Writing for Film and Television, B.A.

Mission

The mission of Biola University is biblically centered education, scholarship and service — equipping men and women in mind and character to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ. While the whole of Biola’s mission is pursued in this major, special emphasis is on “impacting the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.” The Writing for Film and Television major prepares students to create compelling and redemptive stories for the media, as they’re educated by practicing writers within the entertainment industry who share a common faith.  

Students are trained to be parabolic storytellers in the tradition of the greatest parabolic storyteller, our savior Jesus Christ, pursuing excellence in craft and in character.  

Degree Program

Whether in the faith-based or mainstream arena, when developing a story, worldview is expressed through what is emphasized as important in the thoughts, words and deeds of the characters inhabiting stories. In turn, stories are metaphors for life, they help us to make meaning and have the power to illuminate larger truths. One cannot engage in story creation and not interact with a worldview. Thus, as Christians writers, we begin each story from the basis of our identity in Christ.

The journey of the writing student, from freshman year to graduation, emphasizes the discovery of their own identity and worldview. They look at the historical impact, audience trends, the auteur movement and vision in media, all as a part of one’s creative identity. Students are called to make a connection between their calling as Christians and the content that they create, focusing on the integration of faith, storytelling and effective communication through the page. Students will develop the necessary skills for analysis of the culture of Hollywood, as well as the expertise required for a writing career within the media industry.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts in Writing for Film and Television, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental components in writing visually for film, television and media to create compelling original stories (ULO 1).
  2. Evaluate the telling of a compelling story with comprehension of how biblical principles are integrated into words, decisions and characters and how the page influences culture through film, television and media (ULO 2).
  3. Assess professional competency and best practices of all writing formats with demonstrated mastery in a thesis project and the professional competency expected for entry level professionals (ULO 3).

Each Program Learning Outcome (PLO) listed above references at least one of the University Learning Outcomes (ULO 1, 2, 3), which may be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

Admission Requirements

The entertainment industry is a highly competitive, creative and demanding business. Admission to Cinema and Media Arts (CMA) is separate from and contingent upon your admission to Biola University. Admission to Biola University does not guarantee admission into the Writing for Film and Television major. Applications to the Writing for Film and Television major will not be considered until after the applicant has been admitted to Biola University. Notifications concerning your acceptance to the Writing for Film and Television major will be processed by groups as listed on the application schedule page available from the Admissions Department.

After you have completed your application to Biola University, complete your application online by the appropriate deadline indicated on the website.

Prior media experience is not a prerequisite for admission into the School of Cinema and Media Arts. As we’ll provide the education once a student, during the application process we’re more interested in discovering your potential, leadership ability, creative thinking, problem solving and Christian character. Department faculty prayerfully review all applications. Notification letters will be sent out by the deadlines listed in the schedule. You will be notified of your acceptance, if more information is required, placement on a waiting list, or non-acceptance, if applicable.

If you have any questions about the status of your application, please call the CMA Academic Coordinator at (562) 777-4052 or write to:

Acceptance Committee
School of Cinema and Media Arts
Biola University
13800 Biola Avenue
La Mirada, CA 90639

CMA students may be required to purchase computer equipment and software as may be applicable for their respective degrees. While we understand the financial strains of such equipment expenditures, we also recognize that these technologically driven majors involve costs well beyond the textbooks that serve as the essential tools for many other undergraduate departments. Contact the department for specific equipment recommendations.

General Requirements

All Writing for Film and Television majors must achieve a minimum grade of C in all major courses taken at Biola. Anyone receiving a lower grade must repeat the course and receive a C or better.

The total number of credits for major area credit from practicum, internship and directed research courses may not exceed 9 credits.

Writing for Film and Television

Stories matter. You matter. You and your stories matter to us. The Writing for Film and Television, B.A. covers the fundamental elements of storytelling—from conception (the pitch and the outline), to execution (the script), to the all-important rewriting and polishing process.

The Writing for Film and Television, B.A. teaches you how to find your unique voice and learn the craft to write scripts that will attract attention in the entertainment industry. In this comprehensive program, you will learn every element of the screenwriting process from story idea to script. Through our lectures and workshops, your work will be further refined so that you will develop your own storytelling voice while receiving constructive feedback from your peers and instructors who are working, professional screenwriters.

Curriculum Requirements

Program Courses
CNMA 101Introduction to Visual Storytelling3
CNMA 103Introduction to Digital Media Production3
CNMA 104History of Cinema3
CNMA 203Screenwriting I3
CNMA 204The Entertainment Business3
CNMA 312Screenwriting II3
CNMA 323Writing the One-Hour Drama Pilot3
CNMA 331Motion Picture Script Analysis3
CNMA 352Character Development and Dialogue3
CNMA 353Media Literacy3
CNMA 354The TV Writer's Room - One-Hour Spec3
CNMA 360The TV Writer's Room - Writing the Half Hour Spec3
or CNMA 368 Film and Television Adaptation
or ENGL 344 Creative Writing: Fiction
CNMA 420Coverage and Development for Film and TV3
CNMA 440Cinema and Media Arts Internship3
CNMA 462Senior Portfolio: Writing3
or CNMA 456 Senior Portfolio
Total Credits45

NOTE: The course sequence table is designed by the major department and is one way that the classes will work out properly in sequence for your major. However, there are alternative or flexible ways to rotate some of the classes within the same year/level and sometimes between year levels. Please contact your major department advisor to discuss flexible alternatives in scheduling the sequence of your classes.

Taking coursework during the summer session may also be an option to accelerate your degree path.

See Core Curriculum Program section for a list of approved Core Curriculum courses.

Writing for Film and Television, B.A. 

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 103 or 1653BBST 103 or 1653
CNMA 1013BBST 209 or 2103
CNMA 1033CNMA 1043
ENGL 100 or 1123CNMA 2033
KNES 1071Foreign Language (see Core Curriculum)4
GNST 1021 
 14 16
Total Credits 30
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 2513BBST 209 or 2103
CNMA 3123CNMA 2043
CNMA 3523Behavioral Science (see Core Curriculum)3
Foreign Language (see Core Curriculum)4MATH 1221
Science (see Core Curriculum)3HIST 200, 201, or POSC 2253
MATH 1211 
 17 13
Total Credits 30
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 300/400 Bible Elective3BBST 3543
CNMA 3233CNMA 4203
CNMA 3533ENGL 3133
CNMA 3543MATH 1231
Fine Arts (see Core Curriculum)3Communications (see Core Curriculum)3
KNES Activity (see Core Curriculum)1HIST 100 or 1013
Writing Competency Requirememt0Graduation Petition due in Registrar's Office
 16 16
Total Credits 32
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BBST 3653BBST 4653
CNMA 3313BBST 306, 316, 326, or 3363
CNMA 462 or 4563CNMA 360, 368, or ENGL 3443
Literature (see Core Curriculum)3CNMA 4403
General Elective1Philosophy (see Core Curriculum)3
 13 15
Total Credits 28

NOTE: The course sequence table is designed by the major department and is one way that the classes will work out properly in sequence for your major. However, there are alternative or flexible ways to rotate some of the classes within the same year/level and sometimes between year levels. Please contact your major department advisor to discuss flexible alternatives in scheduling the sequence of your classes.

Taking coursework during the summer session may also be an option to accelerate your degree path.

See Core Curriculum Program section for a list of approved Core Curriculum courses.

Writing for Film and Television, B.A. 

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 1014HNRS 1054
HNRS 1024HNRS 1064
CNMA 1013CNMA 1043
CNMA 1033CNMA 2033
GNST 1021MATH 1211
 15 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 2104HNRS 2304
HNRS 2154HNRS 2314
CNMA 3123CNMA 2043
CNMA 3523MATH 1221
Foreign Language (see Core Curriculum)4Foreign Language (see Core Curriculum)4
 18 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 3244HNRS 3384
HNRS 3274CNMA 3543
CNMA 3533CNMA 4203
CNMA 360, 368, or ENGL 3443Science (see Core Curriculum)3
KNES 1071ENGL 3133
MATH 1231 
 16 16
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
HNRS 4404HNRS 4504
BBST 4653HNRS 4602
CNMA 3313CNMA 3233
CNMA 456 or 4623CNMA 4403
KNES Activity (see Core Curriculum)1 
 14 12
Total Credits 122

Note: Certain CMA classes are not offered every semester. Please check with the School of Cinema and Media Arts for the most up-to-date schedule of required courses.