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Writing Classes in New York City with School Overviews

Feb 22, 2019

There are several schools within ten miles of New York City that have writing classes. Read an overview of three schools' programs, requirements and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

New York City Schools with Writing Classes

Aspiring writers in New York City can find undergraduate and graduate classes and programs at an Ivy League school, a large private university and a public college. Summaries of the programs and schools can be found below, along with a comparison table with key institutional facts and an overview of other college and university options.

  • New York University, located less than two miles from downtown Manhattan, offers undergraduate and graduate writing classes, workshops and programs.
  • CUNY Hunter College offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in creative writing. Located on the Upper East Side, less than seven miles from Manhattan's downtown, Hunter College is affiliated with the City University of New York (CUNY).
  • Columbia University offers a bachelor's degree program in creative writing and master's degree programs in playwriting, fiction, poetry and nonfiction. A member of the Ivy League, Columbia University is located about eight miles from downtown Manhattan.

Comparison of Schools

This table can help future writers decide which school best suits their budgets. Notable statistics include the selective acceptance rates, as well as the high graduation percentage at Columbia University.

New York University CUNY Hunter College Columbia University
School Type Four-year; private, not-for-profit Four-year; public Four-year; private, not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017)* 51,123 23,005 30,454
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $50,464 $6,982 in-state; $14,372 out-of-state $57,208
% First-Year Undergraduates Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017)* 54% 81% 59%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* 28% 40% 7%
Retention Rate (2016-2017)* 93% for full-time students; 71% for part-time students 83% for full-time students; 80% for part-time students 97% for full-time students; 91% for part-time students
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (students who began in 2011)* 84% 52% 95%

Source: *NCES College Navigator

New York University

New York University (NYU) offers both writing classes and programs. Summer writing workshops are available, and undergraduate students can take master classes, minor in creative writing or major in dramatic writing. The school also offers graduate degree programs in writing and dramatic writing.

Summer On-Campus Writing Workshops

NYU offers summer workshops to current, visiting and precollege students. One session is offered from May through July, and another takes place in July and August. The first session consists of introductory poetry and fiction courses. The second session includes intermediate classes in fiction and poetry.

Writers in New York Program

This immersive, four-week writing workshop program takes place from late May/early June to late June. Writers of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction attend afternoon or evening writing classes, workshops, seminars, lectures and readings. They can also participate in events, primarily held at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, a historic townhouse in Greenwich Village. Students have opportunities to talk to local writers and publishers, as well as participate in various cultural activities and field trips.

Minor in Creative Writing

Undergraduates can minor in creative writing by earning 16 credits and maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher in writing classes. The program starts with an introductory course in fiction and poetry. Students fulfill additional credit requirements through intermediate and advanced creative writing courses, master classes and summer workshops in New York and abroad.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English with Concentration in Creative Writing

This 4-year program prepares students to work as professional writers. During the first two years, students develop their writing techniques and fulfill general education requirements in the liberal arts. Coursework covers dramatic text analysis, writing history and writing techniques.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Dramatic Writing

This four-year program prepares students to work as professional playwrights or screenwriters. During the first two years, students develop their writing techniques and fulfill general education requirements in the liberal arts. Upper-level students take classes in all concentration areas, but must specialize in film writing, TV writing or playwriting.

Coursework covers dramatic text analysis, writing history and writing techniques. Students hone their writing craft through intensive writing workshops with an average class size of 12. Before graduating, students develop full-length plays or screenplays. They also complete internships and have the opportunity to converse about their futures with agents, directors and producers.

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing

Students in this program can hone their writing skills and prepare for postsecondary teaching opportunities. Students have the opportunity to also take a writing workshop in Paris. Students will develop their writing styles in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. This program is 32 credits long, and students must submit a large piece of writing at the end of the program.

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Dramatic Writing

This two-year M.F.A. program requires students to write for both the stage and the screen. Throughout their studies, students can attend colloquia, master classes and seminars with entertainment industry guest speakers. During the first year, students take writing seminars in which they must complete an original one-act play, a full-length play and a full-length screenplay. In the second year, students concentrate on playwriting or screenwriting in preparation for their theses. At the conclusion of the program, students prepare a creative thesis in the form of a full-length dramatic work.

CUNY Hunter College

Through the Department of English at CUNY Hunter College, students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in creative writing. Undergraduate students who meet GPA requirements and take honors courses may seek departmental honors.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English with a Creative Writing Concentration

In addition to general education courses and university requirements, students complete 39 concentration-area credits. To declare the concentration, students must earn a grade of 'B' or higher in the introductory creative writing course. Coursework consists of 15 credits of literature and 12 credits of creative writing workshops and nine credits of electives. Including the introductory course, students take four creative writing workshops, with at least one at the advanced level. Seminars cover topics like nonfiction, fiction, poetry, narrative form, advanced prose and revision. Electives could include honors seminars and individual creative project tutorials.

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing

The M.F.A. in Creative Writing is a two-year degree program that provides writing and literary education. Every semester, students take weekly craft seminars and workshops. Craft seminars involve reading literature from a writer's perspective and applying learned techniques to writing assignments. Workshops provide students with critiques and guidance. In each of their first two semesters, students also complete a graduate-level literature class.

Every semester, students must attend the Distinguished Writer Series of lectures and participate in a research seminar. After their second semester, students may apply to teach an introductory writing course to undergraduates. In their third year, students take a writing course, in which they receive mentorship from a faculty member, and complete a thesis.

Columbia University

Studying literature from the perspective of the writer is the foundation for creative writing coursework at Columbia. Bachelor's and master's programs in creative writing are offered through the School of the Arts; students not seeking a degree in the field may also take creative writing classes.

Creative Writing Studies Program

The creative writing program at Columbia University offers courses to students who are not seeking a creative writing degree. Students may enroll whether or not they are seeking college credit. Classes cover topics like nonfiction, fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting and literary publishing.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Creative Writing

Students can concentrate their creative writing degree in fiction, poetry, literary translation or nonfiction. Students may also take a master class, typically taught by a visiting artist, covering a special topic. Students can also work as research assistants to writers.

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing

The 60-credit M.F.A. program involves rigorous literary instruction designed to improve the writer's practical craft. Students can concentrate in fiction, poetry or literary nonfiction. They take three workshops within their concentration and complete 21 points of lectures, master classes and writing seminars. Those concentrating in nonfiction are required to take a research seminar, while those studying poetry must complete an additional writing workshop.

Students also take six credits of electives that may include additional classes, for-credit internships and/or independent studies. The program culminates with a thesis workshop, in which students prepare their final work: a 35-page manuscript or a collection of 20 pages of poems.

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Theatre Arts with a Playwriting Concentration

Students in this two-year M.F.A. program can develop their own voice as they hone their playwriting skills and techniques. They're not required to work with full-length or one-act structures, but rather are encouraged to pursue the forms in which they prefer to work. Coursework includes workshops and readings, as well as productions of students' plays.

Other School Options

Additional New York City schools that provide training for writers include Yeshiva University, where students can study both creative and technical writing. M.F.A. programs in creative writing are offered at The New School, CUNY City College and CUNY Queens College. Nearby, CUNY Brooklyn College offers bachelor's and master's degrees in creative writing. Outside New York City, students can study creative writing at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, Adelphi University in Garden City and Hofstra University in Hempstead.

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