45 Credit Hours (MFA) or
63 Credit Hours (MFA/MA)
Two Degree Options for Committed Writers
The Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago offers two degree options, which guide committed fiction writers to advanced achievement in the theory and practice of writing and the teaching of writing. The two-year MFA program in Creative Writing-Fiction focuses intently on the development of the student’s own work, while the three-year combined course of study (MFA/MA) encourages them to explore the relationship between writing and teaching.
two degree options guide committed fiction writers to advanced achievement in the theory and practice of writing and the teaching of writing
The MA expands upon a pedagogy component introduced in the MFA Fiction program and brings hands-on practice teaching and enhanced credentials to the student’s portfolio. A substantive work of fiction in the form of a publishable-quality thesis results from both programs, and often serves as a point of entry into a career in writing, teaching, or publishing.
Story Workshop© Approach
Both degree options are deeply rooted in fiction writing and prose form classes that employ Columbia’s exclusive Story Workshop© approach. This dynamic, nationally renowned method of teaching, developed by the College’s own John Schultz, emphasizes the development of a student’s unique voice, story content, and writing process. Students in the MFA program in Creative Writing-Fiction are taught to tap into their imagination and potential for creative problem solving as they explore the interrelated processes of reading, listening, perceiving, experiencing, oral telling, critical thinking, and writing—all in an intimate setting that stresses close individual attention and constructive feedback.
students choose from the largest selection of specialty writing classes of any graduate program in the county
A Rich Variety of Forms, Modes and Genres
In addition to Story Workshop© core courses, students have considerable freedom to choose from the largest selection of specialty writing classes of any graduate program in the county, such as: young adult fiction, science fiction, historical fiction, creative nonfiction, and playwriting. Students also benefit from the opportunity to work with a faculty of professional writers who are actively engaged in creating novels, short stories, plays, prose, and various types of genre fiction. This exposure to a rich variety of forms, modes, and genres is reflected in the diversity of writing produced by Columbia students.
There are numerous opportunities for students to publish their work in Columbia's award-winning journals. Hair Trigger, the Fiction Department’s annual anthology, has won first-place prizes from three national student publication competitions and student contributors have won a record-breaking 60 individual awards for excellence from the Columbia University Scholastic Press Association. The department also sponsors two other nationally distributed publications: Spec-Lit, a science fiction journal, and F Magazine, a journal devoted primarily to novels in progress. These publications empower students to find their own voices, give them a vehicle through which to showcase their writing to a wider audience, and expose them to the workings of a professional literary environment.
students regularly intersect with the local, national, and international literary communities
Columbia also offers career development opportunities in the form of outreach initiatives. 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, combined with publication opportunities, training in the unique Story Workshop© approach, exposure to a diverse range of writing courses and faculty, and the development of a mature portfolio, prepares Columbia students to enter the literary field as accomplished artists with professional credentials.