In the last ten years, international interest in Hollywood storytelling has grown. U.S. films are more widely released and distributed in foreign territories while conversely, domestic audiences have more platforms available to them now more than ever for viewing films made around the world. It’s no coincidence that international student demand for screenwriting courses has also increased.

However, prior to last year, international students were left with complicated options. According to Student Advisor Chae Ko, “Until recently, the only way you could qualify for the F-1 Student Visa would be to choose a Writers’ Program certificate as a secondary course of study and enroll in another primary certificate through another department.”

Last spring, the Writers’ Program remedied this successfully by introducing a new certificate program for international students seeking a full-time course load. It’s called the Certificate in Screenwriting: Film and TV Comprehensive.

Designed with both international and domestic students in mind, the requisite courses consist of not only the core courses in each of the Feature Film Writing and Television Writing certificates, but also the foundational courses offered through UCLA Extension’s Entertainment Studies program. Combined, these courses will provide any student with a sufficient knowledge of the film and television business, plus the screenwriting skills necessary to succeed as a storyteller in both formats. And because of the higher credit limit, the certificate meets the qualifications for the F-1 Visa.

“This lets us work directly with international students to ensure they’re getting the best of what we offer,” says Chae.

Candidates for this certificate (whether domestic or international) are required to take at least 12 units (i.e. 4 courses) per quarter, which means the program can be completed in one year. Domestic students looking for a broader timeframe of completion can customize their schedule accordingly. Student benefits include (but are not limited to): advance notice of upcoming courses, priority on waitlists, discounted application fees in the annual screenwriting competitions, qualification for a UCLA Student ID, and a complimentary feature film or television script consultation upon graduation, valued at $775.

For a full list of required courses and other certificate program info, click here.

For more information on this new certificate program or any of the four other certificates offered by the Writers’ Program, call 310-825-9415 or email writers@uclaextension.edu.

For more information on studying internationally, please contact the International Student office at 310-825-9351, or visit their website at www.uclaextension.edu/iso.

To learn more about courses offered through Entertainment Studies, please call 310-905-8264 or visit www.uclaextension.edu/entertainmentstudies.

Jeff Bonnett is the Program Assistant for Screenwriting (Onsite & Online). Contact him at jbonnett@uclaextension.edu or (310) 206-1542.

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