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:

'Slingshot' by Cyrée Jarelle Johnson ’19 Nominated for The Firecracker Award 2020

'Slingshot' by Cyrée Jarelle Johnson ’19 Nominated for The Firecracker Award 2020

Winner of the Lambda award for gay poetry, Slingshot has received much critical acclaim since its publication late last year.

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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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'Want' by Lynn Steger Strong out in July

'Want' by Lynn Steger Strong out in July

The novel headlined a Vulture review as “the summer book I couldn’t put down,” has joined multiple summer reading lists including the New York Times, LitHub, and Buzzfeed.

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Diksha Basu '14 Releases Second Novel, 'Destination Wedding'

Diksha Basu '14 Releases Second Novel, 'Destination Wedding'

Terry McMillan, author of It’s Not All Downhill From Here, calls Destination Wedding “[a] witty and romantic novel perfect for all readers.”

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Dorothea Lasky and Abigail Chabitnoy: What are you working on now?

Dorothea Lasky and Abigail Chabitnoy: What are you working on now?

Since 2018, Associate Professor of Writing Dorothea Lasky has invited a dazzling array of poets to the Lenfest Center for the Arts, including Ken Chen, CAConrad, Anaïs Duplan, Matthea Harvey, Douglas Kearney, Myung Mi Kim, Wayne Koestenbaum, Fred Mot

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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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