The University of Iowa English Department promotes serious and disciplined study of writing and literature as an art form, as an expression of cultural preoccupations, and as a means of participating in civil society. In departments like ours, that value cultural, global, and aesthetic diversity, literature encompasses an ever growing array of texts in English and includes a wide range of genres (drama, fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction) and modes (video, graphic novels, film, radio essays, new media, material culture, performance art, publishing, and more).
Our curriculum includes long-celebrated masterpieces by familiar American and British writers as well as provocative reclaimed works from the past and new works that are shaping the future. Our classes also explore the power of language in work that speaks from and about diverse U.S. ethnicities and Anglophone communities.
A video that is available to admitted and current students and explains the department can be found here.
Mark Lafferty ('14, MFA from Univ of Iowa) was quoted in "Inside the Writers Room: Iowa Screenwriters Make a Scene in Hollywood" by Lulu Dewey as saying, "I realized very suddenly that I was learning more about story in filmmaking through my English classes than I was through my filmmaking classes....I remember walking around campus feeling like a whole other avenue of insight had opened up to me." He was speaking about his time at USC before he attended Iowa, but it's exactly what we find our undergraduate alumni telling us. Even though they want to write for a living, they find the balance of literature and writing courses they take in our program gives them insight into storytelling, the human struggle and spirit, and empathy for humanity. This serves them well in the creative arts but also in business, non-profit or health-related professions after leaving college.
We do NOT offer a BA degree online. English and English & Creative Writing are best studied in person in Iowa City so you can take full advantage of what our city has to offer. If you want to study general writing you can do an online Writing Certificate.