Specialization in Developmental Editing

Shape a Manuscript From the Idea Stage Through Publication


Program Details

  • Location: Online
  • Duration: 11 - 12 weeks
  • Times: Flexible
  • Cost: $1,195

Next start date:

September 23, 2024

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Talk to an Enrollment Coach

About this Program

If you’ve ever admired a book for its story structure, a brilliant plot twist or the pace of a personal narrative, a developmental editor likely had a hand in it. Developmental editing, also called substantive editing, is when the editor provides feedback on the big picture of a written work. Developmental editors work closely with writers to help shape their work from the idea stage to publication.   

In this one-course specialization, you’ll learn key developmental editing skills. You’ll work on projects you’ll encounter as a developmental editor, including manuscript reviews, book proposals, article pitches and letters to the author. Learn how current technologies such as generative AI enhance the essential work of developmental editors in book publishing, journalism and corporate communications. You’ll also develop the tools you’ll need to run a successful editing business, with a focus on creating a website and learning how to invoice, bid on contracts and manage clients.

Designed For

Writers, editors, publishers, literary agents and others seeking to expand their big-picture or developmental editing skills.

See Requirements

Explore More: Check out the Certificate in Editing or see all our programs for writers and editors.

Video Overview

Hear about the UW Specialization in Developmental Editing from instructor Matthew Bennett and discover how the program demystifies the craft by walking students through a full developmental edit.

Duration 02:42

Skills You’ll Gain

  • Manuscript design
  • Story structure
  • Evaluation and consultation strategies
  • Business development
  • Writing coaching
  • Content development
  • Content management
  • Publishing sites
  • Invoicing best practices
  • Document preparation

Get Real-World Experience

  • Complete the developmental editing of a real, unpublished manuscript, beginning with the manuscript consultation, moving through several stages of editing and ending with the submission of the developed manuscript to the writer
  • Build the necessary business components (resume and website content) to enter the publishing industry as a professional developmental editor

digital badge example


After successfully completing this program, you can claim a digital achievement badge that can be shared on LinkedIn and other social media sites. Learn more about digital badges.

Career Stats


Projected growth in U.S. demand for content editing skills (2024–26)


Projected growth in U.S. demand for editing skills (2024–26)

Source: Lightcast


Connect with an enrollment coach to learn more about this offering. Or if you need help finding the right certificate, specialization or course for you, reach out to explore your options.

Learning Format

Online Asynchronous

Enjoy the flexibility of asynchronous learning with the structure of a regular course. With no real-time meetings, you’ll complete weekly assignments and interact with your class at times that work for you. Learn More »

Program Sessions

Online Asynchronous

    This course is offered 100% online and runs from September 23, 2024, to December 14, 2024.


    Noncredit Program

    You'll earn 3.6 continuing education units (CEUs) for successfully completing this program. Learn more about noncredit options.

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