Teaching Writing Certificate Program - Graduate

The Graduate Certificate Program in Teaching Writing is designed to familiarize students with the guiding research, theory, and practice of composition studies, a discipline devoted to developing successful pedagogical practices for teaching writing across age, background, and ability. As many new teachers discover when they enter the classroom, English teachers are often under-exposed to theories and practices of writing instruction as part of their graduate or teacher preparatory programs.  This certificate program aims to address this gap in teacher preparation at a time when national and state mandates for effective writing instruction are at an all-time high.  The curriculum for the program bridges the secondary and college divide, responding to persistent calls for better communication between secondary and higher education faculty, and greater support for students transitioning from high school to college.

Consonant with recent thinking in the field, the program holds the following objectives:

  • Students will learn techniques for teaching planning, drafting, revision, and editing
  • Students will learn how to conduct one-on-one conferences and implement peer review models in the classroom
  • Students will understand and apply various methodologies for teacher research on writing and writing processes
  • Students will explore the challenges of marginalized writers and learn how to facilitate their writing development
  • Students will study methods of evaluation and assessment of writing
  • Students will gain a foundational understanding of rhetorical theories and their impact on writing techniques and pedagogies
  • Students will have the opportunity to design research projects and teaching materials that are in alignment with the Common Core Standards in Writing, as adopted by the state of New Jersey.

Teachers and prospective teachers of middle school, high school, and college are especially invited to apply for this program. The faculty who teach the required courses are engaged with work at these levels, and have designed courses for which the interchange between college, high school, and middle school teachers enables greater understanding of where our individual students have been, and also to where they need to go. For interested school districts, documentation towards professional development hours for program participants is available.


While we would like the program to be accessible to interested students, we are committed to a thoughtful admissions process.  Certificate students should be active participants in our graduate courses, capable of sophisticated reading and thinking. Accordingly, we will require prospective students to submit the following materials to be eligible for admission:

  • undergraduate transcript;
  • a writing sample (either a paper written for a college-level course or a teaching philosophy statement);
  • one recommendation letter from a professional familiar with their intellectual abilities. 

GRE scores, if available, may be submitted, but are not required.

Program Requirements

Required Course
ENWR 586Theory and Practice of Teaching Writing3
Select three of the following:9
Teaching Writing Through Literature
Theory and Practice of Writing Centers
Research in Writing Studies
Graduate Writing Seminar
Rhetorical Theories and the Teaching of Writing
Seminar in Writing Studies
Total Credits12