Great readers make great writers—and great writers build fulfilling lives and successful careers.

In the English and Creative Writing major, you'll explore literature in all its forms—and apply what you discover to your own expression. 

You may write poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, or something totally unique. Maybe you've been writing for years, or you might dream of starting. No matter your background or your goals, in this popular major you'll learn to transform the craft of writing into the artistry of literature. 

Your professors will be some of today's hottest bestselling authors and magazine journalists. You'll experience small classes and personalized attention. You'll learn the methods of Iowa's world-famous Writers' Workshop, Nonfiction Writing Program, and Playwrights Workshop. And you'll belong to a supportive, inclusive, and engaged community. 


The Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing requires a minimum of 120 semester hours (s.h.), including at least 42 s.h. of work for the major. Of the 42 s.h., at least 36 s.h. must be selected from the Department of English courses (prefix ENGL, CNW, CW). Students must maintain a GPA of at least 2.00 in all courses for the major and in all UI courses for the major. They also must complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core

Transfer students must earn at least 30 s.h. work for the major at the University of Iowa, with at least 15 s.h. of course work in English literary study and 15 s.h. of course work in creative writing taken in residence at the University of Iowa.

Students are encouraged to explore multiple genres, including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and playwriting.

Students earning the major in English may not earn the major in English and Creative Writing and students completing the English and Creative Writing major may not earn a second major in English. Please note that "creative writing" encompasses ENGL 37** and 47** (creative writing courses in fiction, non-fiction, playwriting, translation, poetry, and special topics), CW courses (fiction and poetry), CNW (creative non-fiction), and some THTR (playwriting) and CINE (screenwriting). Search accordingly when looking for coursework.

For more specific information on courses, curriculum, and requirements of the Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing, visit the UI General Catalog.

Learning Outcomes

The goal is for students who graduate from the Department of English to demonstrate the skills of reflective reading, critical and creative thinking, compelling writing, and engaged citizenship.

Reflective Readers

  • Analyze literary and cultural texts through close reading.
  • Gain broad knowledge of several fields of literature.
  • Grasp formal elements of key literary genres.
  • Learn to read comparatively to illuminate aesthetic, social, and cultural contributions of texts.

Critical and Creative Thinkers

  • Approach texts with a spirit of critical inquiry and flexibility.
  • Formulate productive questions.
  • Use textual evidence to support individual interpretations.
  • Draw upon several different critical approaches to literature in English.
  • Effective Speakers
  • Express opinions about the texts they read through discussion and written assignments.
  • Listen respectfully to others’ opinions.
  • Work in class—whether through active listening or discussion—to learn by synthesizing a range of texts, insights, and opinions.

Compelling Writers

  • Express themselves in clear, fluent, and lively writing.
  • Organize their ideas effectively.
  • Use textual evidence to illustrate and support their insights and arguments.
  • Are able to write in different modes appropriate to varied genres and aesthetic traditions.
  • Engage properly with relevant scholarship and creative work.
  • Use research skills that include an understanding of methods, craft, technology, and conventions.
  • Demonstrate the ability to create in modes that are appropriate to various genres.

Engaged World Citizens

  • Communicate respect and understanding for the literatures and cultures of diverse historical periods, geographical regions, and cultures.
  • Explore ethical issues raised by literature.
  • Practice collaborative and ethical literary citizenship.
  • Reflect on the ways that literature addresses issues of social justice.
  • Use reading, speaking, and writing skills to engage with the ethical concerns raised by literature in their daily and professional lives.