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University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jun 13, 2024
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Public and Professional Writing Certificate

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Writing plays a crucial role in the lives of people after they leave college, as students go on to work, volunteer, attend professional schools, and advocate for themselves and others. The PPW certificate focuses on writing that serves professional goals and/or the public interest. We invite students from across the University to focus on writing as a way to develop the critical writing, learning, and thinking skills necessary to all sectors of American professional life-private, nonprofit, and government.

Students who know that they will write extensively as professionals in law, medicine, the sciences, social work, public policy, international relations, business, or other fields are good candidates for the PPW certificate, as are students who are interested in advocacy and activism. Students contemplating graduate work should also find the course of study leading to the PPW certificate useful. The courses will allow students to work on significant writing projects in a range of venues. Students who have finished the certificate should have a compelling portfolio of work that they can show to prospective employers.

Students should expect to undertake rigorous intellectual work that will increase their precision as writers, deepen their facility with language and style, and deepen their engagement with writing as a form of social action that has consequences in the world. For more information, see

All students who wish to enroll in the certificate program must submit a letter of intent (this would be the equivalent of an admission essay), a resume, and a writing sample. Please submit this information via campus mail or U.S. mail to Department of English, Public and Professional Writing Certificate, 526 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.


At least 18 credits are required to complete the PPW certificate; students must maintain a minimum B GPA in the three courses required by the certificate.

Students must take ONE of the following core courses:

After they have completed one of the core courses with at least a B, students must also complete, with at least a B, a minimum of TWO approved 1000-level courses (one of which may be a PPW internship) in the composition program.

The remaining 9 credits may come from designated intermediate and advanced course offerings in the English department. The list of designated courses that count toward the certificate will be given to students when they register for the program; designated courses are also listed online. Students may petition to have a relevant course count toward the PPW certificate.

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