Professional writers increasingly work in multiple modes of expression. In the playwriting and screenwriting BA program at Purchase College, students learn to write for both the stage and the screen through studies that engage with these disciplines at the introductory through advanced level. After the foundation courses, writers can choose to continue to study both playwriting and screenwriting or to focus exclusively on one craft.

The curriculum helps students develop a sophisticated eye and gain a deeper understanding of the art and craft involved in making theatre and film. Being at Purchase means a professional approach—working alongside talented film and theatre majors, actors, theatre designers, musicians, visual artists, and dancers in a world-renowned artistic community few other schools can provide. The college’s proximity to New York City provides a distinct advantage: students are taught by industry professionals and have access to all the culture and excitement the city has to offer, and to theatre, film, and television production facilities for their studies and internships. The affordability of Purchase is vital to the economic freedom needed in pursuing a career as a dramatic writer.

The program includes required and elective courses in playwriting and screenwriting; theatre and film history; writing for television, new media, and documentaries; and directing for both stage and screen. Because playwriting and screenwriting are performance arts, students are encouraged to present their work to an audience as much as possible. In their final year, students work with a faculty mentor to develop a substantial senior project: a full-length play, feature-length screenplay, teleplay, or documentary script. Other courses provide the student with portfolio materials in the form of writing samples, both on the page and short works on the screen.

This BA program also provides a solid foundation in the liberal arts, with majors required to complete a minor in a non-theater/film related field of study. This still leaves plenty of room for students to explore other interests, including study abroad programs—all of which enriches their sensibilities as dramatic writers.

The program also offers a minor in playwriting and a minor in screenwriting, open to students in all disciplines.

Note for Transfer Students

Students interested in transferring from another school into this BA program and earning the degree in four semesters (entering as a junior) should be aware that they must have already taken:

  • introductory screenwriting
  • introductory playwriting
  • at least one semester of either theatre or cinema history (recommended)

Junior transfers must register for PSW 2000 and 2010 in their first semester.


In addition to meeting  General Education requirements and other degree requirements, all playwriting and screenwriting majors must meet the following requirements (74 credits):

Foundation courses: 23 credits

  • PSW 1000/Playwriting I: 4 credits*
  • PSW 1010/Screenwriting I: 4 credits*
  • CIN 1030/History of Film Art: 4 credits
  • PSW 2000/Screenwriting II: 4 credits
  • PSW 2010/Playwriting II: 4 credits
  • THP 2885/Theatre Histories I or THP 2890/Theatre Histories II: 3 credits

*Students must earn a minimum grade of C- in PSW 1000 and PSW 1010 in order to continue in the sequence to PSW 2000 and PSW 2010, respectively.

Electives: 17 credits**

Students choose their electives in consultation with their faculty advisor. At least 10 of the 17 credits must be upper level. Courses in the list of examples are subject to change, and new courses may be added.

**A minimum grade of C- is required for any elective pre-requisites.

Synthesis courses: 14 credits

  • PSW 3880/Junior Seminar: 4 credits***
  • PSW 4880/Senior Colloquium in Playwriting and Screenwriting: 2 credits
  • SPJ 4990/Senior Project I: 4 credits
  • SPJ 4991/Senior Project II: 4 credits

***A minimum grade of C- is required in the Junior Seminar as pre-requisite for the Senior Project.

Minor Requirements: 20 Credits

Students must complete a minor in an approved area of study in Liberal Arts and Sciences, after consultation and approval from their advisor. Excluded from the list of approved minors are: Arts Management, Film/Video Production, Music, Theatre and Performance, Television and Theory Practice, Creative Writing, Communications and Visual Arts, Journalism.

For students declaring an additional major in one of the approved fields, the minor requirement is waived. In certain circumstances students may be approved to take an alternate course of study in lieu of the minor, in consultation with their advisor. 

Playwriting and Screenwriting Double Majors

All Playwriting and Screenwriting double majors are required to take Junior Seminar in either playwriting or screenwriting.  However, if a double major’s senior project is focused only in their second area of study (not Playwriting and Screenwriting), the Playwriting and Screenwriting Senior Project and Senior Colloquium are not required. 

Minor requirements:

 The college also offers separate Minors in Playwriting and Screenwriting.


  • Lecturer of Playwriting
    • BFA, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
    • MFA, Hunter College, City University of New York

  • Associate Professor of Practice in Screenwriting

    BFA, Purchase College, SUNY

  • Lecturer of Playwriting

    BFA, MFA, New York University

  • Lecturer of Playwriting
    • BA, Yale University
    • MA, New York University
    • MFA, Brooklyn College
  • Lecturer of Screenwriting

    BFA, Purchase College, SUNY

  • Lecturer, Screenwriting
    • BA, Purchase College
    • MFA, Columbia University
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Screenwriting

    BFA, Purchase College, SUNY

  • Lecturer, Playwriting
    • BA, University of California at Santa Barbara
    • MFA, Actor’s Studio Drama School
  • Lecturer, Screenwriting

    BA, University of California Santa Barbara

  • Lecturer of Screenwriting

    BA, University of California, Santa Barbara

  • Assistant Professor of Playwriting
    • BA, Seattle University
    • MFA, Bennington College
  • Assistant Professor of Screenwriting

    MFA, University of Texas, Austin

  • Lecturer of Theatre and Performance
    Director of New Plays Now

    BS, New York University 

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Screenwriting and Film

    BA, Purchase College, SUNY

  • Lecturer, Playwriting
    • BA, Princeton  College
    • MFA, Hunter College
  • Lecturer of Screenwriting
    • BA, Tufts University
    • BFA, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
    • MFA, Bard College
  • Lecturer of Screenwriting

    BA, Weslyan University 

  • Assistant Professor of Playwriting
    • BA, Goddard College
    • MFA, University of Southern California
  • Lecturer of Screenwriting

    BA, Purchase College, SUNY

  • Lecturer of Screenwriting

    BFA, Purchase College, SUNY

  • Lecturer of Playwriting

    MFA, National University of Theatre and Film, Bucharest

  • Lecturer of Screenwriting

    BFA, Purchase College, SUNY

  • Associate Professor of Screenwriting
    • BA, City College of New York
    • MFA, Yale School of Drama
  • Lecturer of Playwriting
    • BA: Brown University
    • MSt: New College, University of Oxford
    • MFA: Hunter College
  • Lecturer of Playwriting
    • BA, Emerson College
    • MFA, Brown University 
  • Lecturer of Playwriting and Screenwriting
  • Lecturer of Playwriting
    • BA, Nanjing University
    • MFA, Columbia University

Contributing Faculty

  • Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance
    • BA, Harvard University
    • MFA, New York University