The superior university creative writing programs in the United States combine intense critical analysis requirements with highly developed workshop opportunities. According to, the University of Iowa has dominated the ranks of creative writing MFA programs for more than a decade. By examining what elements make a good creative writing course, it is clear that the University of Iowa has the best creative writing courses in the United States.


The quality of a college course, curriculum or entire program can be measured by the strength of its faculty. Without the expert guidance and ability of a gifted instructor, a writing workshop can be unproductive and unhelpful for participating students. Ethan Canin is a permanent faculty member of Iowa’s creative writing program, the author of six books of fiction and was named by The New Yorker as one of 20 “writers for the new millennium." He is just one member of Iowa’s incredible creative writing faculty.


Iowa’s creative writing program offers a wide variety of courses to both its MFA and undergraduate community. Whether you’re interested in pursuing fiction, poetry, non-fiction, playwriting, translation, or new media, Iowa’s commitment to a great number of focus options is a contributing factor to its success. It is this variety that allows many great writers from different concentrations to seek out this developed and intense creative writing program.


At the core of a solid creative writing program is a commitment to significantly improving each student’s creative work. A well-constructed and engaging creative writing workshop is a powerful way for students to identify problems in their writing. Students can then make adjustments to ensure their poems, short stories, longer prose and other writing become organic and fulfilled. Iowa’s creative writing courses are dependent on quality workshops.


Perhaps the most impressive and persuasive proof that Iowa’s creative writing courses are the best is the list of notable graduates. Denis Johnson, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for his novella “Train Dreams,” graduated from Iowa’s creative writing program along with literary greats John Cheever, Philip Roth and Kurt Vonnegut. There is no greater justification for the excellence of a creative writing program than a list of relevant, award winning literary giants.

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