• Curriculum

    This New School undergraduate writing initiative merges study and practice, the aesthetic and the social. The Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy builds on the mission and achievements of The New School's MFA in Creative Writing program and carries forward the New School tradition of the artist as public intellectual. Students in the Riggio program may also enroll in the BA in Creative Writing.

    Central to the Riggio program is the idea that literacy is crucial to democracy and that reading and writing skills include those associated with creative writing but extend to reading and writing about law, politics, biography, science, and technology. The program explores the distinctive forms of argumentation, style, and persuasion associated with these forms of expression. Although students are not expected to generate explicitly political poetry or fiction, there is an emphasis on "the writer in the world."

    The Riggio program curriculum consists of 32 credits of workshops (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) and literary seminars, culminating in a thesis project, and the Writer's Life Colloquium, which involves attendance at selected public readings, literary forums, lectures, symposia, and panel discussions.

    Writing Workshops

    Students select four courses (12 credits) from the many creative writing courses offered by the Writing Program every semester. At least two of the courses must be Riggio program workshops. In a writing workshop, an experienced writer-teacher works closely with students on their manuscripts, providing guidance in the creative acts of revision and self-editing. Class sessions are devoted mainly to discussion of students' writing. The workshops also require a substantial amount of reading of work by great authors, selected to help student writers by example. Students can select workshops in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, writing for children, developing craft, and journalism. Courses taken in writing fundamentals or composition cannot be used to fulfill Riggio program requirements.

    Literature Courses

    Students take four approved literature courses (12 credits). Students select courses from the Literature, Culture and Democracy subject area. The 12th Street Journal and certain university lecture courses also count toward the literature seminar requirement. These courses provide a rigorous introduction to literary research and the skills of close reading and critical analysis.

    Writer's Life Colloquium

    Students must register for the Writer's Life Colloquium (a one-credit course) for two semesters. The colloquium reflects the wide range of cultural activity at The New School and the belief that students benefit from exposure to a variety of voices and genres. It is an ongoing series of readings, lectures, and conversations with visiting writers, scholars, journalists, and writing teachers. Active participation in the colloquium consists of attendance at a minimum of eight events each semester.


    Students who have completed the required number of workshops and literature courses work with a thesis advisor and attend a thesis seminar that provides structure through strict deadlines. At the end of the thesis semester, students submit a thesis consisting of 35 pages of poetry or 50 pages of prose.

    View Riggio courses in the course catalog.

    Fall 2017 Courses Instructor
    Honors Multi-Genre WorkshopKatie Kitamura
    Literary Translation Workshop
    Anthony Anemone
    Literature, Culture & Democracy Seminars
    Val Vinokur, Chair
    12th Street Editing Seminar
    Seth Graves
    Riggio Thesis Colloquium
    Laura Cronk
    Writer's Life Colloquium
    Laura Cronk

    Riggio Honors Thesis

    Riggio Honors Program students complete a thesis project as the culmination of their studies. Each student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor to produce 30 pages of finished poetry or 50 pages of finished prose. Before registering for the Honors Thesis, contact Laura Cronk at cronkl@newschool.edu to confirm that you have completed the required coursework and to receive the CRN for your faculty advisor. (6 credits)

    Riggio Thesis Colloquium

    Students who register for Riggio Honors Thesis must also register for Thesis Colloquium. This online workshop helps students writing a thesis manage the practical aspects of completing the work. It is also designed to build community among student writers and support the transition from student to writer in the world. (noncredit)

    12th Street 

    Students must apply as editors or readers to register for 12th Street. Contact Laura Cronk at cronkl@newschool.edu with questions or to apply. The 12th Street Editing Seminar counts as an honors literature seminar in the Riggio program curriculum.