Do you prefer a structured course of study with definitive writing goals to taking courses a la carte? If so, then you have the option of enrolling in a certificate program through the Writers’ Program. Writers’ Program certificate programs are designed to provide perspective, knowledge, and training in several dynamic writing fields. The coordinated, sequential offerings allow you to define and pursue career goals, select courses keyed to your interests, discover or develop your potential for professional growth, and acquire necessary skills. Certificate programs also provide many fringe benefits including:

  • a sneak preview of course catalogs before they’re released to the public
  • discounts on some Writers’ Program services and programs
  • preferential placement on course waitlists
  • privileges at UCLA’s recreational facilities
  • access to UCLA Extension’s “CareerSpot” online job board
  • a free screenplay consultation with an instructor of your choice upon completion of all certificate requirements (a $775 value)
  • participation in Extension’s annual graduation ceremony at UCLA’s Royce Hall where you’ll receive a gold seal certificate of completion

For the feature film or television writing trades, there are currently three certificate programs to choose from, and courses may be taken onsite or online:

Certificate in Feature Film Writing

For aspiring screenwriters seeking a step-by-step guide in how to write (and finish) one or more feature film scripts, this certificate program consists of 6 courses and can be completed within 12 to 18 months. The bedrock of the program is a sequence of courses called “Writing the First Screenplay” – 4 courses total, in which students go from the initial idea to a finished first draft of a feature film. The remaining two “electives” can be any full 10-week course pertaining to film or television writing. Best of all, this open-enrollment program is flexible and can be customized to suit your goals or experience level. For more information, click here.

Certificate in Television Writing

For students interested in learning how to write for television, this certificate program first guides writers through finishing a TV “spec” script (a mock episode of a show currently on the air) in 2 courses, and then a “pilot” script (the first episode of an original series concept) in 1 to 2 courses. Students choose between half-hour comedy, or one-hour drama formats (or study both if that is preferred), and can complete the 6 requisite courses for the certificate anywhere between 9 to 18 months. It’s also possible to complete more than one spec or pilot script in this timeframe. For more information, click here.

Certificate in Screenwriting: Film & TV Comprehensive

Last year, the Writers’ Program introduced a third certificate program for aspiring writers looking to study both feature film and television writing, either at a half-time or full-time credit status (making the certificate program also eligible for international enrollment). If enrolled full-time, students will take 4 classes per quarter: 1 course in the feature film writing sequence; 1 course in television writing; 1 course via our sister department, Entertainment Studies, which will cover an aspect of the film industry; and 1 elective in feature film or TV writing. After one year, students will have a thorough knowledge of the entertainment industry as a whole, plus one feature film script, a TV spec, and a TV pilot completed. If enrolled at less than a full-time status, this program could be completed in 2 to 3 years, depending.

For details about creative writing certificate program benefits, click here.

For more information on studying internationally, please contact our International Student office by calling 310-825-9351.

To learn more about courses offered through Entertainment Studies, please call 310-905-8264.

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

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