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Biography and Memoir

The M.A. program in Biography and Memoir recognizes and embraces the divide between the scholarly and the popular, exploring the imaginative art of creative non-fiction.
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tight focus photo of vintage typewriter keys beneath a blue overlay

The M.A. program in Biography and Memoir recognizes and embraces the divide between the scholarly and the popular, exploring the imaginative art of creative non-fiction.

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Degree Offered

M.A. in Biography and Memoir


Admissions Deadlines

April 15 for fall
(No spring enrollment)


Biography and Memoir

+1 212-817-8444 bam@gc.cuny.edu

This is a golden age for biography and memoir. Many leading publishers have series that focus on biography and memoir, while agents are keen to consider those who write more creative non-fiction. Oral history projects continue to obtain funding and grow exponentially, while radio, podcasting, film, television, and video streaming services are open to new voices and forms of content that center upon life writing in all its forms. The M.A. in Biography and Memoir provides students with the academic rigor and creative fulfillment to seize this moment and pursue a diverse range of careers in journalism and media, professional writing and publishing, oral history studies, documentary filmmaking, digital communications, archival work, and other professions, or to continue their academic pursuits with a Ph.D. 

The Graduate Center’s M.A. Program in Biography and Memoir is one of the only programs in the world to offer a uniquely rich series of courses to students who wish to study biography and memoir, or to become biographers and memoirs writers themselves. Our affordable program offers academic excellence and serves as an intellectual and cultural hub of activities, talks, and opportunities for mentorship.

Our students come from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, and complete a foundational course of study that addresses topics such as research and methodology, ethics, and writing style. Students also choose from an array of electives from across the Graduate Center's masters and doctoral programs, including English, history, art history, film studies, urban politics, and psychology, and study side-by-side with students in these programs.

Executive Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography (and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer) Kai Bird introduces The Graduate Center’s Master’s Program in Biography & Memoir

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At the Center of Publishing and Academia

Our location in New York City and affiliation with The Graduate Center’s Leon Levy Center for Biography offer students unparalleled networking and mentorship opportunities. The city remains the center of publishing and media in America, with a strong tech presence, while The GC provides further opportunities for students to work across disciplines.

Learn more about Living and Learning in NYC
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Personalized Guidance from Esteemed Writers and Scholars

Our faculty are renowned scholars and writers, many of whom have published popular and award-winning biographies or memoirs, including the Pulitzer Prize. In addition, students in our program study and practice the art and craft of biography with guidance from eminent writers who are well connected in academic and publishing circles. Brenda Wineapple (author of "The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson" and "The Dream of a Just Nation") and Annalyn Swan (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "de Kooning: An American Master", and "Bacon: Revelations") regularly teach small seminars.

Meet our faculty
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Leon Levy Center for Biography

Students in the M.A. program are encouraged to take part in the events and public programs sponsored by the Leon Levy Center for Biography, which acts as a cross-disciplinary hub for writers, scholars, students, teachers, and readers of biography. The center also offers four annual fellowships.

Learn more about the Leon Levy Center

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Contact Us

Sarah Covington

Professor, History; Professor, Global Early Modern Studies; Program Director, Biography and Memoir

Marilyn Weber

Academic Program Officer, History; College Assistant, Biography and Memoir; Community Facilitator, CUNY Academic Commons