Screenwriting & Animation (SWAN)

Screenwriting and Animation (SWAN) is Morgan's cinematic arts and sciences major and the most technology immersive program in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). Much more than just a film major, SWAN lays the groundwork for evolving artists, filmmakers, and content producers to forge career paths in entertainment, education, science, and business at a time when visual storytelling is the dominant narrative form of the 21st Century.

About SWAN

The SWAN major has three concentrations:

  1. The Computer Animation concentration requires courses in 2D and 3D animation, motion design, storyboarding, web design, multimedia scripting, and games.
  2. The Integrated Media Writing (Screenwriting) and Animation concentration requires courses in drawing and illustration, courses in graphic comics, and more graphics art based practice in computer animation and the media arts.
  3. The Film and Television Writing (Screenwriting) concentration requires greater immersion in applied theory and practice in writing and content production for film/TV and multimedia, including documentary and drama.

All concentrations include:

  • Film studies
  • Visual storytelling and writing
  • Entrepreneurship and independent filmmaking
  • Ethical business practices for the industry
  • Fluency in writing and creative expression
  • Production field experience, and post-production workflow and assembly
  • Majors take two computer science courses
  • Producing webisodes, short films and documentaries, as well as informational and corporate videos
  • Introductory animation workshop, and introductory and intermediate editing courses


20 May 2019

This week our program was named one of the most affordable animation programs in the nation. The Screenwriting and Animation program at Morgan State University was included on the Affordable Schools list of 15 most affordable programs, which used a methodology that took into consideration the price of tuition and fees alongside graduation rates and student-to-faculty ration. These are metrics that matter to our program, faculty and students.

Read more about the ranking, it’s methodology, and what animation students can expect during and after their university experience here.

18 May 2019

Congratulations to our 2019 graduating class! The Screenwriting and Animation program send our best wishes out to Morgan’s entire class of 2019, but particularly our graduating majors and minors. Eight SWAN majors and one minor wrapped up their time here at Morgan this year; we know that all of them will go on to continue doing amazing work.

Good luck and Godspeed in this next chapter of your journey!

9 May 2019

Today our program was honored to welcome filmmaker Stanley Nelson to the Maryland Film Festival for the Baltimore premiere of his latest film, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool.

The Screenwriting and Animation program presented this special screening on the first full day of the festival, and several more times throughout the weekend. SWAN students and faculty attended a special opening night even, and sat down for an intimate Q&A session with the celebrated documentary filmmaker.

14 April, 2019

This week, the department hosted a visit from actor, director and writer Roger Guenveur Smith.

The visit, coordinated in conjunction with the James H. Gilliam, Jr. College of Liberal Arts, included a visit with SWAN students in the classroom, followed by a performance of “Frederick Douglas Now!,” Smith’s acclaimed one-man-show. After the performance, Smith led a cross-campus march and Q&A session from the Murphy Fine Arts Center to the statue of Frederick Douglass at Holmes Hall.

Smith performed to a standing-room only crowd that included students, staff and faculty from across the university. The trek across campus became a memorable moment for our campus community that SWAN was proud to share.

8 October, 2018

Bear Tracks is excited to host Ms. Stacey Adams, a recruitment manager for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences! The Academy will be holding an informational tabling event in the University Student Center from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. on November 7, 2018.

The event is brought to the university via BearTracks, Morgan's Career Pathway Initiative, a $2 million investment by the United Negro College Fund to strengthen career placement outcomes by increasing the number of Morgan graduates who achieve meaningful employment immediately after graduation.

7 October, 2018

Morgan State University is proud to host the 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows! The show will present 16 international animated short films for the students and faculty of MSU. Curated by Acme Films founder Ron Diamond, the show has selected the best animated shot films from around the world and presented them at the major animation studios to inspire animators and directors since 1998.

Join SWAN faculty and students for the Animation Show of Shows on Friday, 12 October, from noon - 3 p.m. in the Lecture Hall 100 of the Behavioral and Social Science building. For more information or to register, visit the Eventbrite page.

6 October, 2018

The Department of World Languages, the Honors College and the Quarles Institute present "Homestory Deutschland: Black Biographies in Historical and Present Times." The exhibit will be on display on the first floor of the new Martin D. Jenkins Hall from 11 - 25 October.

The exhibit will include the following events:

  • - 16 October, 3 p.m.
    Lecture by Dr. Fatima El-Tayeb and opening reception
  • 18 October, 6:30 p.m. (BSSC 100 and Atrium)
    Film screening of Audre Lorde: the Berlin Years
  • 23 October, 11 a.m. (BSSC 100)
    Roundtable discussion: "The African-American Scholar in Germany, a Morgan perspective"
  • 24 October, 6:30 p.m.
    Film Screening: The Valley of the Innocent (BSSC 100)

27 January, 2018

Local and national media took notice of SWAN alumnus Kyle Yearwood and his art after he flipped a racist advertisement on it's end.

After creating artwork responding to a now infamous H&M advertisement, Yearwood's version of work went viral, receiving hundreds of thousands of views on Instagram, and gaining the attention celebrities and news media. Watch CBS interview Yearwood and hear him discuss the ad, his work and his vision here.


13 December, 2017

The Screenwriting & Animation program recently wrapped up our fifth workshop with the Baltimore Youth Film Arts Program, and the short work produced during the class is getting a lot of attention. SWAN professor Keith Mehlinger led "Cinematic Action Photography this fall, which introduced BYFA students the basic methods and processes action photography for motion pictures.

Joined by program assistant Kyle Yearwood and current student Jessica Pettiford, Mehlinger work with students to produce a short piece on Urban Curves, a local women's motorcycle club.

Watch the film and learn more on the BYFA webpage.


6 December 

SWAN senior Malkah Bell was recently interviewed along with Jed Dietz, founding director for the Maryland Film Festival during the WBAL-TV 11 Morning Show.

Bell was featured for her work on the short student film, "The Sound of Us." The film was selected, along with one other from SWAN, to be screened at the new SNF Parkway Theater as part of the 2017 Fall Baltimore Student Film Showcase.

Congrats Malkah!