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 10 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 on studying at Columbia University

Upcoming Events

Stay Tuned for the 2020-2021 School of the Arts Events Calendar.

Writing News:

Professor Hilton Als Named Presidential Visiting Scholar at Princeton

Professor Hilton Als Named Presidential Visiting Scholar at Princeton

According to Princeton, the visiting scholars program “is intended to support visitors from academic or professional fields who can contribute to the University’s diversity, broadly defined.”

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'The Margot Affair,' by Sanae Lemoine '15 out June 16

'The Margot Affair,' by Sanae Lemoine '15 out June 16

The New York Times calls the book “gorgeous,” describing Lemoine’s prose as “lush, lyrical... perfectly captur[ing] the heightened emotion and confusion of being a young woman with a bruised heart and limited experience.”

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Writers in Collaboration: A Model Writer

Writers in Collaboration: A Model Writer

Writers in Collaboration is a series covering writers involved in two art mediums and/or working with other artists.

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'The Change: My Great American, Postindustrial, Midlife Crisis Tour' by Lori Soderlind

'The Change: My Great American, Postindustrial, Midlife Crisis Tour' by Lori Soderlind

The Change is a memoir about Soderlind’s decision to embark on a cross-country trip with her dog following a sort of midlife crisis.

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Columbia Writers on Buzzfeed's 2020 Summer Reading List

Columbia Writers on Buzzfeed's 2020 Summer Reading List

Want by Adjunct Assistant Professor Lynn Steger Strong and Pizza Girl by Alumna Jean Kyoung Frazier ’18. Both books are also featured in LitHub’s “The Best New Books to Read This Summer.”  

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Cyrée Jarelle Johnson '19 Wins Lambda for 'Slingshot'

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson '19 Wins Lambda for 'Slingshot'

Previous recipients of the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry include CAConrad, Justin Phillip Reed, Danez Smith, and Nicholas Wong.

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