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, to teach writing more effectively, 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.

Click here to sign up for the 2023-24 cohort by Nov. 10, 2023.

Certificate Requirements

We recognize that graduate students are very busy. The following requirements should be met in a single year, ideally during the academic year (over three quarters) or by the end of the summer (before Fall 2024 begins) at the latest. You may complete the requirements at your own pace and in any sequence (with the exception of #5, which must be completed before 6-10), as long as all requirements are met within one year. 

1. Attend 2 writing-related GradPathways workshops (2-3 workshops are scheduled each quarter, with an additional 5 workshops on Dissertation Day, Nov. 4, 2023). Check the GradPathways calendar for the current quarter's offerings.


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


3. Attend 1 themed Writing Retreat led by a Graduate Writing Fellow. Check the GradPathways calendar for the current quarter's offerings.


4. Complete two readings and the discussion task for Foundational Concepts in Writing Studies Theory. 


5. Attend 1 office hour appointment with a Graduate Writing Fellow (Bradley Christin at or the Associate Director of Writing Across the Curriculum – Graduate level (Dr. Marit MacArthur at, to discuss your overall goals for your writing, and your choices for activities 6, 7, 8 and 9. 


6. 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. 


7. 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 their structure and types of evidence or reasoning. Your goal is to understand and articulate what makes the "mentor text" a good model of the type of document (or genre) you're trying to write, for a specific audience. The text could be a peer-reviewed journal article, a master's thesis, a seminar paper, a grant or fellowship proposal, or really any type of document you'd like to learn to write better. 


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


9. 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). 


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


Questions? Comments?

Contact Bradley Christin at or Marit MacArthur at