Professional Writing Certificate
Department of English

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UNLV's Certificate in Professional Writing is a six-course (18 cr.) English Department program open to all majors and working professionals. The program strengthens your workplace written communication skills or prepares you for a career as a professional writer.

Why Become Certified in Professional Writing?

image of Eng. 413 students giving presentation
Two Eng. 406B students, Jamie Homampour (front) and Ed Hawkins, discuss their analysis of the English department's website. For the final project, teams re-designed the department's website, culminating in presentations to department faculty and classmates about their proposed changes. Jamie majors in English, Ed in anthropology. Other majors included communications, business, computer science, and engineering. (Spring 2003)


Core Courses

image of Jeff Himmelright, President of local STC chapter, speaking to Eng. 407 students
Jeff Himmelright, President of the Southern Nevada chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), talks to Eng. 407C students about his background in professional writing and STC, a professional association of over 20,000 technical writers and editors worldwide. Job titles held by STC members include documentation specialist, web designer, information architect, teacher of technical communication, and freelance writer. In Eng. 407C, students explore the relationship of writing to their career interests and hone their writing skills by studying advanced concepts of rhetoric and composition. (Fall 2002)
To earn the Professional Writing Certificate, you must complete the following courses:

All core courses are currently taught in well-equipped computer labs. Core courses will be offered online via Distance Education starting in spring 2006.

Students must also complete at least 9 credits of elective English department courses offered on campus or online. These courses may be in writing, language, or literature, including 200-level introductory courses. Recommended electives include: Students can, with careful planning, simultaneously earn an English minor and the Professional Writing Certificate. UNLV will accept one 200-level or higher English course taken from another institution toward the electives requirement as well.

During the final semester, students seeking the certificate must present a portfolio to be evaluated by the Professional Writing Committee for professionalism, quality, and comprehensiveness. If it is unacceptable at the first submission, students may submit a revision once. If it is still unacceptable, the certificate will not be granted. (View portfolio submission instructions).

Enrolling in the Program

image of Eng. 413 student project website
Holly Mizuno, a broadcast journalism major, created an "e-portfolio" website as one of the requirements for Eng. 406B. An e-portfolio is a professional website that includes a resume with additional documentation of knowledge and skills. For her website, Holly included samples of print and video news stories produced in her classes. She graduated in Spring 2003, after taking Eng. 407C and 406B to satisfy elective requirements for her degree. (Spring 2003)
To apply, submit a 1-page letter of interest, a resume, and documentation that you meet the prerequisites (e.g., unofficial copy of transcript).
  1. Apply by e-mail to (include statement in e-mail message and attach your resume and electronic/scanned copy of transcript)

  2. Apply by mail:

    Professional Writing Certificate Application
    C/O Dr. Denise Tillery
    Dept. of English
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    4505 Maryland Parkway
    Box 455011
    Las Vegas, NV 89154-5011

  3. Hand deliver your application to Dr. Denise Tillery, Dept. of English, sixth floor, Flora Dungan Humanities building.

You do not have to be admitted to the program to enroll in any of the core courses. Register for one of the core courses to see if the certificate is for you.

You must, however, submit your application by the semester before you submit your portfolio. Students who are officially admitted to the program benefit from early advising and guaranteed enrollment in certificate core courses.


If you have any questions about the professional writing certificate fits with your career goals and current major, please contact Dr. Denise Tillery at or (702) 895-3516.

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September 11, 2006