CREATIVE WRITING & SCREENWRITING PROGRAM

Course Descriptions

*Please note that course offerings and course descriptions are subject to change. Please see the University Catalog for the most up to date information.

general education

Theology

  • Christian Experience I (Fundamentals of Catholicism)

    This course examines foundational beliefs of the Catholic faith:  divine revelation and its sources, the role of faith, the Incarnation, Christ’s work of redemption, beliefs about Mary and the communion of saints, the nature and mission of the Church, and more. Focus is placed on connecting your faith to the study of theology and in developing a personal relationship with Christ.

  • Christian Experience II (Sacred Scripture and Sacraments)

    In this course students will examine Divine Revelation, concentrating specifically on God’s Revelation of His Love and Truth in Sacred Scripture.  Attention will be paid to the Covenants of the Old Testament and how these lead to the fulfillment of those Covenants in the person and mission and Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ.

  • Christian Experience III (Mission and Morality)

    This course offers students an in-depth study of the sacraments, liturgy, spirituality and prayer. The course examines the challenges of developing an interior life, focusing on the nature and difficulties of prayer. In addition, students analyze the Church’s liturgical life, with a focus on the seven sacraments by studying the Catechism and spiritual masters.

  • Christian Experience IV (Theology of the Body)

    In this course, students will come to appreciate their own lived experience of God’s design for human life.  Students will examine the moral imperatives that result from their own bodily existence and how these honor the dignity of those around them and guide them in their own loving service to others in the pursuit of their vocations.

Philosophy

  • Philosophy of Man

    After providing an overview of the basic principles of the Philosophy of Nature, this course examines the nature of the human being, beginning from the Epic of Gilgamesh, continuing through the Classical period by means of Aristotle, the Middle Ages in St. Thomas Aquinas, the Renaissance via Blaise Pascal, and concluding in the modern period in Nietzsche, Freud and T. S. Eliot.

  • Philosophy of Nature

    This course is a detailed study in the various understandings of nature, beginning from the mythology of the Enuma Elish as a primitive attempt at grasping the world, to the classical understanding found in Aristotle’s Physics and 141 Parts of Animals and their Medieval development in Thomas Aquinas’s The Principles of Nature, to foundational texts in modern natural sciences such as those of Descartes, Galileo and Newton, to discussions of evolution found in Darwin, and finally to near contemporary physicists such as Heisenberg. The contrast between the classical stress on substantial form and formal causality and the modern method of material causality and mathematical law will be brought to the forefront, as will the emphasis on technology as a mastery of nature in modern science and the question of teleology, whether nature acts for a purpose.

  • Philosophy of God

    This is a course in the various understandings of metaphysics, or the nature of being as being, beginning from Plato’s Timaeus, continuing through the Classical period by means of Aristotle, and the Middle Ages in St. Thomas Aquinas. The course continues by covering several related questions, beginning with Natural Theology (discussing the traditional proofs for the existence of God, the Divine Attributes that can be understood using reason alone, the analogy of being, and the act of creation), continuing with the “problem of evil” and the question of free will

  • Logic

    Students learn about the basic structures of sound reasoning, focusing largely on classic Aristotelian logic. The course serves to help students think and argue with clarity as well as to effectively analyze arguments of others.  The course includes a careful analysis of the operations of the intellect, i.e., understanding, judgment, and reasoning, focusing on their products, i.e., term, proposition, and syllogism.

Humanities

  • Foundations I

    This course will explain how developments in literature and the arts reflect and impact culture from ancient civilizations to Christendom’s unification (ancient civilizations through the 11th century A.D.). It will explore the historical backdrop and cultural contexts of ancient Near Eastern culture, the Greco-Roman period, the rise and fall of Rome, Constantine and the Christianization of the West through monasticism, Byzantium, the emergence of Islam, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Crusades.

  • Foundations II

    This course will explain how developments in literature and the arts reflect and impact culture from Christendom’s disintegration to the rise of modernization (12th through 18th centuries A.D.). It will explore the historical backdrop and cultural contexts of late Christendom, the Protestant Reformation and Counterreformation, the Renaissance, Humanism, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution.

  • Foundations III

    This course will explain how developments in literature and the arts reflect and impact culture from the French Revolution to the present day. It will explore the historical background and cultural contexts of modern literature, art, and music, from romantic revolutionaries to deconstructionist contemporaries.

  • World History and Culture

    At the highest level, the course looks at how nations and regions across the world are navigating the tumultuous currents of globalization.

  • College Writing I *

    This course will emphasize the use of correct grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics. Students will be required to apply these skills to writing assignments.

  • Culture Making and Aesthetics*

    This course examines how media and business shape the attitudes, practices and beliefs of individuals and groups, and develops in students a rich understanding of the subtle and powerful cultural currents swirling around them, so that they can make valuable contributions to the development of future cultures. Students will consider critically how media and business shape them, learning to recognize the attitudes, assumptions, arguments and ideas promoted by media and business enterprises and products. They will develop a full, thoughtful and practical understanding of what cultures are and how they grow, and of the university’s mission to impact culture for Christ. They will gain an understanding of how Christians are perceived by the cultures around them, and appreciate how one gains the privilege of participation in the shaping of cultures. Finally, students will learn to articulate what of value they have to offer the cultures around them, and how they hope to make that contribution over the course of their lives and careers.

  • College Writing II

    This course will build on the skills learned in College Writing I.

* Must take one of these two courses

Science and Mathematics

  • Decisions Based on Data (Math)

    This course is a review of basic mathematical skills, with a focus on those needed to review and understand business statistics and information. The course focuses on real life application of the concepts learned.

     

    Students will also be introduced to basic financial literacy concepts such as budgeting and planning for large purchases that require a loan. The course is also designed to help students learn how to interpret quantitative information and other data in order to make decisions.

  • Natural Science

    This course explores the scientific method and reasoning. A special emphasis is placed on the design found in nature and environmental science.

Business

  • Entrepreneurial Thinking

    In today’s world there is a need for strategic thinking and business vision based on a different paradigm. Competition is not only between products and services, but also between business models. Students will learn about innovation-driven business strategies and methodologies to develop business designs to successfully compete in the new economy.

  • Introduction to Marketing

    This course focuses on introducing the idea of “entrepreneurial marketing” and is aimed at students who plan to start a new venture or take a job as a marketing professional pursuing an innovative marketing approach. Students will study a full spectrum of marketing strategies and tactics that are especially suitable for entrepreneurial firms aiming for high growth and innovation yet faced by limited resources and uncertain industry dynamics.

     

    Students will work in teams on marketing plans for their own venture or for other high profile entrepreneurs or executives. The focus of this course is on hands-on experiences and practical application of marketing concepts.

  • Business Planning

    In this class students get a “big picture” look at the ingredients of a start-up firm and the process of creating one. The class details those ingredients, discusses the stories (good & bad) of people who have done it, and learn the process by going through it with a team. Students learn the business planning process, how to craft a compelling and clear business story, and acquire inquisitiveness as to how the world of business really works.

     

    The class deliverable is a complete Business Plan created by student teams along with a presentation of the plan.

  • Negotiation Skills

    This course teaches students to meet and resolve objections and conflicts that result from written and oral proposals and pitches. Emphasis is on resolving customer obstacles before addressing your own. Topics covered include: Wants vs. Needs; Win-Win Strategies; Best Alternatives to Agreement; Schedule vs. Quality vs. Cost; Progress vs. Perfection. The class progresses through carefully structured, progressively more complex negotiation exercises. Students learn how external and internal negotiation has become a way of life for effective managers in a constantly changing business environment.

  • Social Media Marketing

    This course will prepare you to act both strategically and tactically –utilizing social media tools like blogs, microblogs (Twitter), vodcasts, video, and networking sites to engage with your audience and sell your products and services. You will discover how to use analytic tools to gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns and communicate meaningfully with your audience. In this class, we will divide into small groups. Each group will build their own blog, as well as two accompanying social media accounts (Twitter & Facebook) for their chosen “business,” and we will analyze their implementation & progress.

  • Leadership and Management

    This course gives an in-depth understanding of the differences between – and similarities of – leadership and management. The course focuses on the major traits of leaders and managers, and augments these with examples of great historic leaders, including George Custer and Jesus Christ.

     

    The course also studies the leadership traits of Abraham Lincoln, and looks at how these can be applied in business to improve management techniques.

  • Business Communications

    This course will teach students how to write and speak effectively in business and other communication.

HUMANITIES CORE

  • Ancient Greek Drama

    By examining key texts from Ancient Greece, students will explore the roots of dramatic art even as they explore ways to apply these ancient masterworks to contemporary social concerns and to their own creative craft.

  • The Epic

    Through prolonged immersion in the epic poetry of authors such as Homer and Virgil, students will grow in their appreciation of the ancient cultures which gave birth to these texts, and of the importance of structure and character development in works of narrative art.

  • Poetry

    This course brings students into close contact with poetry through analysis of its essential elements: language, music, form, and imagination.  Attention will be paid to key poets and trailblazing poems and to the historical circumstances that shaped them.

  • Shakespeare

    This course studies the plays and poems of the most significant and enduringly influential writer of the English language. The class will consider Shakespearean texts with special attention paid to their author's renaissance context and striking psychological realism.

  • Fiction

    Through examination of masterful short stories and novels, students will consider how narrative fiction has developed over time while simultaneously growing in their understanding and appreciation of narrative structure, voice, and character development.

  • Foundations IV: The 20th Century

    Humanities majors will continue the Foundations sequence in the core curriculum by studying the 20th century’s fine arts and literature and assessing how these have responded to and in some cases foreshadowed major historical events of the not-too-distant past.

  • Music History

    This course offers an overview of basic musical trends throughout history, focusing particularly on the development of Western music since the Renaissance.

  • Art History

    This course builds an understanding of the patterns and visual shifts throughout art history in order to build an appreciation for the insights of the creative mind. The class offers a foundation in the mechanics of the visual arts, as well as a detailed look at the full sweep of artistic periods and movements.

CREATIVE WRITING & SCREENWRITING EMPHASIS

  • Story, Genre, and Structure

    A theoretical and practical introduction to the human phenomenon of storytelling, what stories are, their central role in culture from ancient times to the present day, and how storytellers seek and communicate meaning. Particular attention will be paid to the significance of story in the Judeo-Christian tradition and story’s role within the Christian faith. Students will generate numerous story ideas, and with the help of their classmates and the instructor will evaluate those ideas in terms of audience appeal, theme and meaning.

  • Fundamentals of Story Development

    This course builds on student understanding of screen storytelling established in Story, Genre and Structure and Writing and Pitching a Script. Students will develop an original feature-length screen story from multiple ideas through idea evaluation and selection, character creation and development, story structure, treatment, pitch and beat sheet. At the end of the course, students will register their work with the WGA (a $20 fee). Students will consider more advanced screenwriting concepts presented in the text and will apply those principles to their developing stories.

  • Writing for the Screen I

    This course builds on the work completed in Fundamentals of Story Development. Students will at a minimum write the first two acts of a screenplay. They will read classic and modern screenplays. Class time will be dedicated to covering intermediate topics including scene transitions, writing with subtext, visual writing, and further developing skills in scene and dialogue writing and script formatting, and finding solutions to writer's block. Students will critique one another's work in small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. Considerable time will be required for students to write.

  • Writing for the Screen II

    Students will continue their study of screenwriting begun in Writing for the Screen 1. They will complete the first draft of a feature length screenplay and plan and complete a second draft of that screenplay, and they will register their finished work with the WGA. Class time will be dedicated to covering intermediate and advanced topics including rewriting, working with producers, directors and agents, types of professional meetings and how to make the most of them, how to seek buyers for scripted material, and the articulation of a well-developed personal code of ethics in entertainment. Students will critique one another's work in small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. Considerable time will be required for students to write. Students will read and respond to the required texts as well as to feature screenplays and episodic television scripts.

  • Film Criticism and the Art of Visual Storytelling

    This class will study some of the most important films in American cinema to understand the cultural context in which they were created, the role of the director in the filmmaking process, and the lasting legacy that the various films enjoy.

  • Writing Short Form Cinema

    Students will continue their study of screenwriting with a focus on writing narrative films under 40 minutes in length. They will screen and analyze multiple examples of short cinema to gain an understanding of the qualities possessed by the best examples of the form. They will write numerous short scripts with the goal of generating one or more short scripts of high quality that can be produced either inside or outside the university setting. Students will critique one another's work with instructor supervision and guidance. Considerable time will be required for students to write. Students will read and respond to the required texts.

  • Adaptation

    This course builds on the storytelling fundamentals learned in Story, Genre and Structure, and Fundamentals of Story Development, with a focus on the principles and skills of adapting for the screen a story which originates in another medium, as well as adapting true stories for the screen. The student will consider the challenges inherent in adapting a story from another medium, and from true life, and will gain skills and experience by writing, developing, and/or pitching multiple stories of this type. The knowledge, skills, and experience gained in this course will serve aspiring screenwriters, as well as aspiring producers, directors, agents, managers, and executives who will involve themselves in the development of story material for the screen. Students will pitch their adaptations and will critique one another’s work in large and small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. Considerable time will be required for students to write and develop stories outside of class. Students will read and respond to the required text.

  • Advanced Writing Seminar I

    This course provides advanced writing experience for students who have completed multiple scripts for the screen. Assignments will be individualized based on student experience, interest, and skill, and may include development and writing of feature film scripts, television episodes or pilots, short film scripts, and scripts for web-based distribution. Students may also rewrite existing works for which they've written earlier drafts. Students will read and lead discussions of numerous screenplays. Students will pitch their stories, and may be asked to pitch to students in other courses. Students will critique one another’s work in large and small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. They will also develop a personalized career strategy as a writer for the screen. The knowledge, skills, and experience gained in this course will serve aspiring writers, writer-directors, and writer-producers for film, television, and new media. Considerable time will be required for students to write and develop scripts outside of class.

  • Advanced Writing Seminar II

    This course follows Advanced Writing Seminar I and provides additional advanced writing experience for students who have completed multiple scripts for the screen. Assignments will be individualized based on student experience, interest, and skill, and may include development and writing of feature film scripts, television episodes or pilots, short film scripts, and scripts for web-based distribution. Students may also rewrite existing works for which they've written earlier drafts. Students will read and lead discussions of numerous screenplays. Students will pitch their stories, and may be asked to pitch to students in other courses. Students will critique one another’s work in large and small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. They may also be asked to supervise the script development work of underclassmen. The knowledge, skills, and experience gained in this course will serve aspiring writers, writer-directors, and writer-producers for film, television, and new media. Considerable time will be required for students to write and develop scripts outside of class.

  • Creative Writing I: Writing with a Critical Eye

    This course will develop critical skills by examining writing across a range of genres including the novel, short fiction, poetry, and illustrated works. Students will study the aspects of fiction and the elements of poetry. They will also consider different writing practices. Thus, in addition to improving analytical skills, the students will explore some of the writing practices that authors have undertaken in order to create.

  • Creative Writing II: The Creative Imagination

    Writing allows us to explore alternative realities and this course examines the literary devices and purposes of a range of genres including fictional travel writing, poetry, drama, speculative novels and fantasy stories. We are especially interested in the purpose behind the creation of alternative worlds–to satirize contemporary society, to imagine new possibilities, to experiment with form and so on.

  • Imaginative and Nonfiction Creative Writing

    In this course students will read literature and nonfiction creative writing such as short fiction, personal and environmental essays, travel writing, and memoir. They will pay particular attention to the representation of place and the engagement with culture. Students will examine from a writer’s perspective the use of aspects of creative writing such as point of view and narrative technique, language and tone, pacing and plot, and so on.

  • Nonfiction Writing: Travel, Nature, and Identity

    This course provides an overview of various kinds of nonfiction writing, especially focusing on travel, nature, and personal identity writing. By reading various nonfiction works, students will become familiar with the techniques and structure of different kinds of nonfiction writing, and practice using those techniques in their own works.

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