Certificate in Professional Writing

Certificate in Professional Writing
Professional Writing

About the Online Certificate in Professional Writing

The Certificate in Professional Writing gives you a scenario-based deep dive into the kinds of writing essential to business. Our online professional writing courses offer a series of concepts and practical applications that provide an accelerated understanding of the subtle arts of communication, enhanced by tips to make anyone a power-writer—a master of grammar, concision, and clarity.

Whether you are in an entry-level position and want to ramp up your writing skills or are an accomplished writer ready to expand and refine your repertoire, our online professional writing courses take you to the next level. We take you beyond the basics of structure and style. Our coursework emphasizes professional expertise and extensive feedback as we share and cutting-edge findings in the field of writing. Find out how to incorporate your personal or corporate brand's story into every piece of communication and discover the best ways to identify and appeal to target audiences.

The Certificate in Professional Writing is a 4-course, 4 c.u.* credit program of study taught by University of Pennsylvania faculty. To earn the certificate, it is recommended that students enroll first in the Fundamentals of Professional Writing course, followed by three additional professional writing courses.

Penn LPS Online courses in the Certificate in Professional Writing are offered on an accelerated (8-week) schedule. Courses in the online certificate program are largely asynchronous with some optional synchronous sessions to be scheduled by the instructors.

You also have the option to enroll in individual professional writing courses without committing to the entire online certificate, enjoying the flexibility and expertise offered by Penn LPS Online to suit your schedule and interests. Students who complete the basic certificate may pursue an advanced certificate (6-course, 6 c.u.*) by adding two additional online courses from the course list. Visit the Cost of Attendance page for course tuition and fee rates.

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

Student Voices

Aggie Rieger

Aggie Rieger

Clinical Research Coordinator, University of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine

Certificate in Professional Writing

“It’s thrilling to get to think about writing outside of the academic bubble. I am a clinical research coordinator—this fall, I’ll begin a PhD program in clinical-community psychology—and I’ll definitely apply what I’ve learned in the professional writing classes. I plan to continue to research and hope to teach; I would like to be able to reach students with learning tools that are helpful to them. Both embracing the writing curriculum and mastering the online platforms have been very worthwhile. One magical thing about writing is that it’s dynamic, and it’s everywhere. In my experience, the program has been interested in communication quite broadly—I attempt to think deeply and effectively communicate both in and out of the workplace.”

The Certificate in Professional Writing prepares you to:

  • Assess audience and purpose for communication targeted at achieving specific goals
  • Analyze different audiences, scenarios, and contexts in order to shape your messaging most effectively whatever your audience
  • Develop effective rhetorical strategies and skills to persuade specific audiences—personal, professional, and social—through visual, written, and multimedia communication
  • Draft and revise written work for precision, clarity, and power
  • Develop empathic and analytic skills to integrate and build upon other viewpoints and perspectives
  • Learn how readers, writers, and designers use complex multimedia texts incorporating language, image, sound, and gesture to produce a coherent, engaging message
  • Explore how to engage the senses—visual, aural, and somatic—to convey information effectively through social media
  • Understanding how to make complex information accessible to audiences through effective visualization


Certificate students who complete four of the online courses listed below earn a Certificate in Professional Writing. Those students are then eligible to pursue an Advanced Certificate in Professional Writing by taking two additional professional writing courses.

Courses are subject to change.

See Course Tuition

Meet The Faculty

  • Faculty Director, Penn LPS Online Certificate in Professional Writing
  • Director, Critical Writing Program, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing
  • Lecturer in Critical Writing, University of Pennsylvania
Michael Chiappini
  • Lecturer, Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing
  • Lecturer, Critical Writing Program, University of Pennsylvania
Mel Kapadia
  • Lecturer in Critical Writing, University of Pennsylvania
Stacy Kastner
  • Associate Director, Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing
Aurora MacRae-Crerar
  • Lecturer, Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing
  • Associate Director, Writing in the Disciplines, University of Pennsylvania
  • Online lecturer, Penn’s Master of Liberal Arts
  • Lecturer in Critical Writing, University of Pennsylvania
Jordan Taylor
  • Lecturer in Critical Writing, University of Pennsylvania
  • Lecturer in Critical Writing, University of Pennsylvania
Dana Walker, Instructor, University of Pennsylvania’s Critical Writing Program
  • Lecturer in Critical Writing, University of Pennsylvania
Patrick Wehner
  • Lecturer in Critical Writing, University of Pennsylvania

Careers related to Professional Writing

The Certificate in Professional Writing is designed to enhance your business writing and communication skills and equip you with proven writing strategies applicable across writing contexts and professional settings. Career options include:

  • Editor
  • Fundraising/development consultant
  • Speechwriter and strategic communications professional
  • Grant writer

Course Registration

Spring 2021 registration is now open

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