MFA in Creative Writing - Fiction
The MFA in Creative Writing-Fiction is a three-year residency program culminating in a Masters of Fine Arts degree and book-length thesis. In addition to core workshop classes, including the acclaimed Story Workshop® approach, students have considerable freedom to choose from one of the largest selections of genre and specialty writing classes of any graduate program in the country.
Award-Winning Faculty and Distinguished Visiting Writers
Our faculty are working writers actively engaged in the literary and cultural community. Members of our faculty have written national and international bestsellers, have published stories in Granta, Tin House, and McSweeneys, among others, and have been the recipients of the Whiting Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Nelson Algren Literary Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the Chicago Public Library's 21st Century Award. In addition to our distinguished faculty, we have boasted numerous prestigious visiting writers, such as Dorothy Allison, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Kwame Dawes, Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Lethem, Joyce Carol Oates, Salman Rushdie, Sapphire, and Irvine Welsh.
Editorial and Publication Opportunities
There are numerous opportunities for students to work as editors on Columbia's award-winning journals: Hair Trigger, the Fiction Program’s annual student fiction anthology; Fictionary, the Fiction Program’s nationally distributed newsletter; and F Magazine, a journal devoted primarily to novels-in-progress. In addition to editorial positions, students may also publish their prose in these awarding-winning journals. Hair Trigger student contributors have won a record-breaking 60 individual awards for excellence from the Columbia University Scholastic Press Association.
Graduate students may take tutor training classes that prepare them, using Story Workshop® techniques and concepts, to work one on one with undergraduate Creative Writing students to help them develop a stronger sense of their own writing process, and most important, give individualized attention on their fiction.
Through a variety of events—the annual Story Week and Creative Nonfiction Week festivals; an extensive series of public readings; campus visits by renowned writers, agents, publishers and editors; Semester in LA; Summer in Prague; and more—students regularly intersect with the local, national, and international literary communities. Participation in these initiatives, as well as the focus on writing and the requirement of a book-length literary work, prepares Columbia graduate students to enter the literary field as accomplished artists with professional credentials.
Candidates for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing—Fiction must complete 45 units of study, including 21-24 semester hours of writing courses (a six-hour emphasis may be elected in screenwriting, playwriting, or practice teaching), 9-12 semester hours of electives in Critical Reading and Writing courses, 3 semester hours of a graduate thesis development course, or equivalent, and 6 semester hours of graduate thesis (200 + pages).