Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the Certificate in Writing develop:

  • skills in the craft of writing, such as the ability to write clearly and concisely, control of mechanics and style, and the ability to communicate with particular audiences for specific purposes;
  • skills in planning and using strategies to begin writing, overcome obstacles, obtain feedback, revise their work, and present their writing in public venues; and
  • competence in discussing writing.

The undergraduate Certificate in Writing requires a minimum of 22 s.h. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate.

The certificate may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program. Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G) students may earn the certificate when the undergraduate classification is primary.

Certificate students explore and develop their own writing skills in a wide range of genres and for varied purposes, including creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry); writing for the professions, such as the arts, business, journalism, or science; writing for organizations; and writing related to personal interests.

The Certificate in Writing also is available online for students unable to attend classes on campus, including professionals, distance education students, nondegree-seeking students, and international students. More information about the online Certificate in Writing is available at the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing website. Some courses below are available online; more online courses are added frequently.

Coursework for the certificate includes a minimum of 12 s.h. in core courses, a minimum of 9 s.h. in focused electives, and a minimum of 1 s.h. in a capstone course. Up to 6 s.h. of transfer credit is allowed. For questions regarding the transfer credit policy, contact the director.

Certificate students have the opportunity to participate in the Iowa City writing community through activities such as attending readings and lectures; presenting their own work in public; working with professional journals, newspapers, or other publications; and volunteering or interning with the Iowa Youth Writing Project literacy outreach program.

Certificate in Writing students may not earn the B.A.S. degree with the creative writing emphasis.

See "Professional Track" below for information and requirements regarding the literary publishing track for the Certificate in Writing.

The Certificate in Writing requires the following work.

Core Courses12
Focused Electives9
Capstone Project1-3
Total Hours22-24

Core Courses

All students must complete this course:
WRIT:1500Writing Commons: A Community of Writers (online or on campus)3
And 9 s.h. from the following list:
WRIT:1003/LING:1003English Grammar (online or on campus)3
WRIT:1600Fast Fixes: Improving Your Writing in Six Short Weeks (to count as a core course, must be taken three times for 1 s.h. each with different topics)3
WRIT:3080/LING:3080History of the English Language3
WRIT:3632/CNW:3632Prose Style3
WRIT:4745/CW:4745The Sentence: Strategies for Writing (online or on campus)3
WRIT:4760/CW:4760The Art of Revision: Rewriting Prose for Clarity and Impact (online or on campus)3
The 9 s.h. may include one of these:
WRIT:1030/LING:1030English Words3
WRIT:1740/CLSA:1740Writing Strategies: Word Origins and Word Choice3
WRIT:3742/CLSA:3742Word Power: Building English Vocabulary (online or on campus)3

Focused Electives

Students earn a total of at least 9 s.h. in focused electives, which they select from courses in at least two of the following categories (maximum of 6 s.h. from any one category).

Each focused elective course may be used to fulfill only one certificate requirement, even if the course is listed in more than one category below. Some of these courses have prerequisites and other requirements for registration; students must complete a course's prerequisites and meet its registration requirements before they may register for the course.

Writing for the Professions


ARTH:1080How to Write About Art3
ARTS:3400Grant Writing in the Arts3


WRIT:3005/CW:3005/INTD:3005Professional and Creative Business Communication (online or on campus)3
WRIT:3526/DPA:3526The Business of Writing3
BUS:3000Business Communication and Protocol3
BUS:3800Business Writing3
CNW:3640Writing for Business3
COMM:1816Business and Professional Communication3
SRM:3300Writing for Sport and Recreation Managers3

Grant/Proposal Writing

ARTS:3400Grant Writing in the Arts3
EALL:4130/MUSM:4150Introduction to Grant Writing (online or on campus)3


CINE:2600Writing Film Reviews and Criticism3
CNW:2780The Art and Craft of Writing About Sports3
JMC:2010Reporting and Writing3
JMC:3360Journalism Writing for Nonmajors3
JMC:3412Strategic Communication Writing4
JMC:3415Writing Across Cultures4
JMC:3470Narrative Journalism4
SPAN:3020/JMC:3445/LAS:3020Journalistic Writing in Spanish3

Literature, Language, and Translation

ASIA:3208/TRNS:3208/WLLC:3208Classical Chinese Literature Through Translation3
GRMN:3200/TRNS:3200Literary Translation from German3
JPNS:3201/TRNS:3201Workshop in Japanese Literary Translation3
SPAN:2000Spanish Language Skills: Writing4
SPAN:3000Cultural Narratives for Heritage Speakers3
SPAN:3010Advanced Spanish Speaking and Writing3
SPAN:3030Translation Workshop: English to Spanish3
SPAN:3050Translation Workshop: Spanish to English3
SPAN:3060Introductory Workshop on Creative Writing in Spanish3
SPAN:4950Advanced Workshop on Creative Writing in Spanish3
SPAN:4980Advanced Translation: Spanish to English3
TRNS:3179/CLSA:3979/ENGL:3850Undergraduate Translation Workshop3
TRNS:4480Literature and Translation3

Political Science

CNW:2850The Art and Craft of Writing About Politics3
POLI:3107Writing in Political Science: Writing for "Science" and for "Politics"3
RHET:3560/PBAF:3560/POLI:3560/SJUS:3560Public Policy and Persuasion3


WRIT:2900/ARTS:2900/ENGL:2900/UICB:2900Book Design for Publishing3
WRIT:2991/CNW:2991Publishing I: Introduction to Literary Publishing3
WRIT:2992/CNW:2992Publishing II: Advanced Literary Publication3
WRIT:3000Publishing Practicum: The Iowa Chapbook Prize3
HONR:2900Honors Publications: From Pitch to Print (taken two times, first time for 2 s.h. and second time for 1 s.h. )3


CNW:2730The Art and Craft of Science Writing3
HHP:3900Writing for Health and Human Physiology3
RHET:3250Persuasive Writing for Science and Health Care Professionals3

Undergraduate Research

BUS:1999Introduction to Research in Business1
BUS:4999Honors Thesis in Businessarr.
An undergraduate thesis or writing-based capstone project related to any undergraduate discipline1-3

Writing and the Literary Arts

Creative Writing

CW:2100Creative Writing (online or on campus)3
or CW:1800 Creative Writing Studio Workshop
CW:3002Writing and Reading Young Adult Fiction3
CW:3003Writing and Reading Science Fiction3
CW:3004Writing and Reading Fantasy Fiction3
CW:4894Undergraduate Project in Creative Writingarr.
WLLC:1510/ASIA:1510Ghost Stories and Tales of the Weird in Premodern Chinese Literature3


CW:2870Fiction Writing (online or on campus)3
CW:3870Advanced Fiction Writing (online or on campus)3
CW:4870Undergraduate Writers' Workshop: Fictionarr.
CW:4897Novel Writing (online)3


CNW:1620Introduction to Creative Nonfiction (online or on campus)3
CNW:2680The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction3
CNW:2690The Art and Craft of Writing About Business3
CNW:2700The Art and Craft of Personal Writing3
CNW:2840The Art and Craft of Travel Writing3
CNW:3630Advanced Nonfiction Writing3
CNW:3633Personal Writing3
CNW:4631Advanced Essay Workshop3
CNW:4690Undergraduate Project in Nonfiction Writingarr.


THTR:2301Playwriting I (online or on campus)3
THTR:2320Playwriting in a Global World3
THTR:3301Playwriting II (online or on campus)3
THTR:3310Undergraduate Playwriting Workshop1-3
THTR:3421/GWSS:3421Performing Autobiography3


CW:2875Poetry Writing (online or on campus)3
CW:3875Advanced Poetry Writing (online or on campus)3
CW:4875Undergraduate Writers' Workshop: Poetryarr.

Writing and the Media

Television and Screenwriting

CINE:1150Introduction to Screenwriting for Nonmajors3
CINE:1300Foundations of Screenwriting (online)3
CINE:2600Writing Film Reviews and Criticism3
CINE:3361Screenwriting: Short Form3
CINE:3367Screenwriting: Long Form3
CINE:4378Advanced Screenwriting II4
COMM:2077Writing and Producing Television3
THTR:3320Writing for Film3
THTR:6310Special Topics in Playwriting3
WRIT:3325/THTR:3325Iowa Writers' Room3

Other Media

CNW:2770The Art and Craft of Writing for New Media3
CNW:3660Multimedia Writing3
CNW:3663Radio and Writing3
CW:3218/INTD:3200Creative Writing for New Media3
JMC:3600Topics in Designing/Producing3-4
RHET:2070Persuasive Stories3

Writing in Context

WRIT:2100Writing and Community Outreach3
WRIT:2300Writing Toward Empathy3
CNW:2710The Art and Craft of Food Writing3
CNW:2720The Art and Craft of Writing About Culture3
CNW:2740The Art and Craft of Writing about the Environment3
CNW:2760The Art and Craft of Writing for Social Change3
CNW:2790The Art and Craft of Humor Writing3
CNW:3644Dublin Writing Workshop3
CW:3107/INTD:3107Creative Writing for the Health Professions3
CW:3215/INTD:3300Creative Writing and Popular Culture3
CW:4751Creative Writing for the Musician3
EDTL:4355/CNW:4355Approaches to Teaching Writing3
GWSS:3138/SJUS:3138Writing to Change the World3
HONR:3220Honors Writing Fellows: Writing Theory and Practice3
IWP:3191/ENGL:3595/TRNS:3191/WLLC:3191International Literature Today1,3

Student-Designated Writing-Intensive Course

Students may petition to count a course not listed above toward their elective requirements. Petitions must be submitted online and receive prior approval from the Certificate in Writing advisor; see Focused Electives on the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing website.

Students may also request permission to count a maximum of 3 s.h. earned in a non-writing intensive course numbered 3000 or above as credit toward the focused elective requirement. For this option, students must propose a writing-related project that extends the writing focus of their chosen course. They must have the approval of the faculty member teaching the course and the writing certificate advisor.

Capstone Project

Each student must earn at least 1 s.h. in a capstone course that serves as a culmination of their Certificate in Writing. Students choose one of the following four options for completing their capstone requirement.

Program Option A

Guided Capstone Portfolio (WRIT:4001, 1 s.h.) is an online, portfolio-based class that allows students the chance to direct their own academic, professional, and creative learning experience by asking them to think critically about where they have come from and where they are headed. Students are guided by a series of prompts, readings, and targeted assignments that lead to a shared final goal—an online portfolio of writing that highlights the work created and the skills gained while pursuing the Certificate in Writing.

Program Option B

Independent Capstone Project (WRIT:4000, 1-3 s.h.) is an independent writing project of the student's choosing, guided by a faculty mentor. It is available online or on campus.

Program Option C

Writing: Undergraduate Internship (WRIT:3900, 1-3 s.h.) provides departmental oversight for students completing a writing-related internship and guides students through a series of reflections on their internship experience and how it relates to their academic, professional, and creative goals.

Program Option D

Students may petition to count an additional 3 s.h. writing course from the core or focused elective courses listed above as their capstone. Petitions are submitted online and must be approved by the certificate advisor.

Visit capstone project information on the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing website for more information related to registering for a capstone course.

Professional Track

Literary Publishing

Students considering a career in literary publishing can learn the ins and outs of the industry and gain a competitive edge by enrolling in the literary publishing track. This unique educational experience provides a substantial understanding of the editorial, design, and managerial work essential to this profession. Students who enroll in the track complete the certificate's core courses (see "Core Courses" above) and fulfill the focused elective requirement by taking a series of three publishing-specific courses (see "Literary Publishing Track Focused Electives" below). Finally, they complete a publishing-related capstone project; literary publishing students may select WRIT:3000 Publishing Practicum: The Iowa Chapbook Prize as a capstone project or Program Option A, B, C, or D (see "Capstone Project" above).

The literary publishing track, interdisciplinary in scope, is a collaboration between the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing, the Nonfiction Writing Program in the Department of English, the School of Art and Art History, and the University of Iowa Center for the Book. For more information, contact the Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing.

Students may earn either the Certificate in Writing with the literary publishing track or the Bachelor of Arts in English (publishing track) or the Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing (publishing track). Students may not earn the publishing track in both the major and in the writing certificate.

Literary Publishing Track Focused Electives

WRIT:2900/ARTS:2900/ENGL:2900/UICB:2900Book Design for Publishing3
WRIT:2991/CNW:2991Publishing I: Introduction to Literary Publishing3
WRIT:2992/CNW:2992Publishing II: Advanced Literary Publication3

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.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Writing, Certificate

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Second Year
Any SemesterHours
WRIT:1500 Writing Commons: A Community of Writers 3
Certificate: core course (prefix WRIT) a 3
Certificate: core course (prefix WRIT) a 3
Third Year
Any Semester
Certificate: core course (prefix WRIT) a 3
Certificate: focused elective b 3
Certificate: focused elective b 3
Internship: consider applying for internship with the Iowa Youth Writing Project or another organization (not required to earn the certificate but encouraged)
Fourth Year
Any Semester
Certificate: focused elective b 3
Certificate: capstone project c 1 - 3
 Total Hours22-24
Students must complete 9 s.h. of core courses from the list of approved options. See General Catalog for more information.
Students earn a total of at least 9 s.h. in focused electives, which they select from courses in at least two of the following categories (maximum of 6 s.h. from any one category): Writing for the Professions, Writing and the Literary Arts, Writing and the Media, Writing in Context, and Student-Designated Writing-Intensive Course.
Students choose from WRIT:4001, WRIT:4000, WRIT:3900, or petition to count an additional 3 s.h. writing course approved as a core or focused elective course as their capstone.