Columbia College Chicago

Fiction, MFA

Consider it an open invitation for experimentation. Our Fiction MFA program not only accepts different aesthetic styles, it demands them through encouragement from a variety of faculty, classes and teaching and publishing opportunities. We expect you to go beyond what normally would be expected of you, because we want you to go places no other writers have been.

Through it all, you’ll build an awareness of the overall traditional literary conversation, but you won’t be living it. Instead, you’ll be encouraged by your fellow students—and encouraging them in turn—to forge your own path, from serving as a graduate school instructor or teaching assistant to immersing yourself in publishing and portfolio opportunities in pursuit of your own unique voice. 

Application Information

What to Expect Your First Year

During your first year in the MFA program, you’ll immerse yourself in writing workshops with fellow students. You’ll engage in professional publishing and teaching opportunities, and you’ll take a hard look at writers who inspire you. You’ll also explore how those other writers make choices, as you experience how a structured pursuit of your craft can lead to transcendental artistic breakthroughs.

What to Expect Your Last Year

As you conclude your MFA program, you’ll conduct a deep inquiry into your own works and create a substantial thesis, working one-on-one with a faculty member. But there’s so much more: You’ll take advantage of opportunities in teaching as a graduate student instructor or teaching assistant. You can also take additional publishing courses or increase your exposure to a variety of professional opportunities.

Detailed Program Information
For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

Our Fiction MFA program is all about community: your community of fellow MFA students, the arts and communications community you’ll form at Columbia, and the Chicago writing community at large. No matter your end game, you’ll be presented with incomparable opportunities for networking and collaboration:

  • Participate in the Creative Writing Reading Series, which attracts prestigious, award-winning fiction writers. As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with writers and discuss your work.
  • Hone your teaching skills by working as a graduate student instructor or teaching assistant.
  • Delve into the world of publishing with additional classes and opportunities to work on Hair Trigger magazine, a highly professional publication featuring the best fiction writing from Columbia students.
  • Participate in the student-run 33 Reading Series, which features readings by MFA students in Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry.
  • 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 Fiction MFA program can help you land are vast; in addition to the graduate student instructor opportunities available at Columbia, there are numerous positions available at newspapers, trade magazines, banks, personnel firms, legal firms, television companies, advertising agencies and more. The companies receive your strong writing skills, and you make professional contacts and create a portfolio of real-world work.

See the Career Center website for more information.



Graduate Counselor
Emily Schmidt

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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