Note: These requirements represent changes to the Writing Certificate curriculum implemented in Fall 2023. Writing Certificate students who are choosing to remain on the pre-Fall 2023 plan of study (22 s.h. and 4 capstone experience options) can find information on the legacy requirements here.

The undergraduate Certificate in Writing requires a minimum of 19 s.h. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate.

The certificate may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program. Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G) students may earn the certificate when the undergraduate classification is primary.

Certificate students explore and develop their own writing skills in a wide range of genres and for varied purposes, including creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry); writing for the professions, such as the arts, business, journalism, or science; writing for organizations; and writing related to personal interests.

Coursework for the certificate includes a minimum of 9 s.h. in core courses, a minimum of 9 s.h. in focused electives, and a minimum of 1 s.h. in the Guided Capstone Portfolio course. Students may count a maximum of 6 s.h. earned for a major, a minor, or another certificate toward the certificate in writing. Up to 6 s.h. of transfer credit is allowed. For questions regarding the double counting and transfer credit policies, contact the director.

Listed below are the general categories of coursework required to earn the certificate; for more specific information on courses, curriculum, and requirements of the Certificate in Writing, visit the UI General Catalog.

Certificate Requirements
Core Courses 9
Focused Electives 9
Capstone Project 1
Total Hours 19

Core Courses and Focused Electives

Students must complete a total of 9 s.h. of core writing courses. These core classes are listed in the Requirements section of the UI General Catalog.

Students earn a total of at least 9 s.h. in focused electives, which they select from courses in at least two of the following categories (maximum of 6 s.h. from any one category).

  • Writing for the Professions
  • Writing and the Literary Arts
  • Writing and the Media
  • Writing in Context
  • Student-Designated Writing-Intensive Courses

Each focused elective course may be used to fulfill only one certificate requirement, even if the course is listed in more than one category. Some of these courses have prerequisites and other requirements for registration; students must complete a course's prerequisites and meet its registration requirements before they may register for the course.

Core Courses and Focused Electives

Capstone Project

Each student must earn 1 s.h. in a capstone course that serves as a culmination of their Certificate in Writing.

Guided Capstone Portfolio (WRIT:4001, 1 s.h.) is an asynchronous, online, portfolio-based class that allows students the chance to direct their own academic, professional, and creative learning experience by asking them to think critically about where they have come from and where they are headed. Students take the guided capstone portfolio course during the semester they plan to complete the writing certificate. In the course, students revise a piece of their writing, generate one new piece of writing, participate in workshops and critiques, and create a digital portfolio of their work (five pieces total). Their final project also includes an essay that reflects on the work created and the skills gained while pursuing the writing certificate.

All capstone students are invited to share their work and celebrate their completion of the certificate at the Capstone Reading and Reception which takes place at Prairie Lights on the Friday of finals week each spring semester.

Capstone Project

Literary Publishing Track

Students considering a career in literary publishing can learn the ins and outs of the industry and gain a competitive edge by enrolling in the literary publishing track. 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 a publishing-related capstone. They take a series of three publishing-specific courses to fulfill the focused electives requirement:

  • WRIT:2900/ARTS:2900/ENGL:2900/UICB:2900 - Book Design for Publishing
  • WRIT:2991/CNW:2991 - Publishing I: Introduction to Literary Publishing
  • WRIT:2992/CNW:2992 - Publishing II: Advanced Literary Publication

The literary publishing track, interdisciplinary in scope, is a collaboration between the Magid Center for Writing, the Nonfiction Writing Program in the Department of English, the School of Art and Art History, and the University of Iowa Center for the Book. As an interdisciplinary program, undergraduates pursuing any major are welcome, as are non-degree students. Note that the track is only available on campus. If you would like to learn more, send us an email at

Students may earn either the Certificate in Writing with the literary publishing track or the Bachelor of Arts in English (publishing track) or the Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing (publishing track). Students may not earn the publishing track in both the major and in the writing certificate.