Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Screenwriting

Offered By: College of Fine Arts and Production

Earn Your Bachelor of Arts 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 from Grand Canyon University. Acquire the necessary industry knowledge and writing skills to pursue a career in pre-production. Students explore effective strategies in story development, learn how to create authentic dialogue and build characters that audiences can connect with.

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

Explore the Curriculum for the Digital Film and Screenwriting BA Degree

The digital film screenwriting bachelor of arts degree, offered both online and on campus, prepares students 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
  • Acting for the Camera
  • 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 students to bring together what they 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 BA in screenwriting for digital film integrates the Christian perspective and values into the curriculum. As a private, Christian university, GCU encourages students to grow into mindful servant leaders who actively evaluate ethical dilemmas and search for moral solutions.

Prepare for a Future 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:

  • Documentary writer
  • Studio script reader/reviewer
  • Corporate video writer
  • Gaming script writer
  • Film critic
  • Story editor
  • Script Supervisor

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.

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Total Program Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
Online: 7 weeks [More Info]
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]
Online: $470 per credit [More Info]

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. For information about specific course content, credit length and VA approval in your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
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.

Program 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.

Program Locations


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. New modern classrooms, suite-style residence halls, popular dining options, resort-style swimming pools and a focus on creating a dynamic student life make GCU a top choice for high school graduates and transfer students. Exciting events, well-known guest speakers and Division I athletics round out the traditional student experience. Our welcoming campus community is the perfect place to find your purpose.


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 offers the most experienced leadership in delivering online degree programs. Full-time faculty members and fully trained adjunct instructors, equipped with strong academic backgrounds and practical experience in their fields, support you every step of the way. Designed with the career-oriented professional in mind, our online classes provide an intimate environment that stimulates engaging and challenging discussions. Choose from programs across our distinct colleges, in high-demand employment areas. Classes begin frequently.


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. Night classes are designed for a specific number of students, providing a warm and nurturing environment that supports an engaging experience. In an evening cohort, you will progress through your degree program with the same career-minded classmates, providing an opportunity to network and forge relationships that go beyond the classroom. Classes begin frequently at various locations, including our main campus.

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

Program Domains

* The Department of Education defines how an institution must calculate a program's On-Time Completion rate for federal disclosure purposes. The On-Time Completion rate is based on a program's published required number of months to complete all degree requirements as provided in the institution's catalog. Completion statistics are updated every January and are based on the cohort of students who started the program in the same year and then graduated within the published program length.

Online and Evening program disclosures (48 months) On-campus program disclosures (48 months)

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.