Columbia College Chicago

Poetry, BA

Diversity: It’s the name of the game for Columbia’s Poetry program. From the multitude of elective classes in literature and visual and performing arts to the range of styles and backgrounds of our faculty, you’ll be exposed to the the essence of Creative Writing at Columbia, where writers learn to push boundaries and redefine borders.

And it’s not just about writing. Through effective reading, you’ll become a more effective writer. You’ll see how the discipline of poetry has opened itself to new modes of expression, and how it’s still doing so today. And you’ll take it from the page to the stage—learning how to give public readings of your work as you find your own unique voice.

What to Expect Your First Year

Your introduction to the Poetry program starts with two courses: Foundations in Creative Writing and Poetry Workshop: Beginning. Both of these set the stage for exposure to an assortment of writing styles and workshop approaches. Through literature courses that span a variety of historical periods, authors and themes—and through craft seminars that help you generate new poems from your study of literature—you’ll also gain a distinctive familiarity with the common language of the discipline of poetry writing. 

What to Expect Your Last Year

You’ll conclude the Poetry program with Poetics, which combines the writing of poetry with the study of poetic theory as articulated by poets themselves through the ages, and an Undergraduate Thesis Development Seminar in which you’ll write a thesis of poems. You will also have the opportunity to write for and contribute to the publishing of the Columbia Poetry Review or practice performing your work through workshop-style courses.

For requirements and more information about this program, visit the course catalog.

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

As a Poetry student at an arts and communications institution in a vibrant, world-class city, you’ll be presented with incomparable opportunities for networking and collaboration: 

  • Participate in the Creative Writing Reading Series, which includes interacting with visiting prestigious, award-winning poets who perform, engage and educate on a myriad of topics and traditions.
  • Participate in the Writers at Lunch program, which brings together undergraduate students in Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry for readings, panel discussions, and meetings with professionals in the field.
  • Work on Columbia Poetry Review, the student-edited, nationally distributed literary journal now in its thirtieth year. 
  • Interact with distinguished poetry organizations based in Chicago, including the Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine.  
What are my internship options?

Employers in a variety of fields look for experienced, competent and confident employees who are strong communicators. The internship opportunities that Columbia’s Poetry program can help you land are vast—newspapers, trade magazines, banks, personnel firms, legal firms, television companies, advertising agencies and more. Companies and organizations get your strong writing skills, and you make professional contacts and create a portfolio of real-world work at places like The Daily Show, Disney, Pitchfork Media and Time Out Chicago.

See the Career Center website for more information.


Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

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