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Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I apply to the online certificate in writing?  Please read our detailed instructions. To learn more about applying to the University, visit the Office of Admissions homepage at:

Do I need to submit a writing sample as part of my UI application? No, the certificate does not require a writing sample.

When can I start? You may apply to be admitted to the University of Iowa at any time. Enrollment for fall begins in April, for spring in November, and for summer in March. Fall classes begin the third week of August, spring classes begin the third week of January, and summer classes begin at various times from mid-May through mid-June. Though most online classes for the certificate are asynchronous, meaning you don't have a specific "meeting time" for your class each week, they do follow the academic calendar of the University of Iowa, with set dates for class start, midterms, and finals that correspond with the semester. Our courses are also governed by all same rules and deadlines for registration changes as on-campus courses. Learn more at

Can I complete the online certificate in writing as an international student? Yes! The certificate is open to any student admitted to the University of Iowa, including international students. Non-native speakers of English must meet minimum requirements on a TOEFL test to be addmitted to UI. To learn more about applying to the University, visit the Office of Admissions homepage at:

Which courses are available to online students? To see a current list of available online courses, please visit our course database and select the "online" filter. We continue to add online courses as they are developed.

Will the certificate transcript indicate that I was in an online program?  No.  Students who graduate by taking online courses earn the same credential as those in the on-campus program.

What jobs can I get with a certificate in writing?  Recent certificate in writing graduates have gone on to work in various fields that are wide-ranging in scope and background. Our graduates have found work as teachers, copywriters, editors and publishers, government administrators, free-lance journalists, magazine writers, and more. Additionally, our graduates often go on to graduate and professional programs such as MFA programs, Teach For America, and law school. Finally, many of our recent graduates have found internships during and after their time in the program with publishing companies and magazines from across the country.

What does it cost to complete the certificate in writing online?  The online tuition and fees paid by undergraduate students who are admitted to CLAS with the purpose of pursuing a program of study online (and thus are flagged with the online qualifier), such as the certificate in writing, are charged tuition according to the Liberal Arts & Sciences Resident tuition rate with the technology fee added. The other fees are not charged. An undergraduate distance learner, for example, admitted to CLAS for Fall 2018 who enrolls in one online course for 3 s.h. will pay $972.00 in tuition plus the $126.75 technology fee. The tuition and fees are the same for both resident and non-resident students. To see current and projected tuition rates for the certificate, please visit the Registrar's Tuition Tables. In the upper right corner, select the session of interest and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Then filter by learning center to "Online."

Here is an example of the total cost of the certificate for a student pursuing it part-time, using fall 2018 tuition rates. Please note that this is just an example, and that rates are subject to change. The actual cost will depend on your individual case:

Semester Cost (tuition + fees)
Semester 1: 2 classes (Writing Commons and another Core course), 6 s.h. $2,134.25
Semester 2: 2 classes (Core and/or Focused Elective), 6 s.h. $2,134.25
Semester 3: 2 classes (Core and/or Focused Elective), 6 s.h. $2,134.25
Semester 4: 2 classes (Focused Elective and Capstone), 4 s.h. $1,422.75
Total cost: $7,825.50

Is financial aid available?  As a general rule, federal financial aid regulations do not allow nondegree students to receive federal financial aid; learn more about exceptions to that rule here. Please refer all questions to the Financial Aid Office.  They can be contacted at 319-335-1450.