The Writing Program

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 coursework 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.



Stay tuned for Spring, 2018 events!

Writing News

Writing Roundup: Week of Dec. 4

Over the past couple of weeks, Writing Program students, faculty and alumni have been busy publishing new work. Read more in our biweekly roundup.   Jenessa Abrams ’17

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Current Student Sarah-Jane Collins Shortlisted for Fair Australia Prize

A fiction piece by current student Sarah-Jane Collins was shortlisted for the 2017 Fair Australia Prize.  

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Vermont Studio Center Award Fellowship to Rangi McNeil '04

Alumnus Rangi McNeil '04 has been awarded a four-week Educational Foundation of America Creative Equity Fellowship from Vermont Studio Center.  

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Michele Herman '85 Publishes First Poetry Chapbook

Michele Herman ’85, an alumna of the Nonfiction Concentration in the graduate Writing Program, is celebrating the upcoming publication of her first poetry chapbook, Victory Boulevard (Finishing Line Press).

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Afia Atakora '16 Publishes Debut Novel

Alumna Afia Atakora '16 will publish her debut novel with HarperCollins imprint 4th Estate in 2018.  

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Writing Roundup: Week of Nov. 20

Writing Roundup: Week of Nov. 20   Over the past couple of weeks, Writing Program students, faculty and alumni have been busy publishing new work. Read more in our biweekly roundup.   Lacy Warner ’16

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