Fiction (MFA)

Time to degree: Three years (38 credits)
Part-time options are available

Think of this as an open invitation to experiment. Columbia College Chicago’s Master of Fine Arts in Fiction program not only accepts different aesthetic styles, it demands them. You’ll push your boundaries and grow as a writer with the help of faculty members and peers. 

You’ll build an awareness of the overall traditional literary conversation, and you’ll be encouraged to forge your own path as a writer. If you choose, you’ll work as a graduate school instructor or teaching assistant and take advantage of publishing and portfolio opportunities. 

fiction mfa

In the Classroom

During your first year in the MFA program, you’ll immerse yourself in writing workshops with fellow students and have professional publishing and teaching opportunities. You’ll take a hard look at writers who inspire you, studying their creative processes as you work on your craft in a structured environment. 

As you study the form and theory of fiction, you’ll work with students and faculty members in both Nonfiction and Poetry.

As you finish your MFA program, you’ll build on your work from previous classes to create a substantial thesis with the help of a faculty member.

But there’s so much more:

  • Take advantage of opportunities in teaching as a graduate student instructor or teaching assistant.
  • Increase your exposure to professional opportunities through an internship.
  • 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.


professor joe meno

English and Creative Writing Professor Joe Meno

As a student in Columbia College Chicago’s Fiction MFA program, you’ll foster close working relationships with our award-winning faculty members in a small, intimate community of writers.

You’ll find a home at Columbia if you’re looking for a program that emphasizes discipline and process, exposure to a broad literary conversation, and guidance in publishing. Our faculty members will support you as you stretch yourself. As artistic role models, they’ll encourage and inspire you to take risks—because they’ve been taking risks for years.

Our faculty includes award-winning fiction writers:

  • Don De Grazia
  • Garnett Kilberg Cohen
  • Patricia Ann McNair
  • Joe Meno
  • Alexis Pride
  • Sam Weller 

See all English and Creative Writing Faculty

Opportunities for Graduate Students

Columbia College Chicago offers several opportunities for graduate students, including scholarships, assistantships, and instructing opportunities. 

See More Information

Alumni Success

Columbia College Chicago’s Fiction MFA alumni write their own success stories. Many of our alumni publish their own books, move on to teaching positions at prominent institutions, or get PhDs. Others put their writing skills to work for major corporations and industries around the country. 

Here are just a few of our alumni who have created names for themselves in the writing world:

Jessie Ann Foley MFA ’12

Jessie Ann Foley's first novel, "The Carnival at Bray," launched her career as an award-winning writer.

Read More

Chris Terry MFA ’12

Chris Terry learned the benefits of producing as much work as possible while studying at Columbia.

Read More

Chicago: A Literary City


Living and studying in Chicago means you’ll have opportunities to participate in the literary community here. The city has one of the country’s best live literary scenes, with a diverse range of styles and genres and a welcoming environment for new writers. 

Creative Writing Reading Series

smiling students enjoying reading by author

The Creative Writing Reading Series at Columbia College Chicago is one of the most dynamic, aesthetically diverse events of its kind in the city. Hosted by the English and Creative Writing Department, the series attracts prestigious, award-winning writers. 

As a graduate student in the Fiction MFA program, you’ll have a front row seat to these shows and may even have an opportunity to read your own work.

See upcoming visiting writers