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English Courses

The following courses will be offered every year as essential components of the professional writing program in English and are required courses in the Certificate program:

Advanced Professional Writing (English 708, 3 credits)
This course is essential for developing students' professional writing skills, especially their ability to manage large and complex projects. Students in this course learn how to diagnose and solve their writing problems through an analysis and understand ing of the writing process. Through audience analysis, organization, editing, and document design assignments, students also receive intensive review of their writing as well as exposure to both the theory and practice of technical communication. The cour se includes discussions with professional technical writers and tours or overviews of technical publishing companies or departments that produce documentation for worldwide audiences.

Rhetoric, Writing, and Information Technology (English 709, 3 credits)
This course is an advanced workshop-seminar that combines the best principles of writing clear, concise prose with issues of designing user-centered documents for global, international, and culturally diverse audiences. The course covers audience analysis , page design, integration of visuals, theories of modular and structured documentation, online documentation, help systems, Web-document design, instructional design, and usability. It includes peer editing and collaborative projects in which student te ams will do research on issues, factors, and principles that will enable them to design Web sites for diverse clients.

Advanced Project Management for Professional Writers (English 710, 3 credits)
This course develops proficiency in analyzing rhetorical situations and applying that knowledge throughout a project's evolution to ...

  1. establish realistic, context-sensitive goals for their projects,
  2. design documents to fulfill those goals and appeal to both reviewers and end users,
  3. conduct a variety of tests to evaluate whether early attempts have fulfilled project goals, and
  4. use test results to guide revision and editing decisions.

The course focuses on rhetorical and task analysis, project planning and management, document design, and text evaluation. Throughout the course, students work both individually and collaboratively on original documents (such as flyers, brochures, and pamphlets), and they evaluate early versions of texts created by professionals in organizations and students in other courses. Students will use computer programs for project management, document design, usability testing, and online editing.

Students who within the past five years have successfully completed courses equivalent to these required English courses may substitute alternate English graduate courses. Students are advised to consult with the program Administrative Assistant Alessandra Gillen at

Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing and Communication
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Last Updated: October 1, 2014
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