Students in this area of study learn to think and write critically about how literature and language influence lives. This major provides excellent preparation for careers in many fields, including the arts, education, business, and government.
Why Study at Iowa?
The University of Iowa is nationally recognized as a writing university. The Iowa Writers' Workshop and International Writing Program bring world-renowned writers to campus, and in 2008 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Iowa City its third "City of Literature" in the world.
The Department of English trains students to examine literature and language through close reading, formal analysis, research, and respectful debate. It also encourages the interpretation of literature from cultural and historical perspectives. The department offers a creative writing track for English majors as well as a concentration in nonfiction writing.
English is one of the most popular majors at Iowa, with about 1,000 students, although classes are small enough for spirited discussions and include abundant writing opportunities.
Literature and writing are the main areas of study in the English Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program, with the greatest amount of time spent in literature courses.
The department also offers courses in film, critical theory, cultural studies, poetry, nonfiction, and creative writing. Historical course work teaches the significance of texts in the cultures from which they emerge. Due to the wide variety of courses available, many English majors also choose a second area of concentration, major, or minor.
Review English in the General Catalog for more details about required course work for the BA degree and graduating with honors.
Creative Writing Track
English majors who enjoy writing may apply to the undergraduate creative writing track. Admission to the track is selective. To be accepted, you must be a junior or senior, show competence in introductory writing courses, complete a portfolio of writing qualifying you to be admitted to an intermediate-level workshop, and earn a grade-point average of at least 3.33 in all of your UI English courses.
English Honors Program
English majors may apply to the English Honors Program. Admission is selective and requires a grade-point average of at least 3.33.
If you're interested in teaching English at the secondary school level, you'll need to apply to and complete the College of Education's Teacher Education Program. Visit the Office of Education Services website for application information and program guides.
The university also offers a Certificate in Writing.
Minor in English
Review English in the General Catalog for more details.
English majors need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Admission Requirements Tabs
Faculty, Facilities, and Resources
The English department produces several notable literary journals and publications, including the Iowa Review, considered one of the best-known and most highly respected literary reviews in the country; the scholarly journal Philological Quarterly; and the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, the official journal of the Walt Whitman Studies Association.
Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.
About one-quarter of English majors plan to teach following graduation, while another quarter plan to do writing of some kind, such as in advertising, book publishing, or writing for business or government organizations. The rest use English as a background for the study of law, business, theology, or other disciplines and professions.
Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.