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
Beyond Black and White: Writing about the Multiracial Experience
Lenfest Center for the Arts, 615 W. 129 St., New York, NY 10027 6:30 PM
Malcolm Hansen '14 and Professor Victor LaValle '98, both mixed race authors, will tackle questions of authenticity and inclusion; self-policing in the black community and exceptionalism in the white community. The importance of owning one's own multicultural experience and how that experience has changed over the past 50 years.
Alumna Jean Kyoung Frazier ’18 Delivers Anticipated Debut Novel, ‘Pizza Girl’
Even though Pizza Girl, debut novel by alumna Jean Kyoung Frazier ’18 has yet to hit bookstores (scheduled for release this summer), it has already made a mark as one of the more anticipated titles of the year.read more
Announcing the Ellis Avery Prize for Creative Writing
We are thrilled to announce a new prize in the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program, established in honor of Ellis Avery, our beloved professor.read more
Professor Wendy Walters Wins 2020 Creative Capital Award
Given in support of innovative and adventurous artists, the lucrative prize will allow Walters to finish her long-term book project.read more
“The Artist Who Gave Up Her Daughter” by Alumna Sasha Bonét '16 Named Essay of the Year by 'Longreads'
The essay was also selected by Longform as one of the best essays of 2019, alongside picks from the New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.read more
'Temporary,' Debut Novel by Alumna and Faculty Member Hilary Leichter Drops in March
Temporary is Leichter’s funny, absurdist novel about capitalist society taken to a dreamlike extreme.read more
IVP Books Publishes A Prayer for Orion, Memoir by Alumna Katherine James ’06
A Prayer for Orion: A Son's Addiction and a Mother's Love follows a mother through the twists and turns of her son's addiction.read more