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Improve Your Professional Writing With An Online Master’s Degree

Northern Arizona University’s online master’s degree in Professional Writing focuses on the practical, not theoretical, applications of writing in the business world. Coursework centers on real-world scenarios and enables you to integrate experiences and projects from your current professional career into your assignments. Learn how to write professional business proposals, grants, white papers and reports—for both private and public businesses.

Add To Your Master’s Degree With A Professional Writing Certificate

Through NAU, you can choose the option to earn an online graduate certificate in Professional Writing. The certificate is great if you’re pursing a master’s degree in Professional Writing or in a difference field. All 18 credits for the online certificate count toward the online master’s degree, so no additional coursework it required to earn both a master’s and a certificate.

Start or advance your professional writing career as a:

  • Editor
  • Grant Writer
  • Policy Researcher
  • Proposal Writer
  • Public Relations or Marketing Manager
  • Technical Writer

Catalog Information

Learn more about the program options by viewing the catalog information below. Catalog information is displayed for the 2016-2017 academic year.

English - Professional Writing

Campus Locations

globe This program is available Online
Degree Information
Online
In-Person
Blended
MA
36 units
Maximum Transfer Units
0
36

University Requirements

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
    The full policy can be viewed here.

     

Overview

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 36
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Research Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study
Student Learning Outcomes

Professional Writing
 
Students completing the MA in English with emphasis in Professional Writing will have mastered the following bodies of knowledge and related skills.
 
The rhetorical demands inherent in business, industry, and government settings.

  • Ability to analyze the context of any document and write that document to fit the demands of its specific context
  • Ability to plan a process to develop and complete any document and to carry out that plan, resulting in a successful document in its actual context
Understanding of the writing and editing skills necessary to create and write documents with the characteristics demanded in professional settings: clarity, conciseness, coherence, and correctness.
  • Ability to edit the documents of self and others, to bring those documents to a professional and/or publishable level, in terms of such things as clear sentences; logical and effective organization; powerful supporting graphics; and effective documentation.
  • Ability to analyze problems in a business, industry, or government setting and design and conduct the research necessary to solve that problem and write an appropriate document detailing those results, such as a proposal or a set of procedures.
Detailed understanding of specific types of documents required in business, industry, and government, and the ability to generate those documents, either by one’s self or as a part of a team effort.
  • Ability to write and edit proposals
  • Ability to write and edit environmental documents, such as Environmental Impact Statements
  • Ability to write and edit other professional documents, such as specifications, procedures, laboratory reports, white papers, training manuals, documentation, and to write any of these at a publishable level in the appropriate journals or other publication media.
In addition, each student completes an electronic portfolio of his or her professional work and also completes an application project, which involves finding a specific and actual problem in the working world, doing the research to solve that problem, and presenting those results to the appropriate management supervisors for implementation.  Examples of past projects include development of a training and orientation program for new employees; creation of a new website for a specific clientele; evaluation of a county court’s procedures for filing and accessing court records, which resulted in an entire new system; and many other such practical, on-the-job projects.

 

Details

Additional Admission Requirements
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 


    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • 2 letters of recommendation
    • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
    • Personal statement or essay 
    • Writing sample
Master's Requirements
  • Take the following 36 units:

    Foundations
    Select one of the following courses (3 units):

    Technical Editing
    Select one of the following courses (3 units):Workplace Environment
    Select one of the following courses (3 units):Research and Capstone Project
  • One directed-project course (3 units)
    • ENG 685, ENG 697 or ENG 699. The directed project must be completed under the direction of a member of the Professional Writing faculty. The project is not a faculty-designed course, but a student-designed project in which the student identifies a problem, proposes a course of action to solve that problem, and designs a plan of study to research, develop, and support the solution to the problem. This is written up as a formal capstone project. The methods for designing, developing, and writing the capstone project are taught in ENG 526
    Elective Courses (21 units)
    • The remaining 21 units to earn the M.A. are chosen with advisor approval and are based upon the professional goals of the student. A wide range of other ENG courses, as well as courses in Communication, Education, and a host of other disciplines can be used as electives in a coherent program of study, with the advisor's approval.
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

Professional Writing

Campus Locations

globe This program is available Online
Degree Information
Online
In-Person
Blended
GCERT
18 units
Maximum Transfer Units
0
18
Additional Admission Requirements - Additional Application

University Requirements

  • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.

    No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 or 4 units) may be used on a certificate program.

    No more than 25% of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.

    A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.

    A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.

    A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.

    Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program).  See the “Details” tab for additional information.

Overview

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 18
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing the Certificate in Professional Writing will have mastered the following bodies of knowledge and related skills (specific courses for each outcome shown in parentheses):
Bodies of Knowledge Mastered

  1. The rhetorical demands inherent in business, industry, and government settings. Related skills:
  • Ability to analyze the context of any document and write that document to fit the demands of its specific context (ENG 502, 522) 
  1. Understanding of the writing and editing skills necessary to create and write documents with the characteristics demanded in professional settings: clarity, conciseness, coherence, and correctness. Related skills:
  • Ability to edit the documents of self and others, to bring those documents to a professional and/or publishable level, in terms of such things as clear sentences; logical and effective organization; powerful supporting graphics; effective documentation; etc. (ENG 517)
  • Ability to analyze problems in a business, industry, or government setting and design and conduct the research necessary to solve that problem and write an appropriate document detailing those results, such as a proposal, a set of procedures, etc. (ENG 526, 605)
  1. All of the above is measured and documented in one way (in addition to class performance): each student begins the creation of an electronic portfolio of his or her professional work.

Details

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 


    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • Letter of application
    • Writing sample
    • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
Certificate Requirements
  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate.  Under both circumstances, federal financial aid can be used for this certificate.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
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Department Information
Learn more about this program and the Department of English.