UWP 112A

Introduction to Professional Editing

Prerequisite: satisfaction of the upper division composition requirement. This course does NOT satisfy the upper division composition requirement.

    1. Catalog Description

Lecture/discussion—3 hours; extensive writing. Prerequisite: satisfaction of the upper-division writing requirement. General editing practices and principles with an emphasis on professional editing in organizational contexts, including academia and the workplace. Suitable for students planning careers in technical communication, journalism, publishing, management, and professions that require substantial writing, such as engineering and science.  

    1. Course Goals
  • Understanding editing processes and practices in a wide range of organizational contexts
  • Editing for clarity, conciseness, accuracy, and correctness (copyediting)
  • Editing for content, organization, style, and visual design (comprehensive editing)
  • Editing illustrations such as tables, graphs, structural illustrations, and representational illustrations
  • Learning and using print and electronic editing symbols
  • Creating and using style sheets and style guides
  • Developing productive editing tool use habits in word processing, desktop publishing, web design, and collaboration software
  • Understanding the editor as a reader/user advocate
  • Developing productive relationships with writers and other project team members through reader-centered comments and edits
  • Understanding how new information and communication technologies are changing editor roles and practices, for both subject matter experts who do editing work and for professional editors
  • Entry Level

Restricted to upper-division students who have satisfied the upper-division writing requirement. Counts toward the writing minor, Group C: Theory, History, and Design (with advisor permission).


    1. Topical Outline
  • The editing process
    • texts and situations
    • how readers use documents
    • researching readers and usability testing
    • document development and production
  • Marking paper copy
    • Symbols of editorial markup
    • Problems of markup
    • Marks for graphic design
    • Queries to writers
  • Marking digital copy
    • Procedural markup versus structural markup
    • Styles and templates
    • Markup languages for online documents
    • Cascading style sheets
  • Copyediting
    • making a document correct, consistent, accurate, and complete
    • making an illustration correct, consistent, accurate, and complete
    • using style manuals and style sheets for consistency
    • spelling, capitalization, and abbreviations
    • grammar and usage
    • punctuation
    • quantitative and technical material
    • proofreading
  • Comprehensive editing
    • Process of comprehensive editing
    • Style: definition, sentence structures, verbs, and other words
    • Organization: organizing for performance, comprehension, and reuse
    • Visual design: terms, options, and functions
    • Illustrations: editing for accuracy and clarity, editing for graphic elements, integrating text and illustrations
  • Collaborating with writers
    • The editor-writer relationship
    • Strategies for working with writers
    • Correspondence with writers
  • Project management
    • Planning and content specifications
    • Estimating time and developing budgets
    • Document scheduling and tracking
    • Setting policy
  • Electronic editing
    • On-screen markup and query methods
    • Change tracking in word
    1. Grading criteria

Grades will be based 70% on students’ performance on in- and out-of-class writing and editing assignments, 20% on exams, and 10% on participation (includes in-class exercises, contributions to collaborative projects, and active participation in class discussions and activities).

Students will complete six editing assignments, ranging from one-page copyediting tasks to two- or three-page comprehensive editing tasks. Students will complete one major collaborative editing or individual editing project, which will require a substantial amount of writing in addition to comprehensive editing. For this project, students will identify a written work in their discipline (such as a science article, online user guide, or grant proposal) in need of editing. In addition to editing the work, students will write a project proposal and management plan, as well as a rhetorical analysis of their editing process and a letter of transmittal (for a minimum of 10 pages of writing, or 3000 words).

    1. Reading

Primary course readings will be selected from the following list or from similar texts focused on professional editing: Technical Editing by Carolyn Rude (latest edition), Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition), Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers; Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Supplemental readings will be drawn from a wide range of sources, including foundational editing texts; peer-reviewed journals; trade journals; professional organization newsletters, electronic mailing lists, and blogs; and comprehensive style manuals.

    1. Explanation of Potential Course Overlap

UWP 198/112A does not overlap with any other courses. UWP 198/112A is distinguished from other UWP upper-division courses with its focus on editing, particularly editing written material that already exists. Every other UWP upper-division course focuses on producing written texts; this course focuses on editing other peoples’ texts, such as a grant proposal or a feasibility report.

    1. Justification of Units

UWP 198/112A is a four-unit course. Three hours per week is lecture/discussion. In addition to the three hours in class, the course will require six hours per week of preparation for class.
As with all upper-division writing courses, the additional unit of credit is justified by the significant amount of work that students must do outside of class time to review and edit as well as plan, draft, and revise the 3000 or more words of writing material (for an additional three hours outside of class). The estimated time of preparation of the writing and editing assignments (research, analysis, drafting, reviewing, editing) is thirty hours, an amount consistent with Carnegie Rule guidelines.