Professional Writing Certificate
In addition to our online MA in English with an emphasis in
professional writing, we also offer an 18-hour Certificate in Professional
Writing. This certificate is designed to provide post-baccalaureate education
in communications skills that are in daily demand among engineers, scientists,
finance experts, and other professionals.
For this graduate certificate, you must complete 6 of the
- ENG502: Advanced Technical Writing
- ENG503: Written Communication in Organizations
- ENG517: Professional Editing
- ENG522: Rhetoric and Writing in Professional Communities
- ENG526: Advanced Professional Writing
- ENG549: Information Design and Usability Testing
- ENG569: Project Management and Document Development
- ENG599: Contemporary Developments (taught by prof. writing faculty)
- ENG605: Proposal Writing
- ENG606: Issues in Technical and Professional Writing
- ENG608: Fieldwork Experience (directed by prof. writing faculty)
the academic catalog for the
most recent information regarding courses and academic plans.
All courses are three credit hours. Courses are offered online, unless
Eng 502: Advanced
Technical Writing. Analysis and practice of skills used by professional technical
writers: audience analysis, rhetorical strategy, document navigation and
usability; treats both print and online documents.
Eng 503: Written
Communication in Organizations. The influence of written communication on
professionals in both government and the private sector; strategies for
increasing the effectiveness of writing within an organizational context (not
Professional Editing. Editing both online and print documents. Topics include:
comprehensive editing, Website navigation, visual design, copymarking,
copyediting, electronic editing, grammar and punctuation.
Eng 522: Rhetoric
and Writing in Professional Communities. Intensive study of written discourse
typical of professional communities in education, business, industry, and government.
Eng 526: Advanced
Professional Writing. This course studies the research and writing processes in
both academic and professional settings. Topics include establishing a valid
and useful problem for study; effective research design and method; data
analysis; and effective writing of clear, concise, and publishable reports or
Information Design and Usability Testing. Document and Website design, layout,
and navigation, and systematic processes for testing and evaluating these, especially
Websites and online hypertext documents.
Eng 569: Project
Management and Document Development. Study of and practice with the complex
business and publishing processes through which both print documents and
Websites are produced, both by individuals and by teams.
Eng 599: Contemporary Developments. Various topics. Recently
the topic was academic entrepreneurship.
Eng 605: Proposal
Writing. This course develops proposal strategy and writing processes through
proposal design, development, revision, editing, and review processes, as
practiced in the working worlds of business, industry, government, and
Eng 606: Issues in
Technical and Professional Writing. Intensive analysis of a single topic in
professional communications. Topics vary, such as ethics, gender, producing
documents for non-native English speakers, writing for specific industries
(computer, aerospace, environment).
Eng 608: Fieldwork
Experience. Professional work focusing on writing, editing, or design for
either print or Web format.
See Professor Rothfork's homepage for syllabi of most of these courses.
How to applyRead more
To apply for the Certificate in Professional
Writing complete the online Graduate
School application. Select “Search by Program” and select
“Professional Writing Certificate” to navigate to the correct application
page. You can upload all materials
directly on this online site.
Materials you will need to upload include are your:
- letter of application in which you explain your
interest in earning the Certificate
- a current resume
- a writing sample of 4-6 pages (this can be a
work-related document or an academic paper)
Apply for entry into the Certificate program before you
complete nine graduate hours of course work.
Articulation with MA programs
- If you later decide to pursue an MA, you must apply for
admission to the MA program. Even though the courses you take for the
certificate program will count towards an MA in English or the Master of
Administration, the Professional Writing Certificate program is a discrete
program. You must make a separate application for each degree or certificate
you hope to earn.
- When the above materials are received, your file will be
reviewed by the faculty. If admitted to the program, you will be notified in
- You must be admitted to the certificate program before
registering for the last 9 hours of the certificate.
Your adviser will review your Program of Studies with you.
Any changes in your program should be approved in advance by your adviser, who
must also approve any Petition for Transfer of Credit.
Admission to the Professional Writing Certificate Program
Because students come to graduate programs with different
academic and professional experiences, three different avenues for admission
- You must have an undergraduate degree with a cumulative
grade point average of 3.0 or higher. If you have done graduate work, it must
average 3.0 or higher. Conditional admission will be considered for applicants
with GPAs of 2.5 or higher;
- You must have an undergraduate degree with the last 60
semester hours graded 3.0 or higher. If you have done graduate work, it must
average 3.0 or higher;
- As a non-degree student, you must complete 9 approved
graduate hours from Northern Arizona University with a 3.3 or higher grade
point average. Contact the English Department when you have completed 9 hours
of approved coursework. Alternatively, you may send a letter to the English
Department requesting a change of status from provisional to regular status.
The admission committee will use these criteria, along with
a review of your letter, resume, and writing sample to determine admission.
- You must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. No
more than three hours of coursework with a grade of C may be used to satisfy
the requirements of the Certificate program. The Graduate College will note the
successful completion of the Certificate program on your transcript.
- Admission to the Certificate program does not guarantee
admission to an MA program. If you wish to apply for admission to an MA
program, you must make a separate application for the master’s program.
- With the consent of the program coordinator and upon
admission to an MA program in English, you may apply the six courses (18 hours)
you took to complete the Certificate to help fulfill the requirements for the
MA in English.
- If you are currently enrolled in a graduate program of
study leading to a degree and also wish to pursue a graduate Certificate, you
must inform the Certificate program coordinator and the Graduate College of
your intent to seek the graduate Certificate.
- No more than one NAU 400-level course (3 credits or 4 credits)
may be used to satisfy the requirements for the Certificate.
- Three hours of appropriate coursework may be transferred
from another university with consent of program coordinator.
- There is no residency requirement for the Professional
For further information, contact Professor John Rothfork.