Columbia College Chicago

Creative Writing, BA

Diversity: It’s the name of the game for Columbia’s Creative Writing 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 essence of Creative Writing at Columbia, where we push boundaries and redefine borders.

By choosing a concentration in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, you’ll immerse yourself in your preferred mode of writing—but by working within all genres, you’ll develop transferrable skills that will help you become a more effective writer. Through our Writer’s Portfolio class and a thesis project your senior year, you’ll create a substantial manuscript and begin to identify career opportunities in writing.

And through it all, 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.

You'll choose from one of three concentrations:

What to Expect Your First Year

You’re a writer, and you want to write. As a Creative Writing major, you’ll write from day one, immediately learning about the process of creating your own content—while actually creating it.

Your introduction to the program starts with two courses: Foundations in Creative Writing and Beginning Workshop. Here, you’ll lay the groundwork for successful writing by experimenting with a number of different writing styles and forms. And it’s not just about writing. Through effective reading in literature courses, you’ll become a more effective writer.

You’ll also take elective classes in the visual and performing arts, new media and other areas. These elective courses throughout Columbia will open your eyes to the many ways in which writing allows you to participate in contemporary conversations on social and cultural change.

What to Expect Your Last Year

Throughout your time in the Creative Writing program, you’ll amass a body of work—and during your senior year, you’ll learn what to do with it. You’ll complete a substantial manuscript in your Thesis Workshop class, have the opportunity to take part in readings and performances around campus, and begin the process of submitting your work with the help of the student-run Publishing Lab.

You’ll also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in publishing, editing and production classes; serve as an editor on one of Columbia’s nationally distributed student publications; or tackle an internship. Regardless of the path you choose, you’ll not only continue to hone your skills, you’ll learn how to see your work in the context of a large national conversation in the field of creative writing.

Detailed Program Information

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

As a Creative Writing student at an arts and communications institution in a vibrant, world-class city, you’ll enjoy incomparable opportunities for networking and collaboration. You can:

  • Participate in the Creative Writing Reading Series, which includes interacting with visiting prestigious, award-winning writers who perform, engage and educate on myriad topics and traditions.
  • Participate in the Writers at Lunch program, which brings together undergraduate students in all disciplines for readings, panel discussions and meetings with professionals in the field.
  • Work on Columbia’s renowned student-edited, nationally distributed publications, including Columbia Poetry Review, Hair Trigger and Punctuate. From submitting work to taking the lead in publishing, editing and producing, you can contribute to these highly professional publications.
  • Interact with distinguished organizations based in Chicago, including the Poetry Foundation.
  • Create reading series, journals or presses of your own.
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 Creative Writing 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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