Graduate Certificate in Writing Theory and Practice

Blackboard with the words "theory practice" on a seesaw

What is the Graduate Certificate in Writing Theory and Practice?

The certificate program is designed to help you write more effectively in your field, and to share what you learn with other graduate students. To reach this goal, you will learn about writing across the curriculum and develop rhetorical awareness of your field’s writing practices and audiences. The required tasks should also help you develop work for publication, and deepen your knowledge of writing theory and pedagogy.

The certificate requires no coursework and can be completed on a flexible schedule throughout a single academic year. It is open to students pursuing a PhD, EdD, MA, MS, MFA, MPH, or MHS. GradPathways supports the program, which is offered and managed by the University Writing Program’s Writing Across the Curriculum team and the Graduate Writing Fellows.

If you choose to pursue the certificate, you will join an ambitious, supportive, inspiring community of graduate student writers through our offerings of writing workshops, retreats, and consultations. You may complete the certificate requirements within 1 year. We plan to host an optional social event each year for those who complete the certificate.

Certificate Requirements

We recognize that graduate students are very busy. You may complete the required tasks at your own pace in any sequence (aside from task 4, which must be completed before 5, 6 and 7, and task 9, which must be completed at the end), as long as all requirements are met within the same academic year.


1. Attend 2 writing-related GradPathways workshops (3-4 workshops are scheduled each quarter, with an additional 8 workshops on Dissertation Day, Nov. 5, 2022).


2. Attend 2 Writing Consultations with a Graduate Writing Fellow.


3. Attend 1 themed Writing Retreat led by a Graduate Writing Fellow.


4. Attend 1 office hour appointment with a Graduate Writing Fellow (Breanne Weber) or the Associate Director of Writing Across the Curriculum – Graduate level (Dr. Marit MacArthur), to discuss your overall goals for your writing, and your choices for activities 5, 6 and 7.


5. Read and write a brief Review or Summary (500 words) of a book or article from our curated list on writing in your field or writing studies research or theory, or get approval of a different book or article.


6. Read and write a brief Summary (300 words) of an exemplary text (often called a "mentor text") from your field, recommended by a professor or mentor, focusing on what makes them good models and on how they effectively engage a specific audience. The text could be a peer-reviewed journal article, a master's thesis, a seminar paper, or really any genre you'd like to learn to write better.


7. Write a brief rhetorical analysis (300 words) of a journal or conference call for papers in your field.


8. Create a brief Handout or give a brief Presentation with slides to fellow graduate students (this could be within your Graduate Group, Program or Department) based on the most useful advice/ insights from the book you reviewed and the exemplary texts you read. The Handout or Presentation should relate to writing practice in your field and/or writing pedagogy (the teaching of writing in your field).


9. Write a brief Reflective Essay (1000 words) after you have completed all above requirements.


Click here to enroll in the 2022-2023 certificate cohort by October 28, 2022 (we also take rolling enrollments).