Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing and Rhetoric

2013-2014 PWR Course Offerings and Schedule

Program Information

Applicants must be currently admitted to graduate study or approved for enrollment through Extended Studies. Because only 6 hours of extended studies credits may be applied toward the Certificate, students who initially take courses in the certificate program through Extended Studies should apply for admission to the program after the completion of 6 credits of course work, at the latest. Other students are also strongly urged to apply after completing 2 certificate courses. Completion of course work is not in itself a guarantee of admission to the Certificate. Applicants must submit the following documents:

  • a goals statement
  • an analytical writing sample of at least 1,000 words
  • two letters of recommendation
  • a portfolio of their professional writing or editing
  • two official transcripts from all tertiary (college) institutions attended
  • any other materials required by Graduate Admissions.

We do not require GRE scores. We find that the most persuasive letters of recommendation come from former professors rather than employers. Writing samples will be scanned; therefore they need not be elegantly bound or presented. We do recommend, however, that applicants write up a brief introduction to each of the professional samples, outlining its audience and purpose, as well as the particular challenges posed by the writing task.

The certificate may be pursued concurrently with any of several degree programs in English and elsewhere in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Part of the work toward the certificate may be applicable to these degrees.

IMPORTANT: If you decide to transfer into the MA program from the certificate program or using nondegree credits, more than half of your course credits must be earned after admittance to the program. Thus, only 12 credits of certificate or nondegree work will count toward the MA degree, so it is important to make this decision early. If you have taken courses as a non-degree student, you should know that if you decide to switch from Certificate to MA, you may lose credit for the courses you have taken (as the total that can be applied to the MA is 12). Similarly, only 6 credits of non-degree courswork will count toward the Certificate (so be sure to apply to the Certificate program before completing that second course). Here is the what the catalog says about the certifiate program:
2010-2011 Catalog:
"Students can initially enroll in the certificate program as nondegree students, but must apply for admission to the certificate program no later than the second semester of study. Because only 6 credits earned as a nondegree student may be applied to the certificate, students who initially take courses as nondegree should apply for admission before completing 6 credits of course work. Completion of course work is not in itself a guarantee of admission to the certificate program."

2011-2012 Catalog:
"More than half of the credits required for the graduate certificate program must be taken after admission to that program." (This effectively means 6 credits/ 2 courses for an 18 credit certificate, as is the case with PWR).
(Note that the policies are no longer available on the program information page and are now in the Graduate Policies section of the catalog)

University Catalog: PWR Certificate


Certificate candidates must complete 18 hours of English graduate courses, earning a grade of "B" or better in each, distributed according to the plan below and chosen from the following courses.

Core Course (3 credits)
501 — Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric (only offered in the fall)
Research Course (3 credits)
502 — Research Methods in Rhetoric and Writing (only offered in the spring)
Professional Writing and Rhetoric Courses (6 credits)
503 — Theory and Practice of Editing
504 — Internship in Writing and Editing
505 — Computer-Assisted Publications Writing and Design
508 — Digital Rhetoric and Design
611 — Studies in Rhetoric
612 — Cultures of Professional Writing
613 — Technical and Scientific Writing
697 — Composition Theory
Writing Course (3 credits)
You may select a course from the nonfiction writing courses below or 3 credits from the professional writing and rhetoric courses above.
506 — Research for Narrative Writing
565 — Forms of Nonfiction*
615 — Proseminar in Composition Instruction
616 — Nonfiction Writing Workshop (prerequisite: ENGL 565)
619 — Special Topics in Writing
695 — Writing and Learning
699 — Workshop in English
*Note: 565 is only available for non-MFA students in the spring semester.
Elective Course (3 credits)
You may take any English course or a course from another discipline that supports your writing and research interests to fulfill this requirement. In most cases, however, this course should be one of the Professional Writing and Rhetoric courses that you have not yet taken. Some courses may need special approval from the individual instructors or the department. You should consult your advisor.

PWR Contacts

  • Coordinator, MA concentration in PWR: Douglas Eyman,