Professional Writing Certificate

Program Description

The Professional Writing Graduate Certificate is an online program that can be completed in one calendar year when the courses are taken consecutively. It's designed to help working professionals and graduate students strengthen their professional, technical, business, and digital writing skills and stay competitive in the workforce.

Earn the Professional Writing Certificate in One Calendar Year

To earn the certificate, students complete 4, three-credit courses plus 1, one-credit capstone portfolio course (a total of 13 semester hours). All courses in the program are taught entirely online by faculty experienced in applying online learning and workplace communication best practices. 

Gain skills with immediate value and relevance in the workplace 

There’s a growing need for highly skilled communicators in all disciplines and a high demand by employers for employees with strong written, verbal, and visual communication skills. Research indicates that:

  • The most in-demand skills across all occupations are oral and written communication skills, and the value of these skills is increasing (Anderson & Gantz, 2013, pp. 1, 2, 6).
  • Writing is a “threshold skill” for both employment and promotion, showing that “people who cannot write and communicate clearly will not be hired and are unlikely to last long enough to be considered for promotion (The National Commission on Writing, 2004, p. 3).
  • Many companies report that they frequently produce technical reports, formal reports, and memos and correspondence; and they consider communication through email and presentations as universal (The National Commission on Writing, 2004, p. 4).
  • The most important skills cited by employers are oral and written communication, teamwork/collaboration, and critical thinking/problem solving, and these skills are “critical factors” in the U.S. workforce’s ability to stay competitive (Casner-Lotto, 2006, pp. 9, 12).

Testimonials from Recent Graduates

“The Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing program accommodated my busy schedule. I learned and practiced the skills needed to compose a variety of professional documents from grant proposals to social-media posts. The writing portfolio I developed throughout the program prepared me to apply for numerous positions as a professional writer.”
--Mike Z. (August 2017)

"The certificate program opened my eyes to the world of technical and business writing. I learned practical and applicable skills, with hands-on assignments in every class that gave me confidence in my abilities when entering the workforce."
--Marissa W. (August 2017)

"The professional writing certificate program at Radford University strengthened my writing skills and prepared me for the workplace. I am now an established professional with a career in writing and communication."
--Fatima B. (August 2018)

“The skills I learned throughout Radford University’s Graduate Professional Writing Certificate Program have positively impacted my work in so many ways. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t apply at least one concept that I learned in my certificate courses. I am now able to more effectively write a variety of documents, from grant proposals to social media posts. Anyone who has to write for their job should seriously consider completing this certificate program.”
--Michael M. (August 2018)


With an emphasis on problem-solving, the 5 courses provide students with opportunities to apply writing, editing, and design strategies to produce print and digital documents for a wide range of organizational contexts and audiences. Upon completion of the Professional Writing certificate program, students will have online writing porfolio that can be used to support the job search or promotion processes. 

To earn the certificate, students must complete:

  • ENGL 607: Business Writing and Editing (offered Fall semester; 3 credits)
  • ENGL 608: Professional and Technical Writing (offered Spring semester; 3 credits)
  • ENGL 609: Writing in Digital Spaces (offered Summer 1; 3 credits)
  • ENGL 610: Proposal and Grant Writing (offered Summer 2; 3 credits)
  • ENGL 612: Electronic Writing Portfolio (offered Maymester, Augustmester, and Wintermester as needed; 1 credit)

The first 4 courses, ENGL 607, 608, 609, and 610 can be taken in any order. ENGL 612: Electronic Portfolio Writing serves a capstone or culminating learning experience. Therefore, ENGL 612 must be taken as the final course in the sequence. 

Admission Criteria

Students can apply to and enter the program on a nearly year-round basis. 

Criteria for admission into the Professional Writing Graduate Certificate for students not currently enrolled at Radford University are:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75
  • Official transcripts from all institutions from which the applicant has earned a degree or course credit following a degree conferral
  • An official application completed and submitted with a nonrefundable application fee of $50
  • A 500-word statement of interest in the certificate program
  • A TOEFL minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test, 79-80 on the Internet-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test; or an IELTS minimum score of 6.5 (for international students)

Criteria for admission into the certificate program for students already enrolled in other post-baccalaureate degree or certificate programs at Radford University are:

  • An official application completed and submitted with a nonrefundable application fee of $50
  • A 500-word statement of interest in the certificate program

GRE scores are not required for admission to the Professional Writing Graduate Certificate.

Contact Us

Prospective students can learn more about the Professional Writing Online Graduate Certificate by contacting the coordinator, Dr. Laura Vernon.

Alternatively, interested applicants may contact the English Department's Director of Graduate Studies:

Sean Keck, Ph.D.
English Graduate Program Director
Department of English, Box 6935
Radford University
Radford, VA 24142 


Anderson, C., & Gantz, J. F. (2013). Skills requirements for tomorrow’s best jobs: Helping educators provide students with skills and tools they need. Framingham, MA: International Data Corporation.

Casner-Lotto, J. (2006). Are they really ready to work? Employers’ perspective on the basic knowledge and applied skills of new entrants to the 21st century U.S. workforce. New York, NY: The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, & The Society for Human Resource Management.

National Commission on Writing. (2004). Writing: A ticket to work or a ticket out: A survey of business leaders. New York, NY: College Board.