The Power of the Written Word New UW Certificate Offers Wide Variety of Courses for Writers of All Stripes
  • April 17, 2017
The Power of the Written Word New UW Certificate Offers Wide Variety of Courses for Writers of All Stripes
  • April 17, 2017

Whether it’s fact or fiction, a creative story or professional pitch, writing is a timeless and essential form of human communication. And the better the writing, the more power and impact it delivers.

This fall, UW Professional & Continuing Education kicks off our new Certificate in Writing, a unique program that helps students create powerful, impactful prose. The certificate program includes flexible options for writers of all backgrounds and experience levels.

Diverse Course Offerings

The new program features a choose-your-own-adventure approach, letting students pick from a slate of 18 different writing courses and customize a learning path that’s right for them.

The Certificate in Writing covers a wide range of subjects, including writing fundamentals, fiction, nonfiction, memoir, screenwriting, children’s literature, and publishing your writing. There’s also a special course, Manuscript Consultation, which gives advanced writers the chance to work one-on-one with an experienced instructor.

"This new UW program gives writers a lot of flexibility and the opportunity to try their hand at different genres while earning a respected credential,” said Theo Pauline Nestor, one of the lead instructors. Nestor will teach two courses in memoir writing, along with one about publishing and promoting your writing and another covering the personal essay.

This new program gives writers a lot of flexibility and the opportunity to try their hand at different genres while earning a respected credential.

Theo Pauline Nestor, instructor for the Certificate in Writing

Flexible Program Structure

To earn the certificate, students need to successfully complete the equivalent of three 10-week courses over a span of two years or less. The actual number of courses will vary by individual, since some courses last just 5 weeks and others 10 weeks.

“The great thing about this certificate is that students can choose their own path,” said program manager Ben Starsky. “They could take three fiction courses, or they could mix in a nonfiction, children’s literature or screenwriting course. Some might want to take more than three courses. It’s totally up to the individual.”

Students are not required to earn a certificate. All courses are independent, and students register individually for each course they wish to take. When they’ve completed the required coursework, they can apply for and earn a Certificate in Writing.

Most of the courses are classroom based and held on the UW campus in Seattle, which creates ample opportunity for rich interaction between instructors and students. The course in Manuscript Consultation features a flexible format with instruction offered in person, on the phone or via email, depending on the preference and location of the instructor and the student.

Valuable Skills

Even in an increasingly technology-focused world, the power of clear, engaging writing endures. The market demand for these skills isn’t limited to traditional communications roles or creative fields, either. For example, some job postings in sectors such as software and finance also call for strong writing and communication abilities.

The variety of courses offered addresses the growing need for capable storytellers and wordsmiths across many fields.

Program Manager Ben Starsky

“The variety of courses offered addresses the growing need for capable storytellers and wordsmiths across many fields,” Starsky said.

One of the new courses, The Art of Writing, is targeted at anyone who wants to improve their overall writing skills.

“It’s a great introduction or refresher on what makes for great writing,” according to Starsky. He noted that the course instructor, Scott Driscoll, has more than two decades of experience teaching writing at the UW.

Recognized Credential From a World-Class Institution

The Certificate in Writing is approved by the UW Department of English, which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of disciplines and serves more than 15,000 students each year. The program was developed in partnership with UW Continuum College, a branch of the University of Washington that expands the school’s educational impact by meeting the needs of learners wherever they are in life — and wherever they intend to go. 


For more announcements from UW Professional & Continuing Education, visit the News & Features section of our website. To learn more about our certificates, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.