Writing for the Professions Certificate

A solid command of the written word is a valuable, marketable skill for many positions and industries. Businesses of all kinds need skilled writers to help communicate important messages internally and externally.

This 18 credit certificate in Writing for the Professions offered by the College of General Studies will help enhance your written communication skills. You’ll have the flexibility to choose English and communication courses that make the most sense for your career goals. A wide array of electives include topics such as writing arguments, sports writing, grant writing, health communication, and public relations. 

The CGS Difference

Our certificate program can be a standalone professional development opportunity or completed in preparation for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a writing-related field.

Program Expectations

Graduates of this program 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 knowledge of a specialized writing/communication topic

Credit Requirements

  • The Writing for the Professions certificate requires 18 credits, including nine (9) credits of core classes and nine (9) elective credits.
  • Students must achieve a minimum grade of C (2.0) or better for all courses required for the program.
  • Credits earned at other accredited educational institutions may be eligible for transfer. However, a minimum of nine (9) credits must be earned at the University of Pittsburgh. 
  • English Composition 0200 Seminar in Composition or its equivalent is required for all 1000-level Communication courses.
  • Many upper-level courses have additional prerequisites, these are indicated in parenthesis after each course. Students are advised to plan their coursework accordingly

Flexible Format

Many CGS programs offer a blend of face-to-face and flexible online class formats, all designed to meet our students' needs and schedule constraints.

Online courses are marked with (Web) or (Hybrid). Courses offered in both face-to-face and online formats are marked with (F2F and Web) or (F2F and Hybrid). Courses with no indicator are offered face-to-face only.

Visit CGS Courses to learn more about our online formats and how to search for CGS classes in the course catalog.

Required Courses: (9 credits)

Catalog Number Title Credits
ENGCMP 0400 Written Professional Communication (F2F and Web) 3
ENGWRT 0610 Introduction to Journalism and Nonfiction 3

And choose one of the following two courses:

Catalog Number Title Credits
COMMRC 0320 Mass Communication Process (F2F and Web) 3
ENGWRT 1330 Intermediate Nonfiction (PREQ: ENGWRT 0550 or 0610) 3

Electives: (9 credits)

Choose three courses from the following:

Catalog Number Title Credits
COMMRC 1730 Special Topics: Health Communications* (F2F and Web) (PREQ:COMMRC 0300) 3
COMMRC 1732 Special Topics in Mass Communication: Public and Media Relations* (Hybrid, available as of Fall 2021) (PREQ:COMMRC 0300) or Communication and New Media Technologies* (F2F) (PREQ:COMMRC 0300)  3
ENGCMP 0410 Writing in the Legal Professions 3
ENGCMP 0420 Writing for the Public 3
ENGCMP 0515 Persuasive Writing in Advertising (F2F and Web, available as of Fall 2021) 3
ENGCMP 0520 Integrating Writing and Design 3
ENGCMP 0550 Topics in Public/Professional Writing 3
ENGCMP 0560 Writing Arguments 3
ENGCMP 0600 Introduction to Technical Writing 3
ENGCMP 0610 Composing Digital Media 3
ENGCMP 1103 Public Relations Writing (PREQ:COMMRC 0300) 3
ENGCMP 1111 Professional Writing in Global Contexts (PREQ:ENGCMP 0200 or ENGFLM 0210)  3
ENGCMP 1112 Professional Uses of Social Media (PREQ:ENGCMP 0200 or ENGFLM 0210)  3
ENGCMP 1400 Grant Writing for Nonprofits (F2F and Web) (PREQ:ENGCMP 0200 or ENGFLM 0210)  3
ENGCMP 1401 Writing for Fundraising and Development (PREQ:ENGCMP 0200 or ENGFLM 0210)  3
ENGCMP 1420 Writing Proposals for Business (PREQ:ENGCMP 0200 or ENGFLM 0210)  3
ENGWRT 0550 Fundamentals of News Reporting 3
ENGWRT 1370 Journalism Bootcamp: Write Now  3
ENGWRT 1377 Media Literacy: Writing and Reading Your Way Through The Digital Landscape 3
ENGWRT 1391 Writing the Review 3
ENGWRT 1393 Sports Writing 3
ENGWRT 1399 Topics in Nonfiction: Newspaper 3
ENGWRT 1403 Topics in Nonfiction: Electronic Media (PREQ: ENGWRT 0550 or 0610) 3

* Make sure to take the appropriate section of this course.


As you plan your certificate coursework, please make sure to review the CGS Course Overlap policy for information on how many courses can be double-counted if a student elects to pursue a CGS certificate in combination with other CGS and non-CGS majors, minors, and certificates. If you have questions, please contact your CGS advisor or CGS Advising at CGSAdv@pitt.edu.

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