The graduate certificate in Literary Translation requires a least 15 s.h. of credit, including coursework in translation practice, techniques, and theories. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in work for the certificate. Students may earn the certificate while working toward a graduate degree. Non-degree students also can complete the certificate.

The Graduate Certificate in Literary Translation is open to students in:

  • any of the MFA programs in the writing arts (Poetry, Fiction, Theatre, Nonfiction, Spanish Creative Writing, and Book Arts);
  • in any of the graduate degree programs (MA, PhD) in the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, as well as those in the Humanities.

who wish to integrate translation practice more intentionally into their writing life or graduate training by:

  • tapping into the natural synergy between their creative practice and literary translation
  • developing their competencies in translation as a method of scholarly inquiry or pedagogy, or
  • obtaining stronger grounding in comparative literature or contemporary international writing.

Both the MFA students in Literary Translation and those interested in translation as part of their writing life benefit from the creative commons that gets created when translators, poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, playwrights, and literary scholars work together in shared purpose.

From the beginning of the Iowa Translation Workshop in 1965, graduate students have incorporated training in Literary Translation into their MA, MFA or PhD programs; this certificate program will provide them with coherent coursework and formal recognition for their accomplishments.

For more specific information on courses, curriculum, and requirements of the Graduate Certificate in Literary Translation, visit the UI General Catalog.


Applicants should submit a one-page statement of interest and a letter from their academic advisor indicating support for entrance to the program. Admission decisions are made when an application is received and contingent on enrollment capacity. Students must be in good standing in their degree programs.


An approved Plan of Study must include at least 15 s.h. that include courses on translation practice, techniques and theories, and a balance of courses in language, literature and culture and those on creative writing, depending on the student’s primary degree program (i.e. whether modern languages or MFA).

Under typical circumstances, the graduate certificate should not require additional time to complete beyond the student’s regular degree plan.  Up to 6 s.h. in certificate coursework can count toward the students' degree program as well.

Translation workshops and coursework in translation theory are central to the graduate certificate program since they are essential to the training of literary translators. The certificate students will enroll in a combination of the graduate-level Translation courses.