About the Program
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 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.
Effective Fall 2018
Playwriting/Screenwriting majors must complete either a second liberal arts major or minor. The list of approved majors/minors is as follows: Anthropology, Art History, Asian Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, French, Gender Studies, Global Black Studies, History, Italian, Jewish Studies, Latin American Studies, Linguistics, Literature, Math/Computer Science, Philosophy, Philosophy and Art, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology or Spanish. This excludes certain majors/minors which students are still encouraged to pursue but they will not fulfill the requirement. Excluded majors/minors are: Arts Management, Film/Video Production, Music, Theater and Performance, Creative Writing and Visual Arts. If a student wishes to pursue liberal arts study in a field which does not offer a minor, a 5 course concentration with two upper level electives (minimum of 18 credits including a minimum of 6 upper-level credits) can be substituted in consultation with their advisor.
Playwriting/Screenwriting Double Majors
P laywriting/Screenwriting double majors are required to take Junior Seminar in either playwriting or screenwriting. They are not required to do the Senior Project or Senior Colloquium if they choose a Senior Project in their other major. Double majors in the non-excluded areas of study will fulfill the required minor.