COVID-19 information

Fall 2021 update  |  FAQ page  |  Latest updates

Home / Admission / Undergraduate Admission / Writing Certificate

Writing Certificate Program

Students may add a Writing Certificate credential to their DARS at any time during the academic year. However, students must add the Writing Certificate at least two semesters before their intended graduation date, and preferably sooner. To add a Writing Certificate to the official DARS, a student needs to meet certain GPA and coursework requirements and needs to schedule an appointment with the Writing Certificate Director or an Undergraduate English Advisor to complete brief paperwork.

The Writing Certificate is a credential that students receive after having successfully completed a specified course of study. This course of study consists of 19 credit hours of advanced writing classes and includes a professional writing internship.

The most obvious outcome for students completing the Writing Certificate Program is the knowledge that, as a writer, a graduate of this program will have been trained in the writing skills most frequently sought after and prized by today's employers. As students progress through the course work, they develop and improve their writing skills and move beyond fundamentals to effective professional communication.

For more information, contact:

English Department Undergraduate Academic Advising

To make an appointment call: 


Image Credit: "Hand Writing" by Dave King, modifed by Bruce Matsunaga under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

What are the benefits of having a writing certificate?

A general benefit you will receive from earning a writing certificate is the further development of your writing skills. As you take the required and elective writing courses in our program, your knowledge about what makes effective communication and your own ability to create meaning will improve. The writing certificate authenticates that improvement. In addition, you will:

  • Gain confidence as a writer and strengthen your trust in your own capacity to communicate with others.
  • Know that you have pursued opportunities to develop and refine the kinds of skills and achievement highly valued in school and in the world of work.
  • Have self-assurance and faith in yourself as a writer.

A second benefit you may receive is that your ability to write successful assignments at the university will increase. When you learn the theories and practice the skills taught in writing certificate courses, your writing under a variety of conditions will improve. Most importantly, for many students, earning a writing certificate will prepare you for the writing demands of your chosen career. Nearly every profession requires its members to write—to communicate with colleagues, clients and the general public. A few statistics will make the point: 89 percent of managers who were surveyed reported that they write memos or reports at least twice a week, while 74 percent of professionals, 65 percent of technical workers, 56 percent of sales people and 73 percent of clerical workers report that they write extended papers at least twice a week. (Mikulecky 1998) As you take writing certificate courses, you may find you enjoy writing so much that you'd like to pursue a career as a professional writer. If you do, you will be among professionals who have a secure future. In fact, U.S. News and World Report (October 26, 1998) included "technical writer" in their list of 20 top jobs that will be needed into the future. When you earn a writing certificate, you will be able to demonstrate to employers that you believe it important to master the skills they want and need.

Who should pursue a Writing Certificate?

Any person who wishes to enhance his or her writing skills, either for personal or professional purposes, will benefit from obtaining a writing certificate. Students in any academic program may participate in the Writing Certificate Program. In addition, members of the community and employees in business and industry may also participate.

BIS students who wish to complete the Writing Certificate as one of their two areas of concentration should contact the Writing Certificate Director or an Undergraduate English Advisor once they have completed the 30 requisite hours of coursework to establish their ASU Grade Point Average. Coordination with an Advisor is required, since simply taking the coursework will not ensure that the certificate credential has been added as a part of your official DARS.

When should I add the Writing Certificate to my DARS?

Students who meet the GPA and core course requirements for the Writing Certificate may have the Certificate credential added to their official DARS any time during the academic year. However, students are strongly encouraged to meet with the Writing Certificate Director or an Undergraduate English Advisor at least two (2) semesters prior to their planned date of graduation to ensure that their certificate credential is included on their official DARS in time for them to complete the two final courses required for the certificate before their graduation. The reason to meet with an advisor is to ensure that students have the Writing Certificate added to their official DARS so they can register for the internship and the portfolio capstone courses required for the certificate. While students may take the other core coursework in the certificate program prior to adding the certificate credential to their DARS, and credit for these courses can be applied retroactively, both the internship and the portfolio courses require approval by the Writing Certificate Director and the Department of English Internship Coordinator and should not be taken concurrently in the same semester.

May I specialize in a particular type of writing?

You may choose to emphasize general writing or you may wish to take courses which prepare you for particular workplaces. For example, you may wish to specialize in technical writing by choosing courses such as document production and then take technical editing, writing in cyberspace, and technical rhetoric as your electives. Alternately, you could choose to specialize in persuasive writing by taking persuasive writing on public issues and imperatives of proof among your courses. Other combinations are available from courses taught in business, art, computer or design departments. Consult with the Writing Certificate Director or an undergraduate English Advisor as you plan your program of study.

A Note to Employers

The faculty of the English department of Arizona State University invite you to join with us in a partnership that can be beneficial to you and your employees as well as to us and our students. By working with us to provide internship opportunities for our students, you will be serving the future. As students work for you, they benefit from real work experience, and you get some of your important work done by eager, well-trained writers. In addition, we invite you to offer encouragement to your current employees who may benefit professionally and personally from advanced training in written communication by earning a writing certificate from Arizona State University. Please contact our writing certificate director, undergraduate advisor, or any one of the writing faculty members listed on this Web page for more information about how you can become involved in this valuable partnership.