Center for the Book

collage-open house

The Center for the Book is an innovative arts and research program dedicated to the past, present, and future of the book. Located in the University of Iowa Graduate College, the Center pursues a distinctive mission, integrating practice in the art of the book with study of the book in society. We offer curricula in the arts of printing, binding, papermaking, and calligraphy, in the history and culture of books as a field of study, and in the expressive power of the book form. The Center also supports an active program of visiting lectures and workshops with renowned book scholars and artists including our annual Brownell Lecture on the History of the Book and Mitchell Lecture on the Arts of the Book.

The Center offers a Master of Fine Arts in the Book Arts, which requires a minimum of 60 semester hours of credit and includes a thesis project. The required 60 semester hours include at least 30 hours in core courses, in scholarly inquiry and material analysis courses, and in workshops and outside credits. The remaining 30 hours are electives in the student’s area of emphasis, in open-ended electives, and in thesis hours. Thesis credits may total 6 hours. Eighteen hours are required in the student’s area of emphasis. Areas of emphasis are defined as: Artist Bookwork; Bookbinding; Digital Bookwork; Lettering Arts; Papermaking; Printing.

The Center offers as well a Graduate Certificate, whereby students, upon admissions, enroll in a 18 credit set of roughly 6 classes, distributed amongst our letterpress printing, bookbinding, papermaking, artist books, calligraphy, material analysis, and scholarly inquiry courses. The Center serves students who earn the Certificate as a stand-alone credential, mastering skills in book arts, technologies, and histories. The Certificate can be pursued alongside a master’s or doctoral degree in another department.

The UICB also offers a joint degree with the School of Library and Information Sciences and affiliates with book scholars in UI departments and programs such as History, English, Journalism and Communication Studies, Religious Studies, the Writers’ Workshop, and American Studies.