The Rita and Burton Goldberg MFA Playwriting Program at Hunter College is a highly selective, rigorous, and affordable two-year playwriting program located in the heart of New York City. We seek writers eager to develop their craft and challenge assumptions about what theatre is and will become. 


The Program

The program at Hunter is focused on helping writers hone their voice and aesthetic while taking risks and experimenting with form. Students study with award-winning writers, working theatre professionals, and esteemed guest artists in a program that offers intensive, hands-on writing workshops and fosters a collaborative, close-knit artistic community.


The program provides free or affordable tickets to a wide range of New York City productions. During their time at Hunter, students receive a roundtable workshop reading with a professional director and actors, as well as regular workshop opportunities with student actors in the department as part of the Play Labs series. Teaching Assistantships are available to students in their second year. The capstone project of the program is the Hunter College MFA Playwrights Festival, a week-long play development workshop with a professional director and actors which culminates in a public reading attended by agents, producers, and industry professionals.


Current and Recent Playwriting Faculty include:

David Adjmi (Stunning, Marie Antoinette)
Clare Barron
 (Dance Nation, You Got Older)

Lisa D’Amour (Detroit, Airline Highway)
Tina Satter (This is a Room, Half Straddle)
Lloyd Suh (The Chinese Lady, American Hwangap)
Maria Striar (Clubbed Thumb)
Anne Washburn (Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, The Internationalist)


Visiting Artists

2020-2021 Visiting Artists:
Michael R. Jackson, Hansol Jung, Martyna Majok,
Charly Evon Simpson, and Whitney White.


I am incredibly grateful for my time in the Hunter Playwriting MFA program. I wanted the opportunity to focus and deepen my craft, to work with undergraduates in preparation for future teaching, and to stay in NYC and involved with theater in the city. This program allowed me to do all three of those things and more while working with professors and fellow students I greatly admired. It pushed me in the ways I need to be pushed in order to grow as a playwright.


- Charly Evon Simpson, Class of 2017


Christine Scarfuto
Program Director

The Director of the Rita and Burton Goldberg MFA in Playwriting is Christine Scarfuto. Christine is a dramaturg with over a decade of experience in new play development. She was the Literary Manager of Long Wharf Theatre from 2015-2019 and has worked with LCT3, Signature Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, Playwrights Center, Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Realm, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Kennedy Center. Christine was educated entirely in public schools including the University of Iowa, where she received her MFA in Dramaturgy.

Gregory Mosher
Chair of Theatre

The Program is part of the Hunter Department of Theatre, which is chaired by Tony Award-winning producer and director Gregory Mosher, who has produced over 100 world or American premieres at the Lincoln Center and Goodman Theaters, on Broadway, and in the West End. Writer colleagues in these productions include David Mamet, John Guare, Elaine May, Emily Mann, John Leguizamo, Richard Nelson, Mbongeni Ngema (Sarafina), Arthur Miller, David Hare, the Nobel Prize-winners Derek Walcott and Wole Soyinka, Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, and many more.


Admission  Requirements

You must meet the following minimum requirements in order to be considered for admission. Meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance to the program.​

Interviews will be conducted with a select group of candidates after the initial review of application is completed. (Only matriculated students are eligible to take MFA courses.)

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution comparable in standard and content to a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College.

  • Play Manuscript - Submit a full length play at least 45 pages as a PDF. A digital copy of the manuscript needs to be uploaded in the online applications system before submitting the application

  • Two letters of recommendation from appropriate academic or professional references.

  • A statement of purpose of approximately 500-750 words answering the following questions: Why do you choose playwriting as a literary form? Discuss your background in the theatre, the playwrights and productions that have influenced you, and what you hope to bring to the stage.

Applicants whose native language is not English and who have taken all or part of their undergraduate education in a country where English is not the native language are required to submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The following minimum scores must be obtained:

  • Paper Based Test: 550

  • Computer Administered Test: 213

  • Internet Based Test: 60 (less speaking component)

FALL 2022 DEADLINE: January 15, 2022

Questions? Contact the Director of the Rita & Burton Goldberg MFA program, Christine Scarfuto, at

Ready to start your application? Click the button below!

Degree Requirements

This two-year program encourages playwrights to discover and develop their unique voices.  Students should expect a thorough grounding in theatre history, dramatic literature and theory, and the craft of playwriting. They will also have the opportunity to take electives and learn from well-known guest artists. At the end of the first year, students will have a reading with a professional director and actors. The second year of the program culminates in a 29-hour workshop of a new play and a public, staged presentation of the students’ work.


Required Courses

  • MFA Playwriting I: Developing Your Voice
    THC 73100

  • MFA Playwriting II: The Art of Revision
    THC 73200

  • MFA Playwriting III: Playwrights' Workshop
    THC 73300

  • MFA Playwriting IV: Thesis Project
    THC 73400

  • MFA Production Workshop I: Adaptation
    THC 73500

  • MFA Production Workshop II: The Playwright Prepares
    THC 73600

  • History of Theatre I
    THC 75100

  • History of Theatre II
    THC 75200

  • Play Analysis
    THC 79000

  • Electives (9 credits)

Sample Program of Study


First Semester

  • History of Theatre I

  • MFA Playwriting I: Developing Your Voice

  • MFA Production Workshop I: Adaptation


Second Semester

  • History of Theatre II

  • MFA Playwriting II: Workshop

  • Play Analysis

Third Semester

  • MFA Playwriting III: Workshop

  • Elective

  • Elective


Fourth Semester

  • MFA Production Workshop II: The Playwright Prepares

  • MFA Playwriting IV: Thesis Project

  • Elective



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Learning Outcomes

Graduates of our MFA Playwriting Program will be able to:


  • Create, revise, and develop full-length dramatic works that expresses students’ own artistic aesthetic. 

  • Collaborate with directors, designers, actors, and other theater artists.

  • Develop constructive workshop practices and demonstrate the ability to closely observe, analyze, and respond constructively to the writing of workshop participants.

  • Analyze a variety of dramatic structures, techniques, methods, and approaches with the aim of enriching students’ own work.

  • Demonstrate a sophisticated knowledge of theater history and practice with the aim of enriching students’ own work.