List of Courses

List of Courses

Undergraduate Courses

First-Year Seminar

Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities, fieldtrips).

Creative Writing for the Book Arts

Synthesis of writing instruction and book arts training. Takes advantage of traditional paper-based formats to develop creative expression through the written word and through book media.

Special Project for Undergraduates

Independent study.

Studio Practice Area

Topics in Preservation/Conservation

Care, conservation, and preservation of cultural heritage artifacts; readings, discussion, hands on sessions.

Book Arts Seminar: History, Practice, & Critique

An art-historical introduction to the book arts (printing, bookbinding, papermaking and paperworks, artist bookwork, lettering arts, literary fine press and fine press artist books); influences and origins, contemporary practice, and critical considerations, locating the field through the lenses of fine art, craft, and book history: weekly readings, observational analyses, hands-on exercises, and archival research in the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections; final research, analytical, and/or critical project.

Graduate Book Arts Workshop

Development of art work and studio practice; readings and research in contemporary theory and practice; analysis of visual language; integration of creative activities and critical thinking in student's own art practice and analysis of contemporary work in book arts; group and individual critiques, studio assignments, presentations, discussions.

MFA Thesis Hours



Studies in Papermaking

Topics in the history and technique of papermaking.


Conceptual and methodological approaches to 2-D and 3-D paper works; students create a body of works that couple the unique properties of paper-pulp medium with personal visual ideas and clarity of intent; contemporary issues in paper pulp and the medium's relationship to larger art and craft contexts.

Islamic and Asian Papermaking History and Technique

History, technique, and aesthetics of traditional Islamic and Asian hand paper making.

European Papermaking History and Technique

History and technique of traditional European hand papermaking and related aesthetics; students gain confidence in pursuing independent production of handmade papers or undertaking related research in their own particular areas of interest; fiber preparation, sheet forming, and drying/finishing methods; concurrent readings and discussions of related history and aesthetics; special projects selected by student with instructor approval.

Advanced Projects in Paper

Advanced independent projects undertaken in a classroom setting; collaborative group discussions to plan, implement, troubleshoot, and evaluate student projects.

Advanced Papermaking Production

Independent Western or Japanese style projects undertaken at UICB Research and Production Paper Facility at Oakdale Campus under faculty guidance; plan, implement, and evaluate professional scale production runs using full scale equipment


Lettering Arts

History of Western Letterforms

History of Western letterforms, with focus on tools, materials, techniques; the major hands, their place in history, their influence on modern times; creation of letterforms using appropriate tools; hands-on approach with emphasis on understanding rather than mastery.

Calligraphy: Foundational Hands

Fundamental calligraphic skills using Roman majuscule, Humanistic minuscule, Italic; basic layout and color theory incorporated into letter practice.

Calligraphy: Blackletter Hands

Development of proficiency in various hands, from vertical Textura to floridly gothic cursive; blackletter's historical connections with other disciplines

Studies in Letter Arts

Special topics and advanced projects in calligraphy and letter arts.



Elements of Book Art

Overview of book art process and techniques for nonmajors; introduction to traditional bookbinding skills, nontraditional book structures, and content development for artist books

Bookbinding I: Materials and Techniques

Hands-on introduction to materials and techniques commonly used in bookbinding.

Bookbinding II

Build on skills acquired in Bookbinding I; projects to complete six bindings based on historical and contemporary models; sewing styles, board attachments, endband types; nonadhesive and case-bound structures, varied materials and binding styles, their effects on structure, aesthetic considerations, further development of solid binding skills; historical development of particular binding practices.

Bookbinding III

Bookbinding structures based on historical and contemporary models; differences in various binding practices, how these differences affect function, why the styles developed; experience choosing appropriate structures for particular uses; emphasis on fine tuning skills and techniques required for advanced binding practices; sewn endbands, rounding and backing, sewing on varied supports, board attachments, and covering methods

Bookbinding IV: Advanced Projects

Advanced studies in bookbinding; fine binding styles, leather paring and tooling, advanced finishing techniques, refining skills; continued look at differences in regional binding practices, how these differences affect function, and why particular styles developed.

Studies in Bookbinding

Topics related to hand bookbinding.

Artists' Books

Exploration of the book as a form for artistic expression; emphasis on conceptual development; relationship between content, form, and structure; how a book's structure and design can enhance and integrate part of the work's meaning.

Historical Book Structures

Historical development of book structures examined through surviving examples, construction of historical models

Boxes and Enclosures

Hands-on techniques for a variety of book enclosures; appropriateness, aesthetic issues concerning box design; Japanese wraparound case, drop-spine box, hinged and lidded boxes, slipcase; technical skill development.



Elements of Letterpress

Introduction to letterpress printing for non book art majors; metal type, relief printing, page layout, and basic typography; basic use of Vandercook Proof Press; experimentation with diverse letterpress techniques.

Letterpress I

Mechanics of letterpress printing, typography, and design as applied to hand set metal type and edition printing; printing on a Vandercook proof press; introduction to photopolymer plates and methods of illustration related to edition printing, historical aspects of printing technology, typecasting, type classification; role of letterpress in modern private press and contemporary artist books.

Letterpress II

Builds on skills acquired in Letterpress I; students produce an editioned letterpress printed chapbook or artist book, a poster for a public event, and an image built from metal type; exploration of hand‐set metal, digital typesetting, printing from photopolymer plates, and pressure printing; press mechanics and operation; publication philosophies, manuscript acquisition, and topics specific to literary fine press and artist books; historical and contemporary context for literary fine press publications and artist book work.

Letterpress III: The Handprinted Book

Advanced work in fine press book design. Exploration of problems in hand-printing books--choice of manuscript, editing, design, typesetting, proofreading, printing and binding; histories of printing and of the book, emphasis on 20th- and 21st-century book design and literature. Issues of book design and production related to letterpress printing.

Letterpress III: Imagemaking on the Proof Press

Advanced work in alternative and innovative letterpress technologies as they apply to imagemaking processes for fine press printing. Topics include pressure printing, photopolymer from non-digital negatives, explorations of type-high surfaces, monoprints on the Vandercook, applying hand work to editioned prints. Students complete a series of print exercises for each process, a small printed book sketch, and a longer format editioned artist book.

Letterpress IV: Advanced Projects

Development and/or production of one substantial project; focus on acquiring or creating a text and/or other content; project development; range of print techniques available in letterpress printing; issues involved in producing editioned artist books or fine press work; opportunity to expand existing printing; classroom setting augments work sessions with in-progress critiques, readings, and visits to special collections.

Studies in Printing

Special topics and advanced projects in printing.


Introduction to letterform and typographic fundamentals; designing with type--attention to composition, hierarchy, historical practice. This course provides an overview of the history, principles, processes, and terminology in typography. The focus is on the organizational and creative aspects of designing with type, and on the development of the necessary technical skills.


Digital Bookwork

Computer Graphics for Book Arts

Introduction to Adobe Creative Suite graphic design software (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop); emphasis on using software for book arts applications; typesetting and pagination of multipage documents; methods for combining text and image; tools and techniques for digital illustration; creation and manipulation of digital images; preparations of digital files for desktop or letterpress printing and services bureau output.

Book and Publication Design

Students plan, design, and produce a book using Adobe Creative Suite; page layout software, typography, page layout and design, book formatting, handling of image files, preparation of materials for print and other contemporary book media; history of book design, book design in contemporary publishing; visit to University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections.

Digital Design for Artists' Books

Introduction to concepts, techniques, and technologies used to design and produce artists' books with personal computers and graphic design software.

Studies in Book Technologies

Topics such as book design, printing, paper arts, letterforms, typography.

Material Analysis Area

Topics in Material Analysis

Analysis and description of physical book artifacts and their component parts (parchment, paper, bookbinding) and allied specialties (the lettering arts, printing and illustration techniques); reading, writing, presentations.

Scholarly Inquiry Area

Literature and the Book

Study of authors, genres, and formats, as affected by the cultural conditions of writing, printing, publishing, collecting, and reading. English majors may apply this course to the area and/or period requirement designated in the course description at MYUI.

The Book in the Middle Ages

Relation of text, decoration, function, creators, and audience in different genres of medieval manuscript books 400-1500 A.D.

The Transition from Manuscript to Print

Western manuscripts and books 1200-1600; changes in production and distribution methods and in how texts were used, in cultural context.

Introduction to Book Studies

Theory and practice of book studies; meanings of word and image in the book format; comparative study of other media; applied study of the codex as physical artifact. English majors may apply this course to the area and/or period requirement designated in the course description at MYUI.

Introduction to Book History

Topics related to production, distribution, and consumption of books through history and into the future.

American Print Culture

Exploration of a wide range of imagery printed and published in the United States during 19th century (1776-1900); fine art original prints, popular imagery in periodicals and illustrated books, scholarly literature, history of evolving technologies, variety of printed work; shifting reputation of printed art and its makers.

Topics in Book History

Authorship, publishing, and reading within specific historical and cultural contexts. English majors may apply this course to the area and/or period requirement designated in the course description at MYUI.

Special Project for Graduate Students

Independent study.

History of Readers and Reading

Cultural nature of reading practices in historic and contemporary contexts of reading; reading communities; dimensions of gender, age, class, religion, race, ethnicity; examples of recent scholarship; use of primary resources; seminar.

Topics in Book Studies

Topics relevant to book studies and special collections.

Book Studies Proseminar

Advanced, 1-3 credit hour course taught occasionally, focusing on specialized topics in book studies.