Writing

The Columbia University MFA Writing Program is highly regarded for its rigorous approach to literary instruction and for its faculty of acclaimed writers and editors who are devoted and dedicated teachers. The faculty, the students, and the curriculum represent and foster a full range of artistic and literary diversity. Students are encouraged to make the most of their own artistic instincts and to realize as fully as possible, beyond any perceived limitations, their potential as writers.
 
At the core of the curriculum is the writing workshop. All workshops are small (7 to 12 students), ensuring that all students present work at least three times per semester. Students receive substantial written responses to their work from their professors and classmates; they also have regularly scheduled one-on-one conferences with faculty. The second-year thesis workshops (6 to 9 students) are dedicated to shaping each student’s work into book form.
 
The Columbia MFA is a two-year program requiring 60 credits of course work to complete the degree and can take up to three years to complete the thesis. Students concentrate in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction, and also have the option of pursuing a joint course of study in writing and literary translation. Most MFA programs require 48 credits or as few as 36 credits, but the Columbia Writing Program considers the study of literature from the practitioner's point of view—reading as a writer—essential to a writer's education. Every semester, students take a workshop and, on average, three craft-oriented seminars and/or lectures designed to illuminate, inform, clarify, augment and inspire each student’s experience and practice as a writer.  New seminars, lectures and master classes are created every year.

News


updated April 2016
 
Hilton Als, Associate Professor in Writing, has been named a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism for his work in The New Yorker.
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updated April 2016
 
This year, many Columbia alumni, faculty, and current students saw their work published and honored, including several graduates who published books for the first time. Some of these accomplishments have been highlighted in the list below.
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updated April 2016
 
Five School of the Arts alumni have received 2016 Guggenheim Fellowships: Marina Adams ‘83 in Fine Arts; Jesse Ball ‘04 in Fiction; Edmund Campion ‘93 in Music Composition; Amanda Petrusich ’05 in General Nonfiction; and Sue de Beer ’98 for Fine Arts.
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updated March 2016
 
Three members of the School of the Arts community have received 2016 American Academy of Arts and Letters. Poet Henri Cole ’82 won the Award of Merit Medal, which carries a $25,000 prize, and fiction writer Rachel Kushner ’01 won the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award, which carries a $20,000 prize...
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updated March 2016
 
Catherine Lacey ‘10 has won a 2016 Whiting Award for Fiction. Lacey, author of the acclaimed novel Nobody Is Ever Missing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014)...
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updated March 2016
 
Matt Gallagher’s ’13 debut novel, Youngblood, has been published to great acclaim by Simon and Schuster. This is Gallagher’s second book; after serving as a U.S. Army captain...
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NBCC Award Wins 2015
 
 
updated March 2016
 
Columbia University School of the Arts Writing Program professors Margo Jefferson and Paul Beatty are among the winners of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Awards.
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updated March 2016
 
Associate Professor Susan Bernofsky’s translation of German writer Jenny Erpenbeck’s The End of Days (New Directions) has won the Schlegel-Tieck Prize.
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updated March 2016
 
On March 9, 2016 the Writing Program will celebrate the publication the 2014/2015 Word for Word Anthology, produced by Ugly Duckling Presse. The book features literary work in collaborative translation by six alumni of the Word for Word Literary Translation Exchange Program, in English, German, Italian, and Catalan. 
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updated February 2016
 
After graduating from the School of the Arts, M.M. De Voe ’01 found herself craving a literary environment like the one she had enjoyed at Columbia, particularly as she started her own family.
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updated February 2016
 
Matt Gallagher’s ’13 debut novel, Youngblood, has been published to great acclaim by Simon and Schuster. This is Gallagher’s second book; after serving as a U.S. Army captain in the Iraq War, he chronicled his experiences...
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Ada Limon
updated February 2016
 
Adjunct faculty member Ada Limón was recently named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for her fourth book of poems, Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions).

Writing Program
415 Dodge Hall
Mail Code 1804
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 854-4391
writing@columbia.edu

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© 2016 Columbia University School of the Arts | 305 Dodge Hall, Mail Code 1808 | 2960 Broadway | New York, NY 10027 | (212) 854-2875 | EMAIL
Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.