This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

Undergraduate majors: English (BA); English and creative writing (BA)

Undergraduate minor: English

Graduate degrees: MA in English; MFA in English (creative writing, nonfiction writing); PhD in English

Faculty: https://english.uiowa.edu/people

Website: https://english.uiowa.edu

The Department of English offers courses in literature, cultural studies, language, and critical and creative writing. In these courses, students read poetry, fiction, essays, criticism, and theory to acquire methods for understanding literature and culture and responding creatively to texts. In addition to providing these essential elements of a liberal arts and sciences education, the department's courses can augment students' specialized interests in other fields. Visit the Department of English website to learn more about courses and upcoming events.

Many undergraduate and graduate students enroll in the department's degree programs. Most PhD students in English are preparing for careers as teachers and scholars, and many MFA students in the creative writing program and the nonfiction writing program are preparing for lives as published writers. The BA and MA programs provide valuable training for careers in a variety of fields. Students who have earned English degrees from the University of Iowa write for advertising firms, newspapers, the entertainment industry, and book publishers; teach in primary and secondary schools; practice law and medicine; work in business, industry, and nonprofits; and participate in state and federal government. Many students who earn a BA go on to pursue an MFA in creative writing fields. As much as possible, each student's course of study is arranged to meet individual needs and objectives.

The Department of English participates in several of the university's interdisciplinary units: the departments of American Studies, Cinematic Arts, and Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies; the African American Studies and Native American and Indigenous Studies programs; and the Center for the Book.

Creative Writing Programs

For the past 75 years, the University of Iowa has been a national leader in all areas of creative writing. The university offers graduate degrees in creative writing, with specializations in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Undergraduate students may declare a major in English and creative writing. All qualified undergraduates in other majors may enroll in many of the creative writing courses offered by the Department of English.

View creative writing courses (prefixes CW, CNW, and ENGL) under Courses in this section of the catalog. See which ones are offered in certain semesters by searching for course subjects CW, CNW, and ENGL on MyUI.


Students earning a degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must satisfy the Interpretation of Literature GE CLAS Core requirement. Most students take ENGL:1200The Interpretation of Literature; students majoring in English and English and Creative Writing use ENGL:2010 Foundation of the English Major: Histories, Literatures, Pleasures to fulfill the GE CLAS Core Interpretation of Literature requirement.

The pass/nonpass option is available only for students in the College of Engineering with the consent of a student's advisor and the instructor.

Department of English Opportunities

Several periodicals are published under the department's aegis. The Iowa Review, Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, and Philological Quarterly offer opportunities for especially qualified graduate students to work as research assistants or editorial associates, and for some undergraduates to pursue volunteer opportunities.

The Department of English, the Nonfiction Writing Program, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop sponsor a rich and extensive series of readings and lectures by poets, fiction writers, and scholars, all open to students in the department.

The English Society, a student organization for those focusing on literature in English, creative writing, and related areas, is open to all students and organizes events of interest throughout the year. The Department of English also collaborates with Alpha Tau Iota, the University of Iowa chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, and the International English Honors Society. Sigma Tau Delta's central purpose is to confer distinction for high achievement in English language, literature, and writing.

The Association of Graduate Students in English sponsors social and intellectual events during the year and provides a forum for student opinion. All graduate students in the department are members.