Undergraduate certificate: writing
Faculty: https://magidcenter.uiowa.edu/people
Website: https://magidcenter.uiowa.edu/

The Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing takes seriously its mission to offer all undergraduate students at the University of Iowa (regardless of major or area of study) the unique opportunity to enhance their academic, creative, and professional communication skills by focusing on the written word. In addition to sponsoring the Certificate in Writing, the center also publishes the student literary magazines Ink Lit Mag and earthwords, advises and coordinates the publication of Fools Magazine and Boundless, supports the Iowa Writers Living Learning Community (in association with University Housing and Dining), and is home to the Iowa Youth Writing Project (a nonprofit K-12 literacy outreach) and the Iowa Young Writers' Studio (a selective summer camp for aspiring high school writers).

The Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing was established in 2011 through a gift from Marilyn Y. Magid and family, in the name of the late Frank Magid, who believed that writing was a key component of a liberal arts and sciences education and a successful career.

Precollege Program

Iowa Young Writers' Studio

Website: https://iyws.clas.uiowa.edu/

The Iowa Young Writers' Studio is a residential creative writing program held in the summer for high school students at the University of Iowa housed in the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing. The studio gives promising high school-age creative writers the opportunity to spend two weeks studying writing (primarily fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction) at the University of Iowa, in the thriving literary community of Iowa City, with teachers and counselors from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and other renowned UI writing programs.

Students at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio share their writing with teachers and peers, receive constructive critique, participate in writing exercises and activities, and attend readings and literary events. The studio operates under the philosophy that the study of creative writing is essential not only to students who want to pursue writing as a career, but to any student hoping to function effectively in a writing-centric world. The studio encourages students to explore different genres and approaches, and to express themselves freely, without censorship. Students are taught to be generous, respectful critics.

Students who have completed grade 10, 11, or 12 are eligible to attend the summer program. The program occasionally considers ninth graders. Those interested submit an application, a creative writing sample, a statement of purpose, a high school transcript, and a letter of recommendation. Applications are taken online during the first week of February for the following summer.

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio also offers six-week online creative writing courses for high school students. These courses are offered in January-February and in late June-early August. The courses are asynchronous, so students can complete the assignments and participate in the discussions on their own schedules. The courses offer students the chance to study creative writing with graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and other UI writing programs, and to connect with other high school-age writers around the country and the world. Students who complete the course and meet all the requirements will receive 1 s.h. of credit. Applicants must be enrolled in high school and have a g.p.a. of 3.50 or higher. Applicants must submit a writing sample, a statement of purpose, a teacher statement of support, a parental permission form, and a transcript. Applications are taken online in the fall (for January-February courses) and in the spring (for June-August courses).

Visit the Iowa Young Writers' Studio website for detailed information about the summer program and online courses.

College Program

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, career goals, or personal interests.

Program for Adults

Iowa Summer Writing Festival

Website: https://iowasummerwritingfestival.org

The Iowa Summer Writing Festival is a noncredit creative writing program for adults. The festival brings some 1,300 writers to the University of Iowa campus each summer to participate in weeklong, two-week, and weekend workshops across the genres. Writers at all levels are welcome.

Participants choose from more than 140 workshops in novel writing, short fiction, gothic fiction, poetry, memoirs, essays, playwriting, screenwriting, travel writing, humor, writing for children, and more. Festival classes are conducted as workshops, where the primary texts are participants’ own creative work.

Weeklong workshops meet for three hours each day, Monday through Friday, and include individual student/instructor conferences. Weeklong sessions feature a daily lecture series on aspects of literary craft, as well as evening readings and other events. Weekend sessions meet for eight hours over two days. Visit the Iowa Summer Writing Festival website for information about workshops, schedules, and registration. Program information for the coming summer is posted in mid-January.

The 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" 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, freelance journalists, magazine writers, and more. Additionally, graduates often go on to pursue professional programs of study and advanced degrees in law and writing, among other fields. Finally, many recent graduates have found internships during and after their time in the program with publishing companies and magazines across the country.

The Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Iowa Young Writers' Studio Courses

IYWS:1001 Iowa Young Writers' Studio0 s.h.

IYWS:1002 Iowa Young Writers' Studio: Fiction Writing1 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 Writing1 s.h.

Introduction to poetry writing; for high school students. Requirements: admission through Iowa Young Writers' Studio application process.

IYWS:1004 Iowa Young Writers' Studio: Creative Writing1 s.h.

Basic introduction to creative writing (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction); 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.

Varied topics focused on improving common writing problems or specific aspects of craft. Prerequisites: (RHET:1040 and RHET:1060) or RHET:1030.

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:2100 Writing and Community Outreach3 s.h.

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. GE: Diversity and Inclusion.

WRIT:2101 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: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.

Introduction to the major aspects of book design, including typography, layout, standard industry software, discussion of trends in the field. Same as ARTS:2900, ENGL:2900, UICB:2900.

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 of 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:3000 Publishing Practicum: The Iowa Chapbook Prize3 s.h.

Experiential learning in the field of publishing through the Iowa Chapbook Prize; students gain knowledge in all aspects of publishing world including assessing submissions, selecting manuscripts, editing and proofreading, layout and design, marketing and promotion, and book release.

WRIT:3005 Professional and Creative Business Communication3 s.h.

Solid foundation for creative and professional communication in today's modern work world; exploration of techniques, strategies, and craft of writing résumés, letters of interest, email and its related etiquette, and organization of ideas into presentable form; semester-long creative project that builds a bridge between office and the world using modern technology and social media; readings and discussions of literature to better understand issues of ethics, leadership, conflict, moral judgment, decision making, and human nature; how to navigate and succeed in business or any professional field. GE: Engineering Be Creative. Same as CW:3005, INTD:3005.

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: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 coursework with at least 12 s.h. in University of Iowa courses.

WRIT:3910 Iowa Youth Writing Project Internship1 s.h.

Internship with the Iowa Youth Writing Project. Requirements: application and acceptance as an Iowa Youth Writing Project intern.

WRIT:4000 Independent Capstone Project1-3 s.h.

Capstone requirement for the Certificate in Writing through Program Option B. Requirements: junior or higher standing.

WRIT:4001 Guided Capstone Portfolio1 s.h.

Capstone requirement for Certificate in Writing through Program Option A. Recommendations: junior or higher standing.

WRIT:4002 Scientists and Writers1 s.h.

Science communication and collaborative skills that are highly sought after by employers in STEM firms including pharmaceutical firms, biotech start-ups, and many others; these same skills essential for reporting on, writing about, or translating science in any area; studio-style format. Requirements: STEM graduate standing in biological, chemical, physical, medical science, or engineering disciplines; or advanced undergraduate standing in journalism, creative writing, English, or any other writing-intensive major. Same as CHEM:4000, JMC:4000.

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:2100 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.