English and Creative Writing majors learn to think, read, and write critically and creatively about how literature and language influence individuals and society. They study the major literary movements and genres in British, American, and global literature in English and learn the many dimensions of literature and how it is created and circulates in the world. 

Why 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. In 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Iowa City its third "City of Literature" in the world.

For 75 years, the Department of English has been a leader in writing. Iowa's international reputation in writing is boosted by synergy across colleges, with the International Writing Program hosting published writers from around the world each fall 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.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


English and Creative Writing
  Teaching Licensure
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
  Selective Admission
for the English Honors Program
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

About 20 percent of English majors plan to teach, while another 50 percent plan to do writing or editing in 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. 

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100  study abroad programs and multiple  undergraduate research opportunities


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships. 

Course Work

Literature and writing are the focus of the English and Creative Writing major, with the greatest amount of time spent in writing courses. Students take 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 on particular historical periods, geographical areas, and communities, teach the significance of texts in the cultures from which they emerge. Due to the wide array of courses available, many English majors 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.

Teaching Licensure

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 (TEP). Your English adviser can help you choose courses to take prior to application.