Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing and Communication

Department Links: Overview
The Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing and Communication is designed for students who wish to pursue professional careers in technical writing, communication, corporate training and instructional design, or user interface and Web-document design.

Eligibility and Admission

Students must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75.


  • All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School through the Panthera Admission Application.
  • In addition, send the following items directly to the Department of English:
    1. A portfolio of writing samples.
    2. Two letters of recommendation from persons knowledgeable about applicants’ recent academic or work experience.
    3. A statement of purpose that identifies the applicants’ knowledge of workplace communication practices and business operations, their professional experience, or basic undergraduate coursework in business writing, technical writing, and communication.
    4. A statement describing the applicants’ access to and operational knowledge of online communication technology, including a PC or equivalent computer system with Internet access and other applications sufficient to participate in the program’s online learning activities.
    5. An unofficial transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended.
    MAILING ADDRESS: Department of English, Attn: Certificate Program, UWM, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413.

  • Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence.
  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted in to a certificate program.

Certificate Requirements

Credits and Courses

Students must complete 15 credits of coursework as outlined below. The Certificate will be awarded when students achieve the following:

Courses in English, 9 credits
Students will take 9 credits selected from the following graduate-level English courses:
Topics in Advanced Communications: (subtitled) (English 431)
Professional and Technical Communications (English 435 or English 708)
Writing for Information Technology (English 436)
Project Management for Professional Writers (English 437)
Information Design (English 439)
Grant Writing (English 443)
Technical Editing (English 444)
Advanced Professional Writing (English 708)
Rhetoric, Writing, and Information Technology (English 709)
Advanced Project Management for Professional Writers (English 710)
Topics in Professional Writing: Subtitle (English 711)
Professional Writing Theory (English 712)
Qualitative Research (English 713)

Students who within the past five years have successfully completed courses equivalent to these required English courses may, with the approval of the Certificate Coordinator, substitute alternate English graduate courses.

Courses in Communication, 6 credits
Students will take 6 credits selected from the following graduate-level Communication Courses:
International and Global Communication (Commun 550)
Introduction to Mediation (Commun 665)
Managerial Communication (Commun 710)
Argumentation Theory and Practice (Commun 762)
Rhetorical Leadership and Ethics (Commun 772)
Studies of Communication in Organizations (Commun 810)
Seminar in Mediated Communication (Commun 813)
Communication Technologies in Organizations (Commun 815)
Communication in a Customer Service Setting (Commun 820)
Seminar in Small Group Communication (Commun 823)
Seminar in Instructional Communication (Commun 827)
Negotiation (Commun 830)
Theory and Practice of Mediation (Commun 865)
The Digital Mirror (Commun 873)
Rhetoric of/and the Internet (Commun 893)

Grade Point Average Requirement

A minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM is required.

Transfer Credit

No more than 20% of the required credits may be taken at an institution other than UWM. These courses are subject to Graduate School transfer policy and must be approved by the director of the certificate program.

Articulation with Degree Programs

  1. Credits and courses required for a certificate may double count toward meeting UWM graduate degree requirements subject to the following restrictions:
    • Degree programs must approve the courses from certificates that can double count toward the degree.
    • All credits taken in completion of certificate requirements may count towards a UWM graduate degree as long as they do not contribute more than 90% of the total credits needed to obtain the degree. (Note: Students in Ph.D. programs must still complete the minimum residency requirements)
    • Certificate courses used toward meeting degree requirements must be completed within the time limit for transfer credit.
  2. Courses completed for a degree may be counted toward a subsequent certificate, subject to all certificate policy requirements.
  3. A course may count toward no more than one certificate and one degree.
  4. Students may not earn a certificate subsequent to a concentration in the same area.

Time Limit

Certificate program time limits shall be established as follows:

18 or fewer credits/Three years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

19 or more credits/Four years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

For certificates that are designed as add-ons to degree programs and are awarded concurrent with the degree, the time limit shall be the same as that of the degree program.