Screenwriting is traditionally offered either as a course throughout the film studies curriculum or also as a certificate program one can take in addition to the regular film studies program. However, many passionate writers interested in film want to take that education one step further, and for this reason many institutions are beginning to offer online screenwriting degree programs.
The difference between a screenwriting-focused program and a general film studies program lies in the creative writing. General programs touch lightly on the subject but mainly focus on film as a whole. A screenwriting degree involves a comprehensive study of creative writing from story structure to character development.
Students will be able to hone their writing skills and explore writing in different film genres. The programs also focus on different length and format of films from feature-length, television, mini-series, commercial, Internet-based and short-film productions.
While film tells stories through pictures, screenwriting puts those pictures to life through words in visual storytelling. This process will give students an understanding of how character, story, theme, action, and dialogue join together to create a visual image.
Courses covered in this degree include a general look at the humanities, English, Philosophy and History as would any humanities major. Once covering these core courses, students will then delve into creative writing, context of writing and publishing, and literary theory. Ultimately, most programs end in a workshop where students collaborate with faculty to put together a finished product to submit for critique. Upon completion students are encouraged to proceed to get a Master’s Degree in the field, or they can also earn a certificate in screenwriting in addition to the Bachelor’s Degree. The certificate programs normally allow for students to take these classes simultaneously if schedule permits. Most programs also offer internship opportunities, paid or unpaid, and career resources for students who successfully complete the program and wish to move on to a promising career in the screenwriting and film industry.
Southern New Hampshire University: http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/undergraduate-degrees/creative-writing-BA-online/screenwriting.asp