Stony Brook University - MFA in TV Writing

5.00 star(s) 5 Stars (4 Member Reviews)
Degrees Offered
  1. 2 Year M.F.A.
  2. 3 Year M.F.A.
Concentrations
  1. Writing and Producing for Television
  2. Writing for Screen & Television
Yearly Tuition
$10k to $20k
Tuition Detail
$8,573.50 in-state/ $14,468.50 out-of-sate plus cost of attendance

Film School details

School Website
https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/mfa-film-tv/
What is the Application Fee? $ 100
What is the official minimum GPA requirement? 3.0
Is a GRE required for admission? No
Stony Brook’s MFA in Film and Television Writing takes a hands-on approach. While Stony Brook’s main campus is located in Long Island, this program takes place at the Stony Brook Manhattan Center for Creative Writing and Film in Manhattan, exposing students to New York’s bustling entertainment industry.

At Stony Brook, students are taught how to create a tightly woven story from concept to completion. Students choose a track in either television writing or screenwriting where their curriculum is highly specialized in their interests. Faculty members include working professionals and industry experts.

The application process at Stony Brook includes an application, three letters of recommendation, a resume, statement of purpose, a video pitch, a scene based on a prompt, a logline describing a project you want to create, and a writing sample.

Application Requirements

1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

2. Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0.

3. Three letters of recommendation.

4. A current resume

5. A statement of purpose. Describe in a page or two why you are interested in this opportunity, how you would benefit, and what makes you a particularly deserving candidate. Upload this to the Additional Supplemental Materials, personal statement section of the application.

6. Your specialization: Screenwriter/ Television Writer/Director/Producer/Independent Track. (Add this to the bottom of your personal statement.)

Your specialization: Film or TV Writing Track. If Film, specify Screenwriter, Director, Producer or Independent Track.

7. Video Pitch. (Go to Portfolio Instructions and upload Video Pitch to the Digital Portfolio section of the application.)

  • All candidates: This is one of the more important elements to your application. You have probably seen people pitching for donations on a crowdsourcing site. In this case, you should pitch us yourself as a candidate. You can mention a project you want to work on, or something else that is exciting to you but we are interested in who you are as a creative artist/storyteller. The video pitch should be creative, polished, inventive. We want you to win us over here! SUGGESTED LENGTH: 3 MINUTES
8. Directing and Producing Video Samples. (URLs for all video links may be uploaded in the Qualifications section.)

  • Directing candidates only (not required for Screenwriting, Television Writing, or Producing candidates): Please include a link (or links) to up to 4 video samples of work to which you made a significant contribution. Be clear about what role you played: producer, writer, director, editor, production designer, cinematographer, etc. You may submit links for more than one piece but the total running time should not exceed 15 minutes. If you submit an excerpt, please describe the full work. Unless you are applying as a cinematographer or production designer, the entirety of your video sample should not be in the format of a professional reel but should also show us the substance of your work. (A reel might accompany another sample). In lieu of video, you may submit up to ten photographs, design samples, or photographs of your artwork.
9. Written materials: (All written materials may be uploaded in the Additional Supplemental Materials section)

Your written material should include:

a. All Candidates: The Scene. Write a short, 2-3-page scene inspired by one of these words that have no English language translation. We prefer a scene with two characters where one character wants something from the other, and that you do NOT explicitly use the word you have chosen.

  • Glas wen (Welsh) - A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.
  • Yuputka (Ulwa) - The phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.
  • Iktsuarpok (Inuit) - You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.
b. All Candidates: The Logline. Write an extended log line or a paragraph describing a project you’d like to realize with us. Attach this logline to the bottom of your scene.

c. Screenwriting, Television Writing, and Directing Candidates: The Writing Sample. Please include a writing sample of up to 10 pages. This can be a complete short film, web episode, play, short story, or an excerpt of a feature screenplay, a television script, a webisode, a sketch or series of sketches. If you choose to submit an excerpt, please include a few lines describing the full work.

d. Producing Candidates: The Writing Sample. Please include a writing sample of up to 10 pages, including, critiques, production program notes, and/or literary criticism of a chosen screenplay, excerpts of a film or screenplay you have written, acquired or produced; or a brief statement describing your view of the role of Producing in today’s platform agnostic film industry.

10. Proficiencies. Directing Candidates Only

Please include a list of technical proficiencies in: camera, lighting, editing, and any related skills at the bottom of your statement of purpose.

What scholarship opportunities does the school have?

Robert Sklar Diversity Fellowship
In Fall 2021, we will award a handful of full and partial Graduate and Teaching Assistantships to our incoming students, particularly to those students who can contribute to the diversity of Stony Brook. All applications for full-time study in the Fall term are considered, provided that the application is submitted by January 7, 2021 . These GA/TA awards are extremely competitive.

A full TA/GA offer comes with an academic-year stipend of approximately $19,000, a 15-20 hour/week workload, full tuition waiver and subsidized health insurance. A partial TA/GA offer comes with a 50% tuition remission scholarship, and an academic-year stipend of approximately $9,500, as well as subsidized health insurance and an 8-10 hour/week workload. Students in good standing could expect to have their funding renewed for their second year, when they teach film and screenwriting courses to Stony Brook undergraduates.

Recipients of funding offers who can contribute to the diversity of Stony Brook may be additionally eligible for the Turner Fellowship. Those with outstanding academic promise may be eligible for the Graduate Council Fellowship. These fellowships award an additional $30,000 over the course of three years to their recipients, along with tuition waiver and stipend.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time it was last updated. PLEASE verify with the school ALL due dates and requirements as they may have changed since our last update. If any info on this page is incorrect please let us know and we will update it. We are not responsible for missed deadlines or rejected applications due to out of date information on this page. Please do your due diligence.

Latest reviews

Reviewed by
Current Student
Pros
  • The instructors are as awesome as the price
  • If you hold a full-time job, this MFA is totally do-able with core classes held in the late afternoon / evening. You can also attend part-time
  • All instructors and guest speakers are working pros, and tiny classes, you get copious f2f time.
  • Campus is a super easy commute in Manhattan (not Long Island) near Penn Station / Times Square
I just completed my first year and cannot recommend this program more highly-- my TV writing (and writing in general) has improved by leaps and bounds. I'm still grateful to be among the chosen to get in and be among classmates who are all highly talented, motivated and supportive of each other (even when our debates about the merits of shows get lively and geeky).

The spirit at SBU is energizing, rigorous and very-fast paced, just like the TV industry itself. Know that you will work very hard in this program, but that vigor produces results. Have an open mind to new approaches to writing and breaking stories. Even if you've written teleplays or screenplays before coming here (as I have), the knowledge and methods that are enforced here will elevate what you think you know about storytelling and story structure. Need proof? Though this program is brand new, classmates are already winning teleplay competitions-- we're talkin' grand prize, finalists and semi-finalists.

If you're unsure of what your "distinctive voice" is, you will discover it here with the number of scripts you write, read and critique. I'm already confident that I'll graduate with a strong portfolio of work.

There's a lot of care that goes into curating the required TV guest speaker series (and if you take any elective in the film program, sign up for the Master Class with Christine Vachon and Simone Perro!). Between their shows' shoots and productions, show-runners and working writers generously share their writers room experiences, best practices and advice.

This school is invested in your success. If you love to write and love TV stories, you will love this MFA program.
Alumni Network
5.00 star(s)
Campus
5.00 star(s)
Career Assistance
4.00 star(s)
Coursework
5.00 star(s)
Facilities
5.00 star(s)
Professors
5.00 star(s)
Scholarships
5.00 star(s)
2 members found this helpful.
Reviewed by
Current Student
Pros
  • Dedicated professors
  • High Standards
  • Great price point
  • Interesting electives
Currently a student wrapping up the 4th semester. My writing has come a LONG way. Every semester builds on itself and you aren't the writer you were a few months ago if you keep up which everyone does because it's very much catered to class dynamics while also making sure that rigorous standards are being met. It's a wonderful combination of both.

I've been blown away by the teachers - all of them work in the industry and brought their own magic sauces to classes. I have learned from each and everyone of them and forged personal connections organically. I went from wanting to begin writing a pilot to being on my third in a short two years. I owe this to the systemic structure of the program that supports your artistic visions and holds them to an industry standard.

A plus is that Directing/Filmmaking grad students are on the same floor as you and there are some crossover in the classes you can take with them. I've taken really interesting electives that have been adjacent to tv writing as it's film related but from a different vector of analysis which was refreshing. I met people outside of my tv writing classes and those different friendships have also elevated the entire MFA experience for me. Overall there is a vibe of inclusivity and supportive creativity. A+
Alumni Network
5.00 star(s)
Campus
5.00 star(s)
Career Assistance
4.00 star(s)
Coursework
5.00 star(s)
Facilities
5.00 star(s)
Professors
5.00 star(s)
Scholarships
3.00 star(s)
One member found this helpful.
M
mydearmoody
Hey! Thanks for the detailed review, it was very helpful. I wanted to confirm that this MFA in TV Writing is a 3 year course. Thanks in advance!
Reviewed by
Current Student
Pros
  • Outstanding Professors
  • Remarkable Education
Brilliant professors currently working in the industry on shows you watch/have watched teach the majority of the classes and because it’s a state school, as students we only pay state school tuition (Sub 15k/year!!!). I have friends that went to the Ivys that are jealous because not only is Stony Brook cheaper (and has some of the same professors), they also have an MFA completely dedicated to TV writing. If you want to be a TV writer there is no other choice. This is the best program and it happens to be the best price (by over 100k!!!). It’s also a new program so not many people know of it yet making it a great time to tap into it; within the industry it’s making noise.
The teachers love it because they don’t have to conform to the stale teaching methods and bureaucracy of the expensive schools; instead they get to teach students who are 100% dedicated to TV writing the most modern theories and techniques in practice today. Students love it because they learn how to write from people who are currently writing in the tv industry. It’s an incredibly exciting atmosphere for all, along with heartfelt support that all the writers have for each other, which can only come from a program this size and this focused.
Alumni Network
5.00 star(s)
Campus
5.00 star(s)
Career Assistance
5.00 star(s)
Coursework
5.00 star(s)
Facilities
5.00 star(s)
Professors
5.00 star(s)
Scholarships
5.00 star(s)
One member found this helpful.
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