Certificate in Professional Writing

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Certificate in Professional Writing


The Certificate in Professional Writing at Penn LPS Online 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.

  • Courses
1 Term
(8 weeks)
with optional
live sessions
  • Tuition
cost per c.u.*
online general fee
per c.u.
  • Certificate
4 Courses
per certificate
4 Terms
(32 weeks)

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, the professional writing courses get 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 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 at Penn LPS Online 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. Tuition for the certificate program is calculated at a per c.u. rate.

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. Learn more about specific course dates on the Penn LPS Online Academic Calendar page.

You may also 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.


Instructor: Valerie Ross >
1 c.u.

Accelerated semester format, offered in fall 1 and spring 1
Certificate students must take PROW100 as their first course

Using an immersive, case-based teaching style, this course introduces the basic concepts and vocabulary students build upon throughout the remainder of the certificate and draw upon in all future writing tasks. Students become equipped with a deep understanding of how to analyze any writing situation and make their writing a purposeful act of communication. Students engage with a series of authentic writing scenarios and a range of activities that provide hands-on practice and instructor coaching and feedback, as well as targeted exercises for improving grammar, mechanics, clarity, precision and persuasiveness. This collaborative, problem-based learning approach provides students with the strategies and flexibility they need to adapt to an ever-changing multimedia communication environment.

Instructor: Ella Browning >
1 c.u.

Accelerated semester format, offered in fall 2

Using case studies and other real-world examples, this course provides an advanced introduction to writing for audiences in the private sector, including business, technical and professional organizations. Students learn to identify the different purposes, genres and specialized audiences one encounters when writing in the private sector, as well as methods for effectively reaching and persuading these audiences. The course also provides practical simulations to aid students as they adapt their processes and styles to specialized situations, expanding their writer’s repertoire while deepening their understanding of writing for a specific context. Genres to be studied include e-mail, letters (for example sales, job applications, rejection letters, responses to complaints), mission/vision/goal statements, biographical notes, organization descriptions and reports.

Instructor: Kristen Gay >
1 c.u.

Accelerated semester format, offered in fall 2 and spring 2
Prerequisite: PROW 100: Fundamentals of Professional Writing

This is an intensive, hands-on, guided practice to writing intended for those who would like to work on their basic writing skills or on a particular type of writing—for instance, targeting practice to real-world examples from their workplace. Receiving extensive individualized attention, students draft and revise their writing as well as engage in targeted exercises to address particular areas that need improvement. Students may focus on grammar and mechanics, as well as deeper structure, content and stylistic issues.

To enroll in the Writing Studio course, students must have already taken at least one professional writing course or are concurrently enrolled.

1 c.u.
Accelerated semester format, offered in spring 1

From business and science to medicine and nonprofit organizations, storytelling is increasingly recognized as one of the strongest tools of communication and persuasion. This course introduces students to the use and art of storytelling, also known as narrative studies. Students review storytelling in academic and professional communities as both a research tool for gathering information about particular communities or types of individuals, and as an effective rhetorical strategy for generating emotional appeal and action, and brand identity. They also explore storytelling as a compelling means of conveying complex and memorable information. This course explores how storytelling may be variously used for inquiry, evidence gathering and persuasion. Lessons are reinforced through the examination of business anecdotes, case studies, narrative medicine, biographical notes, personal statements and cover letters.

1 c.u.
Accelerated semester format, offered in spring 2

This course explores the use of social media campaigns for building a positive identity with customers or other audiences. We look at how to use social media to create coherent messaging, build a reputation and cultivate reader loyalty. We also explore how readers and designers approach multimedia texts as complex entities that bring together language, image, sound and gesture to produce a coherent message. With its multiple modalities—visual, aural and somatic—social media makes different types of demands of its creators and its audiences than those imposed by conventional top-down, left-to-right texts that one encounters in books, essays or letters, requiring an expanded understanding of rhetorical strategies and contexts.

*Academic credit (PDF) 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. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.


LPS Online

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326