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 endeavor), the Iowa Young Writers' Studio (a selective summer camp for aspiring high school writers), and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival (a noncredit, open enrollment creative writing program for adult learners).

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.

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.

College Program

Certificate in Writing

The Certificate in Writing (offered on campus and online) enables all undergraduate and nondegree-seeking students the opportunity to benefit from the University's wide-ranging writing programs and resources by pursuing a concentration in writing related to their academic success, career goals, or personal interests.

Precollege Program

Iowa Young Writers' Studio

Website: https://iyws.clas.uiowa.edu/

The Iowa Young Writers' Studio is a creative writing program for high school students at the University of Iowa, housed in the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing. The Summer Residential Program 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 in the Summer Residential Program share their writing with teachers and peers, receive constructive critique, participate in writing exercises and activities, and attend readings and literary events. The Iowa Young Writers' 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 Residential Program. 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 a certificate of completion. Applicants must be enrolled in high school and have a g.p.a. of 3.00 or higher. Applicants must submit 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.

Student sitting against large rock on grass writing in notebook.

K-12 Opportunities

Iowa Youth Writing Project

Website: https://iywp.org/

The Iowa Youth Writing Project (IYWP) is an arts outreach organization based at the University of Iowa that empowers, inspires, and engages K-12 youth throughout the state using language arts and creative thinking.

For more information or to get involved, contact the Iowa Youth Writing Project.

Adult Opportunities

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 1,200 writers to the University of Iowa campus each summer to participate in weeklong, two-week, and weekend workshops across the genres, as well as online workshops offered throughout the year. Writers at all levels are welcome.

Participants choose from more than 140 workshops in novel writing, short fiction, hybrid forms, 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.

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 the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing introductory section of the Catalog.

Undergraduate Program of Study


Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing Courses

WRIT:1003 English Grammar 3 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 Words 3 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 Writers 1-3 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 Weeks 1 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 Choice 3 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 Outreach 3 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 Community 1 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:2300 Writing Toward Empathy 3 s.h.

Students practice personal narrative, research writing, and professional communication skills to actively understand relevant social justice issues in Iowa; diversity, equity, and inclusion-based writing course offered in coordination with the Iowa Youth Writing Project.

WRIT:2600 Science Communication I: Fundamentals of Science Communication 2 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 Engagement 2 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 Publishing 3 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 Publishing 3 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 Publication 3 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 Prize 3 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 Communication 3 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 Language 3 s.h.

Development of phonological and grammatical structure of English, from Old to Modern English; selected issues in the history of England. Same as LING:3080.

WRIT:3325 Iowa Writers' Room 3 s.h.

Experiential learning in television writing field; first-hand experience as part of a traditional television writers' room—selecting material and show topics, pitching ideas, collaboratively breaking story, and writing and workshopping scripts for a limited series television show of student's choosing; includes instruction and class visits by acclaimed industry insiders. Same as THTR:3325.

WRIT:3435 Intersectional Identities: Writing About the Twenty-first-Century Self 3 s.h.

Analysis of intersections between systems of oppression, domination, and discrimination; focus on how writers of color represent those connections and critical articulation of students' lived experience of them. Same as LATS:3435.

WRIT:3526 The Business of Writing 3 s.h.

Students learn how to hone their writing skills and successfully transition into the workforce; objectives include developing the ability to pitch articles, establish personal brands, and navigate the world of freelance writing and editing; students network with professionals and explore writing-centric jobs. Same as DPA:3526.

WRIT:3632 Prose Style 3 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 Vocabulary 3 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 Internship 1-3 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 Internship 1 s.h.

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

WRIT:4000 Independent Capstone Project 1-3 s.h.

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

WRIT:4001 Guided Capstone Portfolio 1 s.h.

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

WRIT:4002 Scientists and Writers 1 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. Same as CHEM:4000, JMC:4000.

WRIT:4100 Iowa Youth Writing Project Mentorship Practicum 1-3 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 Writing 3 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 Impact 3 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.