The University of Iowa is known nationally and internationally for its writing programs, particularly for its top-ranked Master of Fine Arts programs in creative writing (Iowa Writers' Workshop) and nonfiction writing (Department of English). It also offers a creative writing track for undergraduate English majors and numerous discipline-based programs that emphasize writing. Several of the University's colleges have their own writing centers.
Iowa Young Writers' Studio
The Iowa Young Writers' Studio is a residential creative writing program for high school students offered during summer at the University of Iowa. Students in the program build a community of peers while working with experienced writing teachers, primarily students and graduates of the University's M.F.A. program in creative writing.
The studio offers three courses of study: poetry, fiction, and creative writing (a mix of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction). Each course consists of a seminar and a workshop. In seminars, students read literature by established writers. In workshops they share their own writing, get feedback from their classmates and teacher, and discuss issues of narrative and form.
The studio offers two two-week sessions: one in June and one in July.
Young writers who have completed grade 10, 11, or 12 are eligible to attend the studio. Application materials include an application, a creative writing sample, a statement of purpose, a high school transcript, and a letter of recommendation from an English teacher or another instructor familiar with the applicant's writing. Application is done entirely online. For complete application information, contact the Iowa Young Writers' Studio or visit its website.
Application deadline is early February for the following summer.
Certificate in Writing
The undergraduate Certificate in Writing enables students in all majors to benefit from the University's wide-ranging writing programs and resources by pursuing a concentration in writing related to their majors, their career goals, or their personal interests.
The Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing is one of the academic units in the Division of Interdisciplinary Programs. The Certificate in Writing and the Iowa Young Writers' Studio are administered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Learn more about the University's wealth of writing resources by visiting The Writing University website, and read about the University's central role in Iowa City's designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.
Precollege Program of Study
The Iowa Young Writers' Studio is a residential creative writing program offered during the summer for high school students who have completed grade 10, 11, or 12. See Precollege Program earlier in this section of the Catalog.
Undergraduate Program of Study
Recent Certificate in Writing graduates have gone on to work in various fields that are wide-ranging in scope and background. Graduates have found work as teachers, copywriters, editors and publishers, government administrators, free-lance journalists, magazine writers, and more. Additionally, graduates often go on to graduate and professional programs, such as M.F.A. programs and law, and Teach For America. Finally, many recent graduates have found internships during and after their time in the program with publishing companies and magazines across the country.
Iowa Young Writers' Studio Courses
IYWS:1001 Iowa Young Writers' Studio0 s.h.
IYWS:1002 Iowa Young Writers' Studio: Fiction Writing0-1 s.h.
Introduction to fiction writing; for high school students. Requirements: admission through Iowa Young Writers' Studio application process.
IYWS:1003 Iowa Young Writers' Studio: Poetry Writing0-1 s.h.
Introduction to poetry writing; for high school students. Requirements: admission through Iowa Young Writers' Studio application process.
Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing Courses
WRIT:1003 English Grammar3 s.h.
Recognizing nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech; sentence analysis; subjects, objects; types of sentences; passives, relative clauses; for students with little or no background in English grammar study. Does not count toward the linguistics major. Same as LING:1003.
WRIT:1030 English Words3 s.h.
English word formation, basic units of English vocabulary; vocabulary skill expansion; word structure. Same as LING:1030.
WRIT:1500 Writing Commons: A Community of Writers1-3 s.h.
Varied topics focused on building community and enhancing writing skills through generative exercises, long-form essay and hybrid assignments, workshops, sharing work in public, reading and discussing works of published authors.
WRIT:1600 Fast Fixes: Improving Your Writing in Six Short Weeks1 s.h.
WRIT:1740 Writing Strategies: Word Origins and Word Choice3 s.h.
Study of words, their meanings, and their origins combined with writing; words and word histories; role of English language in the world. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts. Same as CLSA:1740.
WRIT:2600 Science Communication I: Fundamentals of Science Communication2 s.h.
Bringing science to varied audiences; focus on writing and presenting research story, analogies, connecting with audiences, collaborating with others from science and film/writing disciplines; first of a two-course sequence culminating in a group outreach project and print product.
WRIT:2601 Science Communication II: Science Outreach and Engagement2 s.h.
Bringing science to varied audiences; focus on writing and presenting research story, analogies, connecting with audiences, collaborating with others from science and film/writing disciplines; second of a two-course sequence culminating in a group outreach project and print product. Prerequisites: WRIT:2600.
WRIT:2900 Book Design for Publishing3 s.h.
WRIT:2991 Publishing I: Introduction to Literary Publishing3 s.h.
Introduction to major aspects of book and literary publishing, including evaluating submissions, copy editing, production calendars, and planning marketing campaigns; discussion of industry trends. English majors may apply this course to the following area and/or period requirement. AREA: Nonfiction and Creative Writing. Same as CNW:2991.
WRIT:2992 Publishing II: Advanced Literary Publication3 s.h.
Hands-on experience through the Iowa Chapbook Prize of the entire literary publishing process, including reading submissions, selecting texts, editing, layout and design, marketing and promotion, and book release. English majors may apply this course to the following area and/or period requirement. AREA: Nonfiction and Creative Writing. Prerequisites: CNW:2991. Same as CNW:2992.
WRIT:3080 History of the English Language3 s.h.
Development of phonological and grammatical structure of English, from Old to Modern English; dialectal differentiation in English. Same as LING:3080.
WRIT:3100 Writing with Purpose: Arts Outreach and Reflection with the Iowa Youth Writing Projectarr.
Service-learning course offered in coordination with Iowa Youth Writing Project (IYWP); students create lesson plans, lead creative writing workshops in area schools and after-school programs, and collaborate to publish a final chapbook of writing from their teaching sites; assigned readings on creative writing pedagogy, teaching life, community outreach, social justice; relationships between self and community enhance interdisciplinary perspectives; weekly written reflections on teaching experiences featured on IYWP blog.
WRIT:3101 Writers in the Community1 s.h.
Experiential, hands-on learning opportunities organized by the Iowa Youth Writing Project; introduction to the community at large; fun and meaningful activities with elementary and junior high school students; designing creative writing lessons, discussion of teaching tips and tricks, leading creative writing workshops for children in the Iowa City community, writing reflective essays about experiences; for those interested in education, creative writing, volunteerism, nonprofit work, or community engagement.
WRIT:3200 Writing for the Earth and Environmental Sciences1-3 s.h.
Practical methods of content creation across curriculum; effective communication to lay and academic audiences; methods of planning, drafting, revising, and editing everything from general articles of interest to scientific papers. Same as EES:3040.
WRIT:3632 Prose Style3 s.h.
Sentences: how they work, what they do; how sentences can help writing, expand understanding of prose style, stretch options. English majors may apply this course to the following area and/or period requirement. AREA: Nonfiction and Creative Writing. GE: Engineering Be Creative. Same as CNW:3632.
WRIT:3742 Word Power: Building English Vocabulary3 s.h.
Analysis of unfamiliar English words through knowledge of the history and meaning of word parts. Same as CLSA:3742.
WRIT:3900 Writing: Undergraduate Internship1-3 s.h.
Professional and/or creative experience; students arrange faculty-approved internship. Requirements: undergraduate standing and minimum of 24 s.h. of course work with at least 12 s.h. in University of Iowa courses.
WRIT:4000 Writing: Independent Project1-3 s.h.
Completion of writing capstone requirement for the Certificate in Writing. Requirements: junior or higher standing.
WRIT:4001 Independent Writing Project1-3 s.h.
Completion of writing capstone requirement for the online Certificate in Writing. Requirements: enrollment in online or distance education program.
WRIT:4100 Iowa Youth Writing Project Mentorship Practicum1-3 s.h.
Mentor new volunteers on a weekly basis at Iowa Youth Writing Project (IYWP) program sites; work one-on-one with volunteers, write and review lesson plans, provide resources and feedback for volunteers, lead workshops for children. Requirements: WRIT:3100 or completion of Iowa Youth Writing Project internship.
WRIT:4745 The Sentence: Strategies for Writing3 s.h.
Writing dynamic, cogent, and grammatically correct sentences; effectively communicating ideas; writing with clarity and confidence; review of grammar and various types of sentences; building complexity by adding adverbial, subordinate, and connective clauses to simple sentences; how rhythm, syntax, and word order expand the meaning of a sentence; application and appreciation. GE: Engineering Be Creative. Same as CW:4745.
WRIT:4760 The Art of Revision: Rewriting Prose for Clarity and Impact3 s.h.
Writing and rewriting of short stories and essays; specific choices to help writing reach its full potential; examination of first drafts and making strategic or radical decisions on what needs to happen in subsequent drafts in order for writing to better match original intentions; students gain insight from peers on where first drafts are succeeding or falling short, and write second and third drafts of short stories and personal narratives; structural and aesthetic choices. GE: Engineering Be Creative. Same as CW:4760.