The Writing Program
Columbia MFA in Writing - Overview
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.
Current student Antoinette Bumekpor at TEDx Columbia University
Stay tuned for upcoming 2019 Fall events!
Alumna Gnaomi Siemens '18 Awarded Poetry Society of New York Micro-Residency
Alumna Gnaomi Siemens '18 was awarded The Poetry Society of New York Micro-Residency at The New York Public Library, presented in partnership with the Poetry Society of New York.read more
Richard Ford to Receive Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
Professor Richard Ford, author of Independence Day, the first novel to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival on August 31, 2read more
Alumna Carlie Hoffman '16 Announces Debut Poetry Collection, 'This Alaska"'
Alumna Carlie Hoffman ‘16 had her first collection of poems,This Alaska, picked up by Four Way Books, forthcoming in 2021.read more
Professor Binnie Kirshenbaum's Latest Novel 'Rabbits for Food' out Now
Professor Binnie Kirshenbaum’s new novel Rabbits for Food was named An Amazon Best Book of the Month for May 2019 and A LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2019, and it's out now through SOHO Press.read more
Alumnus Aaron Hamburger '01 Publishes New Novel 'Nirvana is Here'
Fiction alumnus Aaron Hamburger '01 has a new novel, Nirvana is Here, available through Three Rooms Press.read more
Alumna Marin Sardy '13 to Release Debut Memoir 'The Edge of Every Day'
Nonfiction alumna Marin Sardy '13 releases her debut memoir, The Edge of Every Day, on May 21, 2019 through Penguin Random House.read more