English and Creative Writing students learn to think, read, and write critically and creatively about how literature and language influence individuals and society. They become familiar with the major literary movements and genres in British, American, and global literature in English.
Students also learn about the many dimensions of literature, how it is created and circulates in the world, from creative writing workshops to editing, book design, and print and digital publication.
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, the Nonfiction Writing Program, and other programs 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.
For the past 75 years, the Department of English has been a leader in the area of writing. The international reputation of writing at Iowa is boosted by synergy across colleges, with the International Writing Program hosting published writers each fall from countries around the world and each spring traveling to other countries, taking Iowa writing "on the road." This synergy helps the university and Iowa City draw writers of all ages and nationalities to its writing community. This community is bolstered by the strong readings series offered by the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Writers' Workshop, and Prairie Lights Books, with hundreds of readings archived by the Iowa Digital Library, creating a resource for future writers and scholars.
English is one of the most popular majors at Iowa, with almost 800 students, although classes are small enough for spirited discussions and include abundant opportunities for students to work closely with faculty mentors on research and writing projects.
Literature and writing are the main areas of study in the English and Creative Writing program, with the greatest amount of time spent in writing courses. Each student takes at least five literature courses and eight writing courses. The major supports courses in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, translation, and writing for film, TV, and radio. Course work in English literary studies, including courses focused on particular historical periods, geographical areas, and communities, 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 and Creative Writing in the General Catalog for more details about required course work and graduating with honors.
English Honors Program
English and Creative Writing majors may apply to the English Honors Program. Admission is selective and requires a grade-point average of at least 3.33. The English Honors Program also fulfills Part 2 of the university's Honors Program.
If you're interested in teaching English and Creative Writing 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 Student Services website for application information and program guides. Your English adviser can help you choose courses to take prior to application.
English and Creative Writing 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 20 percent of English majors plan to teach following graduation, while another 50 percent plan to do writing or editing of some kind in fields such as marketing, book publishing, or writing for business or non-profit organizations. The rest use English as a background for the study of law, business, theology, social work, or other graduate programs.