College of General Studies

Writing for the Professions

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Writing for the Professions Overview (PDF)

In today’s business climate, employees have discovered that the ability to research, organize, and write various kinds of documents is a critical component of many positions, including those that are primarily technical in nature. Organizations expect employees to communicate clearly and effectively with both colleagues and nonexpert stakeholders.

This 18-credit certificate provides participants with a strong foundation for developing these vital writing skills. You will learn techniques that are critical for producing clearly written documents—critiquing, analyzing, and researching—as well as the practical applications that build on this groundwork.

Who should participate:

Individuals for whom writing will be a major component of their job responsibilities, e.g., broadcasters, legal professionals, or reporters.

Upon completion of this certificate, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and analyze audience traits and perspectives
  • Determine a specific goal and/or purpose of a document, then organize and develop clearly written prose in support of that purpose
  • Apply concentrated knowledge of a specialized communication topic

This certificate is applicable to such fields as print and online writing professions, health professions, and nonprofit organizations.

Admission requirements

Students must meet requirements for admission to the College of General Studies. A certificate application form must be completed and returned to a College of General Studies academic advisor. To avoid a late fee, you should complete this process when registering for courses.

Obtaining the certificate

To receive the certificate, you must fill out an application with your academic advisor prior to completing your last term in the program. Check with your academic advisor for the application filing form and deadline, and be sure all requirements for the certificate have been met. To avoid a late fee, you should complete this process when registering for the term.

Curriculum: 18 credits 

Many courses are offered in the evenings and at off-campus locations. Not all courses are offered every term. All courses are three credits unless otherwise noted. Please check course descriptions for prerequisites.

Credits earned at other accredited educational institutions may be eligible for transfer. However, a minimum of 9 credits must be earned at the University of Pittsburgh. Students must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average in all University certificate courses.

For most undergraduate classes offered by the College of General Studies, the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Business Administration, visit

Required courses: 9 credits

ENGCMP 0400 Written Professional Communication

ENGWRT 0610 Introduction to Journalism and Nonfiction

And choose one of the following two courses:

COMMRC 0320 Mass Communication Process

ENGWRT 1330 Intermediate Nonfiction

Elective courses: 9 credits

Choose three courses from the following:

COMMRC 1730 Special Topics: Health Communications

COMMRC 1732 Special Topics: Media Relations

ENGCMP 0410 Writing in the Legal Professions

ENGCMP 0420 Writing for the Public

ENGCMP 0520 Integrating Writing and Design

ENGCMP 0550 Topics in Public/Professional Writing

ENGCMP 0560 Writing Arguments

ENGCMP 0600 Introduction to Technical Writing

ENGCMP 0610 Composing Digital Media

ENGCMP 1103 Public Relations Writing

ENGCMP 1112 Professional Uses of Social Media

ENGCMP 1400 Grant and Proposal Writing

ENGWRT 1370 Journalism Bootcamp: Write Now

ENGWRT 1377 Media Literacy: Reading and Writing in the Digital World

ENGWRT 1391 Writing the Review

ENGWRT 1393 Sports Writing

ENGWRT 1403 Topics in Nonfiction: Electronic Media

Requirements subject to change. Check with an academic advisor before registering.