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
All School of the Arts events have been postponed or cancelled until further notice. Please see our Cancelled Events page for a list of all events and updates.
‘The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness’ Memoir by Alumna Sarah Ramey '07 Published This Month
The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness, is described by Goodreads as “a page-turning medical mystery that reveals a new understanding of today’s illnesses.”read more
Undergraduate Writing Alumna Morgan Parker '10 Wins National Book Critic Award
Undergraduate Writing Alumna Morgan Parker ’10 recently won the National Book Critic Circle Award in poetry with her book Magical Negro.read more
Translations by Alumna Meg Matich ’15 Published in US and UK
Magma, a novel by Þóra Hjörleifsdóttir, translated by alumna Meg Matich ’15, will be published simultaneously in the US, by Grove Atlantic, and the UK, by Picador.read more
‘The Minister of Disturbances’ by Alumnus Zeeshan Khan Pathan ’18 Releases to Much Praise
Winner of the Diode Editions’ poetry contest, The Minister of Disturbances by alumnus Zeeshan Khan Pathan ’18 has received advance praise.read more
'Valley of Empty Pockets,' Debut Poetry Collection by Alumnus Eric Helms '12
Will be published by Main Street Rag Press in April of 2020.read more
Cyree Jarelle Johnson '19 Nominated for a Lambda for 'Slingshot'
The book, published by Nightboat Books, came out in September 2019 to rave reviews.read more