Professional Writing

Program Description

The Professional Writing Graduate Certificate is an online program that can be completed in one calendar year when courses are taken consecutively. It's designed to help working professionals and graduate students in any discipline 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 eportfolio course (for 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 

Highly skilled communicators who have strong written, verbal, and visual communication skills are in demand. 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)

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 21stcentury 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.


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 range of organizational contexts and audiences. Upon completion of the Professional Writing Graduate Certificate, students will have an online writing portfolio 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)
    • Students write, revise, and edit common workplace documents (e.g., emails, letters, memos, job application materials) while also learning how to quickly interpret and respond to communication situations involving supervisors, colleagues, clients, and members of the public. 
  • ENGL 608: Professional and Technical Writing (offered Spring semester; 3 credits)
    • Students write, revise, and design (format) professional and technical documents and graphics for a variety of audiences, working collaboratively to meet organizational goals.
  • ENGL 609: Writing in Digital Spaces (offered Summer 1; 3 credits)
    • Students learn how respond to the design, content, and stylistic needs of readers in electronic environments by producing material for various digital platforms and devices, including social media, websites, blogs, and mobile devices.
  • ENGL 610: Proposal and Grant Writing (offered Summer 2; 3 credits)
    • Students develop, write, and manage the processes involved in submitting and soliciting proposals and grants.
  • ENGL 612: Electronic Writing Portfolio (offered Maymester, Augustmester, and Wintermester as needed; 1 credit)
    • Students design a web-based writing portfolio, revise writing samples, and reflect on their writing improvements and achievements while in the program.

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. 

Apply Now!

  • Prospective students who are not enrolled as graduate students at Radford University can apply online.
  • Prospective students who currently are enrolled as graduate students at Radford University should not apply online. Instead, they should submit an "Add A Post-Baccalaureate Certificate" form.

Contact Us

Learn more about the Professional Writing Online Graduate Certificate by contacting the program coordinator, Dr. Laura Vernon, at 540-831-5614 or at

Alternatively, interested applicants may contact the English Department's Graduate Studies Coordinator, Dr. Sean Keck, at 540-831-5614 or at

Admission Deadlines and Criteria

Students can apply to and enter the program on a nearly year-round basis. The application deadline is two weeks prior to the start of each term:

  • Fall: August 15
  • Spring: Jan. 3
  • Summer 1: May 1
  • Summer 2: June 12

Criteria for admission into the Professional Writing Graduate Certificate program 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
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • A 500-word statement of interest in the certificate program
    • How do you envision the Professional Writing Graduate Certificate helping you reach your immediate and long-term workplace/career goals?
  • 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 Professional Writing Graduate Certificate program for graduate students already enrolled at Radford University are:

  • A completed and signed "Add A Post-Baccalaureate Certificate" form
  • A 500-word statement of interest in the certificate program
    • How do you envision the Professional Writing Graduate Certificate helping you reach your immediate and long-term workplace/career goals?

GRE scores and reference letters are not required for admission to the Professional Writing Graduate Certificate program.