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

The program at Hunter is focused on helping writers to hone their voice, style, and aesthetic while also taking risks and experimenting with form. Our playwrights 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. We provide workshop opportunities and free or affordable tickets to a wide range of New York City productions. The capstone project of the program is the Hunter Play Festival, a week-long workshop with professional actors and a director which culminates in a public reading attended by agents, producers, and directors.

Current and recent playwriting faculty include: Adam Bock (A Life, A Small Fire), Clare Barron (Dance Nation, You Got Older), Oliver Butler (What the Constitution Means to Me, The Debate Society), Lisa D’Amour (Detroit, Airline Highway), Karen Hartman (Roz and Ray, Project Dawn), Tina Satter (This is a Room, Half Straddle), Lloyd Suh (The Chinese Lady, American Hwangap), Maria Striar (Clubbed Thumb), and Anne Washburn (Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, The Internationalist).

Visiting artists in the program for the 2019-2020 academic year include: Peter Brook (The Empty Space), Mia Chung (You for Me for You, Catch as Catch Can), Will Davis (Men On Boats, Bobby Clearly), Jen Silverman (Collective Rage, The Moors), and Lauren Yee (The Great Leap, Cambodian Rock Band).

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, Primary Stages, Lark Play Development Center, Playwrights Center, Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Realm, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Kennedy Center.

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

Deadline for Fall 2021: January 15th, 2021


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.

  • 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)

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.)

Questions? Contact the Director of the Rita & Burton Goldberg MFA program, Christine Scarfuto, at cs3858@hunter.cuny.edu.

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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. The program culminates in a public, staged reading of the students' work.


    Degree Requirements

  • THC 73100 – MFA Playwriting I: Developing Your Voice

  • THC 73200 – MFA Playwriting II: Workshop

  • THC 73300 – MFA Playwriting III: Workshop

  • THC 73400 – MFA Playwriting IV: Thesis Project

  • THC 73500 – MFA Production Workshop I: Adaptation

  • THC 73600 – MFA Production Workshop II: The Playwright Prepares

  • THC 75100 – History of Theatre I

  • THC 75200 – History of Theatre II

  • THC 79000 – Play Analysis

  • 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



for the live class list

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FALL 2020 




Learning Outcomes

Graduates of our MFA Playwriting Program will be able to:


  • Write dramatic works which express their own aesthetic

  • Incorporate their knowledge of American and world theater history and practice into their creative work

  • Collaborate with directors, designers and other theater collaborators