About the 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 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 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 any additional three professional writing courses.
Penn LPS Online courses in the Certificate in Professional Writing are offered on an accelerated (8-week) schedule. Courses in the certificate program are largely asynchronous with some optional synchronous sessions to be scheduled by the instructors. For more information about specific course dates, please visit the Course Schedule page.
You also have the option to enroll in individual courses without committing to the entire 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 courses from the advanced course list.
*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.
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 five basic courses listed below earn the Certificate in Professional Writing. Those students are then eligible to pursue an Advanced Certificate in Professional Writing by adding two advanced courses.
- Fundamentals of Professional Writing (required)
- Writing for Specialized Audiences: Private Sector
- The Elements of Style: Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics
- The Power of Storytelling
- Writing for Social Media
- Writing for Popular Audiences
- Writing with Numbers: Presenting Data Effectively
- Writing for Presentation and Public Speaking
- Public Relations and Crisis Communication
Courses are subject to change.
Meet the Faculty
Ella R. Browning
Associate Director, Critical Writing Program
Associate Director, The Marks Family Writing Center
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
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:
- Fundraising/development consultant
- Speechwriter and strategic communications professional
- Grant writer