multiple eras and movements throughout the age of film.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the technical and aesthetic aspects of small format digital production as well as the basic principles of motion picture production. Students learn the language of film/digital video and how its manipulation can express one’s individual message or purpose.

Course Description

This introductory course helps digital film production students to develop skills and gain experience in acting and directing for the camera. Students participate on both sides of the camera. Course sessions include lecture, practical exercises, and preparation for analyzing and blocking a scene and working on a set. Students screen selected film clips to evaluate performances, explore methods to prepare for an audition, discuss the actor/director relationship, and examine the professional requirements of relating to a crew.

Course Description

Students in this writing intensive course learn storytelling for the screen through a managed regimen of in-class and out-of-class experiences that emphasize the essential mix of imagination and craft in writing. They hone their skills in observation, communication, and visualization, and receive instruction on structure for screenwriting and how to employ written language to articulate dramatic and visual expression.

Course Description

This course focuses on the elements that make up almost all storytelling. Students are encouraged to discover and develop their unique voices as writers and storytellers, while understanding the critical importance of working as part of a creative team. This course emphasizes the use of traditional storytelling, classic mythology, and the ways in which these devices apply to contemporary media.

Course Description

One of the greatest challenges for screenwriters is to create dynamic, believable characters. In this course, students will reflect on the role of character and the relationship between strong characters and a strong screenplay. Prerequisite: DFP-221.

Course Description

Understanding genre conventions and tropes is critical to a screenwriter’s success. This course combines script analysis with the practice of writing short scripts for a variety of genres. Prerequisite: DFP-221.

Course Description

This course utilizes techniques of directing, sound editing, lighting, and advanced editing programs. Several practical and written exercises lead to a short digital production. Students spend time working with actors in front of the camera as well as composing shots to convey a story visually. Prerequisites: DFP-111 and DFP-221.

Course Description

This course will prepare the College of Fine Arts and Production student for professional success in their chosen field. Students will research their industry, gaining critical knowledge and learning the business practices needed for post-graduation success.

Course Description

Poorly written dialogue can remove a character’s authenticity and diminish the audience’s suspension of disbelief. This course explores what constitutes great dialogue and delves into techniques that allow writers to incorporate powerful subtext, craft honest and emotionally impactful dialogue, and integrate exposition seamlessly. Prerequisite: DFP-235.

Course Description

Students in this writing intensive course study, analyze, and implement advanced techniques in creating cinema screenplays. This course emphasizes the use of traditional storytelling and classic mythology, and how these devices apply to contemporary screenplays. Prerequisite: DFP-221.

Course Description

Students learn to adapt various forms of media to screenplays. Prerequisite: DFP-221.

Course Description

Maintaining interest while the story unfolds is an important task for the screenwriter. This course delves deeply into screenplay structure, analyzing dramatic strategies employed by successful screenwriters. Students will engage in various stages of the screenwriting process. Prerequisite: DFP-221.

Course Description

In this course, students will learn the entire process of creating a dramatic television series. Students learn the skills of developing ideas, researching the marketplace, creating character bios, writing pilots, and pitching. Prerequisite: DFP-221.

Course Description

Students participate in individually writing a full-length feature film. They also explore all aspects of structure, character, settings, theme, obstacle, and expressive writing storytelling. Prerequisites: DFP-457 and DFP-463.


GCU Campus Student

Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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