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. 

Course Work

This degree requires 42 semester hours 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 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) 

All students in this major must complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences General Education (GE CLAS Core) Program.  

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 major may be double counted.  

Students have the opportunity to graduate with honors in this major. Departmental honors students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.50 in all UI course work and a cumulative GPA of 3.50 in all courses completed for the major. They also must complete an honors thesis or project.  

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

Admission Requirements

Screenwriting arts majors need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to having more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Study Abroad Programs and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.


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. 

Screenwriting arts majors find employment as writers in the entertainment field, including filmmaking, as well as in 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. 


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

Application Process

Application Process Tabs


Screenwriting Arts
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan