FAQ

General Questions

What is "newschoolwriting.org"?

It's a blog that features the people and accomplishments of writers at The New School.

What is the writing community like at The New School?

Students come to The New School from across the United States and around the world to live the writer’s life in New York City. To study at The New School is to join a prestigious community of writers who are experimenting and evolving together.

In the tradition of New York City and creative culture, The New School offered the first academic creative writing workshop, and pioneered a new philosophy of education. The idea: students would contribute their own lives and their own stories to their educations. Long before the MFA program existed, The New School was committed to teaching and guiding new writers drawn to New York in search of inspiration, mentorship and fellow writers. Today, students at all levels study writing as a living art. Our master teachers are themselves preeminent authors.

Are there literary events at The New School?

Yes, The New School hosts an extraordinary calendar of events: readings, panels, book releases, award ceremonies and more. There are over over thirty public events each semester with additional events for students and alumni.

What are the offerings of the writing curriculum at The New School?

The New School offers an internationally renowned MFA in Creative Writing program, with concentrations in Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Writing for Children; a ground-breaking curriculum for undergraduates, which includes the Riggio Honors Program: Writing & Democracy; and an extensive roster of on-campus and online workshops and seminars, including the Summer Writers Colony, open to both degree students of the School of Undergraduate Studies and Continuing Education students.

Is The New School’s writing community engaged with the world of contemporary writing?

The New School is a vital force in Creative Writing—to New York City, to the nation, and to the world. The New School has established its excellence in all aspects of the writing life, from draft to publication.

Ongoing readings, lectures, forums, and other public programs bring visiting writers, teachers, editors, publishers, and literary agents to The New School. As an active player in today’s cultural conversation, The New School maintains long-standing relationships with foundational literary and cultural institutions, hosting awards ceremonies and events for the National Book Foundation, the National Book Critics Circle, PEN, Cave Canem, the Poetry Foundation, Villa Gillet, the Council of Literary Magazines and Publishers, the Poetry Society of America, the Academy of American Poets, the Story Prize, and the Publishing Triangle, among others.

The nationally-distributed literary journal LIT, which is edited and staffed by current graduate students and recent alumni of the MFA program. 12th Street, the award winning literary journal of the Riggio Honors Program: Writing &Democracy, is now in its eighth year.

Are writers from The New School published?

So far, in 2017, over 25 books were published by alumni; 10 books were published by faculty of The New School. For more about the books, stories, poems, essays, journals, films, organizations, and numerous other projects of our students and graduates, visit our alumni page.

Are there insurance options available to full-time students? Student discounts? What about funding? What about housing?

Yes. Student Services offers extensive opportunities, assistance and discounts. Programs include but are not limited to on and off campus housing, financial aid, work study, healthcare, transportation, software, free tickets, and local discounts. Specific questions should be directed to Student Services.

Where are classes held?

Our courses are held at our campus in Greenwich Village, just a few blocks from Union Square. Online courses are open to students from around the world.

When do classes take place?

The New School offers day and evening classes at all levels.

Who are some people who have taught writing at The New School? Who teaches writing at The New School now? Who are some people who’ve gone to The New School?

The New School faculty for writing and literature is a veritable who’s who of American poets, novelists, and essayists. Past professors have included Robert Frost, W. H. Auden, Robert Lowell, Amiri Baraka, Frank O’Hara, Kenneth Koch, Stanley Kunitz, Kay Boyle, May Sarton, Horace Gregory, Marguerite Young, William Goyen, Richard Yates, John F. Bardin, Edward Hoagland, David Ignatow, Alfred Kazin, Anatole Broyard, Carolyn Kizer, Daniel Halpern, Carol Muske Dukes, Bernadette Mayer, Pearl London, David Markson, and Gilbert Sorrentino. Current faculty and graduates, no less esteemed, are listed on the program pages for The New School’s MFA in Creative Writing, School of Undergraduate Studies, and program in Continuing Education.

Is writing community at The New School really new?

Yes and no. Creative writing has been taught at The New School since 1931, when The New School offered one of the first writing workshops in the world. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the MFA program in 2016.

MFA Questions

What are the areas of study in the MFA program?

We offer four concentrations: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, or Writing for Children and Young Adults.

What will I get out of an MFA from The New School? Are your graduates well published?

Since 1996, The New School has established itself as one of the most discerning, informed, and engaged graduate writing programs in the country. It's no accident that our alumni are among the most successfully published MFA graduates in the world, and have distinguished themselves as teachers, editors, publishers, and media professionals.

So far, in 2017, over 25 books were published by alumni; 10 books were published by faculty of The New School. For more about the books, stories, poems, essays, journals, films, organizations, and numerous other projects of our students and graduates, visit our alumni page.

How is the MFA in Creative Writing program engaged in the world of contemporary literature?

Ongoing readings, lectures, forums, and other public programs bring visiting writers, teachers, editors, publishers, and literary agents to The New School. As an active player in today’s cultural conversation, The MFA program maintains long-standing relationships with foundational literary and cultural institutions, hosting awards ceremonies and events for the National Book Foundation, the National Book Critics Circle, PEN, Cave Canem, the Poetry Foundation, the Community of Literary Magazines and Publishers, Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference, the Poetry Society of America, the Academy of American Poets, the Story Prize, and the Publishing Triangle, among others.

How does the MFA program give access to the publishing world?

Evenings with agents and editors, exclusively for MFA students, provide informal opportunities to meet publishing professionals. Courses and internships provide students with hands-on experience in publishing. In The Writing and Publishing Lab, students use new and traditional technologies to produce works that combine text and images, while also taking part in project-based internships. In Freeman's Journal Seminar, students help produce a professional journal distributed by Grove Press. Students also serve as editorial staff members and work with alumni on The New School's nationally distributed literary journal, LIT.

When do classes take place?

The New School MFA classes take place in the evening typically from 8 - 10:30. We also offer free Saturday master workshops and seminars on writing, teaching, and publishing exclusively for MFA Creative Writing students.

What are the program requirements?

The program is a 36-credit course of study that includes workshops, literary seminars and a one-on-one thesis tutorial.  Our aesthetically diverse faculty composed of 58 of today's most compelling and celebrated authors, who guide students through the drafting, writing and editorial processes that characterize writerly professionalism. In focused literary seminars, students learn to read as writers, expanding their vision and their practice.  Engaging with contemporary literature is at the core of our educational philosophy, and students are required to attend 16 of the 100+ program events per academic year. Supplementing the event schedule and weekly curriculum, 25 weekend workshops (per semester) take up subjects from prosody to the graphic novel to the lyric essay to science fiction to cultural criticism, offering cross-genre inquiry to all MFA students. You can read more about our degree requirements at the School of Writing website.

Is there a language requirement?

No.

Does the program allow for “cross genre”?

Interdisciplinary writers are welcome; our courses range from traditional text to multi-media events, and many of our faculty members are active on the forefront of new narrative design.  (Students pursuing two concentrations should figure on three years of study.)

What is the program size?  What's the student to faculty ratio? And what about class size?

In all four concentrations, we currently have 180 students, with thirty-five part-time and full time faculty, which is ratio of just about 6 to 1.  Our class size varies from 12 students in workshops to 16 in literary seminars.

What about Teaching and Research Assistant positions? Work study?

We have approximately five TAs who are current MFA students, as well as five research assistants and three program assistants.

What about MFA Fellowships?

All incoming first-years student are granted partial funding that may be renewed for all four semesters. Awards are based on the strength of the application and the contributions the admissions committee believe the applicant can make to the Creative Writing Program community. Scholarships cover a percentage of tuition from 15 percent to 50 percent. A substantial proportion of our accepted students are offered merit scholarships.

What are the application requirements for the MFA program? Do I have to take the GRE to apply?

The prerequisites to apply are a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, a writing portfolio, and two letters of recommendation. The GRE is not required.

Prospective students who need to build a writing portfolio before applying to the MFA in Creative Writing are encouraged to take a Continuing Education writing workshop at The New School.

What kind of writers are you looking for?  Is there a program "voice"?

Our students bring a diversity of life experiences and artistic voices to the program. We do not elevate any particular aesthetic over another; there is no New School style. Our program’s focus on developing each writer’s unique voice attracts students from across the country and the world.

Our students are of different ages, and come from many countries, ethnic backgrounds, and professions. We encourage the exploration of the practical and philosophical considerations of what it means to be a writer in the world.

Undergraduate Questions

Is there an undergraduate major?  Is the undergraduate major a good program for adults and transfer students?

Yes.  The BA in Creative Writing is a 30-credit major comprised of writing workshops, literature courses, the Writer's Life Colloquium, and a 4-credit capstone course. Visit the University Course Catalog to view all undergraduate creative writing courses.  The BA in Creative Writing is geared to exceptional undergraduates, transfer students and adults who want to be well prepared for professional fields including editing, publishing, journalism, and new media, or graduate work in writing, literature, journalism, media or cultural studies.  To learn more about the BA in Creative Writing, and the flexible study options it offers, visit the program page at The New School.

What’s the Summer Writers Colony?

The Summer Writers Colony gives students the opportunity to discover the writer’s life in New York City. Each June, three short weeks transform the lives and creative practices of 36 students. Summer Writing Colony students participate in intensive workshops and literary salons with New School faculty members and visiting authors. Past visiting writers include Joan Acoccela, John Ashbery, Mary Jo Bang, Frank Bidart, Peter Carey, Susan Choi, Lucille Clifton, Billy Collins, Bruce Coville, John D’Agata, Lydia Davis, Jonathan Dee, Mark Doty, Jennifer Egan, Stephen Elliot, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Lynn Emanuel, Jeffrey Eugenides, Mary Gaitskill, Louise Glück, Jorie Graham, Andrew Sean Greer, Linda Gregg, Chad Harbach, Adam Haslett, Amy Hempel, A.M. Holmes, Fanny Howe, Major Jackson, Edward P. Jones, Heidi Julavits, Nicole Krauss, Ben Lerner, Lucette Lagnado, Jhumpa Lahiri, Dennis Lehane, Phillip Lopate, Sarah Manguso, Ann M. Martin, Domingo Martinez, Claire Messud, Rick Moody, Honor Moore, Walter Dean Myers, Maggie Nelson, Joyce Carol Oates, Joseph O’Neill, Brenda Shaughnessy, David Shields, Tracy K. Smith, Darin Strauss, John Jeremiah Sullivan, James Tate, Benjamin Taylor, Jean Valentine, Colson Whitehead, Elizabeth Winthrop, and Kevin Young.

The Summer Writers Colony is open to continuing education students and may be taken for 6 undergraduate credits or on a noncredit basis. The 2018 Summer Writers Colony begins June 4. For complete information and registration, go to the program page at The New School.

What's the Leonard and Louise Riggio Honors Program, Writing and Democracy?

The Writing & Democracy Program is an innovative undergraduate honors program for students interested in writing, literature, culture, and politics. Writers in this program participate in a 32-credit curriculum of writing workshops, literature and culture seminars, and a thesis project. The Writing & Democracy students also edit and produce 12th Street, and host a monthly reading series. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for both new students and current undergraduates from all divisions of The New School. Tuition assistance is available for students who undertake to complete the curriculum as part of their bachelor's degree requirements.

While the program is very young, Riggio graduates have already amassed an impressive array of accomplishments.  An incomplete tally includes: a novel with Harper Collins; a book of poems with a coveted indie press; enrollment in fully funded graduate programs in creative writing and journalism; national publications in venues such as The Nation, The Paris Review, The New York Times.

For more information, visit the program site.

Continuing Education Questions

What are the areas of study in Continuing Education?

The extensive curriculum of the program offers workshops to matriculated and continuing education students at all levels—in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, dramatic writing, journalism, writing for children—as well as special topics that focus on, for example, writing for New York Magazines, or the personal essay. Instead of lecturing at length, our practitioner-teachers provide guidance by focusing on student manuscripts in a rigorous but supportive environment. In workshop courses, students receive feedback from fellow students as well as written comments from the instructor, which not only works to improve the material at hand, but to broaden the writerly experience, and speed the creative evolution of each student.  Many of our short form students go on to publish articles with national newspapers and magazines, from  The New York Times to Cosmopolitan to O to The Paris Review to Granta to Vice and everything in between.  In long form writing, our students have gone on to sell books to large and small publishers.  Our authorial success stories include some of the biggest names in writing: from Mario Puzzo to Jack Kerouac to Madeleine L’Engle.

The Writing Program also offers fundamental writing courses designed for students addressing grammar, structure, and style. If you have not completed a college course in composition, we encourage you to enroll in a fundamentals course before moving on to a workshop.

Where can I find The New School’s offerings in Continuing Education?

Visit the registration site to view and register for continuing education courses in the Writing Program.