Publishing Track

Publishing Track

Students considering a career in literary publishing can now learn the ins and outs of the industry and gain a competitive edge by enrolling in the brand new Literary Publishing Track of the Certificate in Writing. Beginning fall 2016, this unique educational experience provides a substantial understanding of the editorial, design, and managerial work essential to this profession. Students who enroll in the track complete the Certificate's standard core courses, and take a series of three publishing-specific courses to fulfill the focused electives requirement. Finally, they complete a Capstone project or internship related to publishing. More information on course requirements can be found below. Click here to check out magazines created by past Publishing Track students. 

The Publishing Track is a collaboration between the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the School of Art and Art History, and the Center for the Book. As an interdisciplinary program, undergraduates pursuing any major are welcome, as are nondegree students. If you would like to learn more, send us an email at

Plan of Study

Core Courses

Students earn a minimum of 11 s.h. in the following core courses. Courses noted with an asterisk (*) are available online.

All students must take:

  • WRIT:1500 Writing Commons: A Community of Writers, 2 s.h.*

Plus three of the following:

  • CNW:3632 Prose Style, 3 s.h.
  • CW:4745 The Sentence: Strategies for Writing, 3 s.h.*
  • CW:4760 The Art of Revision: Rewriting Prose for Clarity and Impact, 3 s.h.*
  • LING:3080 History of the English Language, 3 s.h (offered in fall)
  • LING:1003 English Grammar, 3 s.h. (offered both fall and spring)
  • CLSA:3742 Word Power: Building English Vocabulary, 3 s.h.*
    or CLSA:1740  Writing Strategies: Word Origins and Word Choice, 3 s.h.
    or LING:1030 English Words, 3 s.h. (offered in fall)
  • WRIT:1600 Fast Fixes: Improving Your Writing In Six Short Weeks, 1 s.h.
    NOTE: WRIT:1600 must be repeated three times, with three different subtitles, in order to count as a single core course.

Publishing Focused Electives

  • CNW:2991/WRIT:2991 Publishing I: Introduction to Literary Publishing
    In this class, students will receive an introduction to the major aspects of book and literary publishing. Students will discuss the history and future of the industry, and they will participate in hands-on activities to gain valuable knowledge of the field, including learning the best practices for evaluating submissions, participating in editorial meetings, making acquisition decisions, copy editing for consistency and readability, creating and scheduling production calendars, and planning marketing campaigns for book promotions. Students will also discuss trends in print design and digital publishing, and they will meet and interact with professionals employed in the industry throughout the semester. The course will end with a class publication completed and released (online or in print) collectively by the students.
  • CNW:2992/WRIT:2992 Publishing II: Advanced Literary Publishing
    In this class, students will build on their knowledge of literary publishing and book design by serving as editors and publishers of the Iowa Chapbook Prize. Students will review submissions to the prize, select the winning texts, and work collaboratively in small groups to edit, design, layout, market, promote, and release chapbooks that will be printed in limited editions. Students will be responsible for creating production calendars and budgets, communicating professionally with authors and other necessary individuals, and working to strategize an effective marketing campaign. The course will end with a prize ceremony, reading, and book launch. By the completion of this class, students will have strong experience in all areas of the literary publishing world.
  • ARTS:2900/WRIT:2900/UICB:2900 Book Design for Publishing
    Introduction to the major aspects of book design, including typography, layout, and standard industry software; discussion of trends in the field.

Publishing Capstone Experience

Students in the publishing track must complete a publishing-related capstone. More information about capstone requirements can be found here.