English and Creative Writing Major

The English and Creative Writing major enables students to experience the historical, traditional, and innovative aspects of literature in English, and the relationship between critical reading, creative writing, and translation. The major provides the transferable skills important for a liberal arts major, including the abilities to think deeply and creatively, read complex texts with comprehension, and develop writing and speaking skills at an advanced level.

The English and Creative Writing major introduces students to the wealth of resources associated with the University of Iowa and Iowa City writing communities. For over 75 years, the Department of English and the UI Writers’ Workshop have been leaders in the area of writing. The MFA offered by the Nonfiction Writing Program and administered by the Department of English has been voted the top MFA program in creative nonfiction in the United States. Likewise, the MFA program in the Writers’ Workshop is annually noted as the top graduate program in the country. 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. The status of Iowa City as a UNESCO City of Literature has also enriched the writing community, with people from across the Midwest visiting the town during the annual Book Festival. The new massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by the Department of English, “Every Atom: Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself,” and by the International Writing Program’s series “How Writers Write” have enrolled thousands of students and adult learners, enhancing the reputation of Iowa as the Writing University. The Summer Writing Festival, Iowa Young Writers Studies, the Certificate in Writing, the Center for the Book, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and the Iowa Youth Writing Project all help to turn Iowa City into a destination for young writers, who are drawn to the city for its heritage and for its current community of writers.