Columbia University School of the Arts :: NewPages Guide Creative Writing Programs

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Columbia University School of the Arts

Writing Program

Contact Information:

415 Dodge Hall, MC 1804

2960 Broadway

New York, NY 10027


Program director: Sam Lipsyte

Program contact: Bill Wadsworth

Phone: (212) 854-4391


Program Information:

Degrees offered: MFA

Type of program: residency

Length of program: 2-3 years

Genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, joint course of study in literary translation

Enrollment: 290

Total credits required: 60

Application deadlines: 1/6/2014

Scholarships available: yes (see website)

Assistantships: yes (see website)

Core faculty: Donald Antrim, Susan Bernofsky, Lucie Brock-Broido, Nicholas Christopher, Stacey D'Erasmo, Timothy Donnelly, Deborah Eisenberg, Richard Ford, Lis Harris, Richard Howard, Margo Jefferson, Heidi Julavits, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Dorothea Lasky, Victor LaValle, Sam Lipsyte, Richard Locke, Phillip Lopate, Ben Marcus, Patricia O'Toole, Gary Shteyngart, Mark Strand, Alan Ziegler

Visiting faculty: Paul Beatty, Jonathan Dee, Geoff Dyer, James Fenton, John Freeman, Rivka Galchen, Edith Grossman, Laura Kipnis, Hari Kunzru, Dorothea Lasky, Erroll McDonald, Sigrid Nunez, Darryl Pinckney, Richard Rodriguez, James Wood

Publishing/editing courses: yes (see website)

Literary magazine: Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art

Reading series: yes (see website)

Program description: The Columbia University School of the Arts MFA Writing Program, offering concentrations in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry, and a joint course of study in Literary Translation, is highly regarded for artistic diversity and for its outstanding faculty of acclaimed writers and editors. The rigorous approach to literary instruction requires 60 credits over 2-3 years of study.

At the core of the curriculum is the writing workshop. All workshops are small, 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 and have regularly scheduled one-on-one conferences with faculty. Thesis workshops are dedicated to shaping each student’s work into book form.

The School of the Arts Writing Program considers the study of literature from the practitioner’s point of view—reading as a writer—essential to a writer’s education. In addition to their workshops, students take 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.

Extracurricular programming includes the Creative Writing Lecture Series, Nonfiction Dialogues, student reading series, Columbia: A Journal, Our Word: Writers of Color, and events to introduce students to editors and agents. Internships, scholarships, and teaching fellowships are available.