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Creative writing program columbia

Creative Writing

You’re a writer, and you want to write. In the Creative Writing bachelor’s degree program at Columbia College Chicago, you’ll write from day one, immediately discovering your creative process as you craft stories, poems, essays, and hybrid texts.

Diversity: it’s the name of the game in creative writing at Columbia, where we push boundaries and redefine borders. During your time here, you’ll study works by writers from many different cultures, and you’ll develop your own writing alongside a diverse group of students and faculty members.

You’ll choose a concentration in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry to focus on your favorite literary form. But you’ll work within all genres, developing transferrable skills that will help you become a more effective writer. And through our Writer’s Portfolio class and a thesis project, you’ll begin to identify career opportunities as you create a substantial manuscript.

Concentrations

As a Creative Writing major at Columbia College Chicago, you’ll choose from one of three concentrations:

Fiction

Flex your storytelling muscles as you build a wide-ranging creative practice in writing. You’ll study classic and contemporary novels and short stories as well as experimental texts. By studying a diverse range of authors, you’ll develop critical reading and writing skills.

Nonfiction

Learn the history, forms, genres, and techniques of nonfiction writing. As you create your own body of work, you will study the evolving role of nonfiction writing in literature.

Poetry

Discover your poetic voice and develop your craft as you write the poems that are meaningful to you. By the time you graduate, you’ll be grounded in the history of poetry and poetics and will have mastered a variety of writing techniques.

In the Classroom
Your First Year

Your introduction to the Creative Writing bachelor’s degree program at Columbia College Chicago 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. Critical reading in literature courses informs your creative work and helps you become a more effective writer.

Other Courses You’ll Take

As a Creative Writing major, you’ll take 18 hours of core workshop courses and at least 12 of those will be in your chosen concentration. In the Writer’s Portfolio, a required junior-year course, you’ll reflect on the body of work you’ve created at Columbia.

In your capstone courses, you’ll learn what to do with the body of work you’ve made so far. You’ll complete a substantial manuscript in your Thesis Workshop class and use what you have learned in professional development courses to prepare for careers that interest you.

Along the way, you’ll have opportunities to take elective classes in the visual and performing arts, in new media, and in other areas. Combined with your writing workshops, these electives will open your eyes to the many ways writing enables you to participate in contemporary conversations on social and cultural change.

Columbia University School of the Arts

Hilton Als, Paul Beatty, Susan Bernofsky, Anelise Chen, Nicholas Christopher, Timothy Donnelly, Deborah Eisenberg, Richard Ford, Rivka Galchen, Lis Harris, Leslie Jamison, Margo Jefferson, Heidi Julavits, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Dorothea Lasky, Victor LaValle, Sam Lipsyte, Richard Locke, Phillip Lopate, Ben Marcus, Shane McCrae, Orhan Pamuk, Deborah Paredez, Gary Shteyngart, Wendy S. Walters, Lynn Xu, Alan Ziegler

Joshua Cohen, CAConrad, Cynthia Cruz, Meghan Daum, Nicholas Delbanco, Mark Doten, Farnoosh Fathi, Joshua Furst, Jen George, Alan Gilbert, Aracelis Girmay, Michael Greenberg, Xiaolu Guo, Madhu Kaza, John Keene, Nicole Krauss, Hari Kunzru, Paul La Farge, Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Lynn Melnick, Daphne Merkin, Ben Metcalf, Erroll McDonald, Kamila Aisha Moon, Jen Percy, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Alice Quinn, Camille Rankine, Christine Schutt, Leanne Shapton, Benjamin Taylor, Jia Tolentino, Lara Vapnyar, Natasha Wimmer, Brenda Wineapple, James Wood, Mark Wunderlich, Wendy Xu, Monica Youn, Jenny Zhang

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, NoViolet Bulawayo, Rachel Cusk, Mariana Enriquez, Maria Dahvana Headley, Lewis Hydes, Saeed Jones, Amitava Kumar, Catherine Lacey, Terese Marie Mailhot, Sawako Nakayasu, Maggie Nelson, Matthew Salesses, Namwali Serpell, Tracy K Smith, Emily Wilson

The Columbia University School of the Arts MFA Writing Program, offering concentrations in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry, and a joint course of study in Literary Translation, is highly regarded for its illustrious alumni, artistic diversity and outstanding faculty of acclaimed writers and editors. The rigorous approach to literary instruction requires 60 credits over 2 or more years of study. Extracurricular programming includes the Creative Writing Lecture Series, Nonfiction Dialogues, a poetry reading series, student reading series, and events to introduce students to editors and agents. Internships, scholarships, and teaching fellowships are available.

Program description: The Columbia University School of the Arts MFA Writing Program, offering concentrations in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry, and a joint course of study in Literary Translation, is highly regarded for artistic diversity and for its outstanding faculty of acclaimed writers and editors. The rigorous approach to literary instruction requires 60 credits over 2-3 years of study.

At the core of the curriculum is the writing workshop. All workshops are small, ensuring that all students present work at least three times per semester. Students receive substantial written responses to their work from their professors and classmates and have regularly scheduled one-on-one conferences with faculty. Thesis workshops are dedicated to shaping each student’s work into book form.

The School of the Arts Writing Program considers the study of literature from the practitioner’s point of view—reading as a writer—essential to a writer’s education. In addition to workshops, students take craft-oriented seminars and/or lectures designed to illuminate, inform, augment, and inspire each student’s experience and practice as a writer. New seminars, lectures, and master classes are created every year.

Extracurricular programming includes Life After the MFA professional panels and the annual Agents Mixer, Columbia Journal, Columbia Artists/Teachers, Incarcerated Writers Initiative, Veterans Writers Workshop, and Our Word (students advocating diversity).