Writing FAQ

Columbia University School of the Arts and Columbia University Student Financial Services work carefully with students to arrange the financing of their degrees. Loan packages, fellowships, scholarships and other options are available for eligible students. It is recommended that any applicant wishing to be considered for financial aid complete all necessary financial aid applications by February 15, 2013. Please see our Financing Your Degree page for information.

Literary nonfiction (sometimes called creative nonfiction) comprises such forms as memoir, personal essay, travel writing, profile, lyric essay, polemic, meditation, reportage, biography, history, cultural and political commentary, and reviews of the arts. While journalism employs established forms and methods, literary nonfiction uses the full range of techniques it shares with fiction and poetry but refuses to alter provable fact. Literary nonfiction celebrates all that is distinctive in an individual writer's voice and vision.

The School of the Arts asks that you keep your writing samples to the length specified in the application instructions.

Yes, but those clippings do not take the place of the creative materials specified in the application.

No, you do not have to have any prior works published to be accepted into the program.

No, many of our applicants have undergraduate degrees in areas completely unrelated to fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

Writing Program classes are intended for MFA candidates.  

For writing classes open to non-MFA students: Columbia College offers an undergraduate course in creative writing, and the School of General Studies offers a post-degree writing program.

For related graduate degrees, please see the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences program in English and Comparative Literature or the Graduate School of Journalism.

Tuition for the 2013-2014 academic year is here. Please note that this information pertains to the current academic year, and is subject to change for the upcoming year.

In 2012, 471 people applied to the Writing Program for 123 slots.

Class schedules must be approved by an academic advisor within your concentration, and should reflect that concentration, but any student in the writing division no matter what the concentration is eligible for any Writing seminar or lecture classes. Workshops are always within one's concentration. Changing concentrations is possible in rare circumstances with the permission of an advisor in the new concentration, as well as from your old concentration, as well as the submission of new writing samples.

Please see the School of the Arts Admissions page for information on how to apply.

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

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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.