The major in Screenwriting Arts complements and builds on the longstanding, renowned creative writing tradition at Iowa.

Students will learn practical skills and knowledge needed to become successful members of the screenwriting industry, but also study the history and theories related to screenwriting, thereby encouraging writing and the production of cinema to rise to the level of art.

Why Iowa?

The Department of Cinematic Arts offers Cinematic Arts Film and Video Production Courses introduce students to a wide array of cutting-edge tools and technology, from production resources to post-production facilities with hardware and software maintained and upgraded by four full-time staff members.

The University of Iowa is known nationally and internationally for its writing programs, particularly for its top-ranked graduate programs in creative writing (Iowa Writers Workshop). It also offers numerous discipline-based undergraduate and graduate programs, such as the Magid Center for Writing, and several colleges have their own writing centers.

Admission Requirements

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


Screenwriting Arts
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
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.

Screenwriting Arts majors find employment as writers in the entertainment field, including filmmaking, television, marketing, advertising, public relations, and other related positions that specialize in communicating through words and images.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that occupations for writers are expected to grow by eight percent over the next decade. Related occupations such as public relations, promotions, advertising, and marketing will grow around 10 percent. Students who study screenwriting will be well prepared for entry into these fields.

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.

Screenwriting with an Iowa touch

Find out more about how you can learn and grow as a screenwriter at Iowa.


This degree requires 42 s.h. in the major. Students must earn 30 s.h. for the major at the University of Iowa, with at least 15 s.h. in Cinematic Arts courses. The curriculum includes introductory and core courses in the major, electives, and 9 s.h. in Cinema or in a program such as Theatre Arts or Creative Writing. Students also must complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core requirements. 

Students will acquire knowledge and skills in the following areas: 

  • Foundational Understanding and Skills: finding and forming ideas, learning research methods, the history and genres of narrative forms and styles, and history of world cinema and film language
  • Executing, Developing, and Completing Screenplay Projects: step-by-step screenwriting models, editing, workshopping, and revising screenwriting drafts
  • Practical Skills and Screen Industry Knowledge: oral communication skills, filmmaking processes including sound, cinematography, editing, directing, and networking and building communities

A second major may be earned in Cinema if the requirements for each major are met and no more than 7 s.h. are double-counted between majors.

Students may earn a minor in Cinema by completing at least 12 s.h. in courses offered by the Department of Cinematic Arts that are not required for the Screenwriting Arts major. A maximum of 3 s.h. for both the Cinematic Arts minor and the Screenwriting Arts major may be double counted.

See Screenwriting Arts in the UI General Catalog to learn more about required course work and graduating with honors.