Rhetoric and Professional Writing, Undergraduate Certificate

Department of English

College of Arts and Letters

This certificate is available for English majors who wish to polish their thinking processes and skills in this area. Coursework covers such topics as rhetorical techniques, persuasive strategies, writing for specific disciplines/social venues, and recognizing rhetorical tactics in the writing of others.

  • To receive an undergraduate certificate (at least 15 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.

    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.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 15
Major GPA 3.0

Purpose Statement

The Certificate in Rhetoric and Professional Writing emphasizes the importance of critical reading, reflection, writing, digital media, and spoken language to educate knowledgeable citizens who understand and appreciate their civic, professional, and personal responsibilities in an increasingly global community. Certificate courses prepare students for intercultural and interdisciplinary communication practices in digital and traditional work and community settings. Students gain experience with rhetorical theory and persuasive argumentation, global communication practices, social media literacy, digital literacies and multimedia writing, and professional and public discourse conventions through theory-based application projects. Certificate courses provide students from all disciplines with excellent foundations for workplace writing as well as for graduate programs in rhetoric, writing, digital media, communication, and composition studies.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who receive an undergraduate certificate in Rhetoric and Professional Writing will work with text, images, and/or media to:

  • Develop a systematic understanding of how arguments function in particular contexts and of the ethical dilemmas involved in persuasion and communication, building on historical and contemporary rhetoric and composition theory sources.
  • Evaluate and investigate how societal, historical, and economic factors influence literacy and communication practices across global communication efforts.
  • Analyze and apply processes for writing, designing, and communicating via text, image, and/or visual media to effectively negotiate academic, professional environments.
  • Organize sentences, choose words, and orally deliver arguments in ways that demonstrate understanding of the rhetorical significance of phrases and sentences.
  • Research, evaluate, and incorporate multiple information resources, use appropriate citations in a paper or project, and question current norms and dominant cultural assumptions expressed in text and digital media.
  • Apply research on significant issues related to global learning, diversity, and sustainable educational and environmental practices to textual and digital projects.
  • Demonstrate the depth and breadth of knowledge acquired in discipline-based and liberal studies coursework by identifying, analyzing, and engaging in important local, national, and global discussions from multiple interdisciplinary viewpoints, with an understanding of the interdependence of civic, political, economic, environmental, and/or social systems.

Certificate Requirements
  • English Education majors may only use 6 units from the major toward this certificate. 

    This certificate is not available to students in the English BA, or English Minor. 

  • This certificate may only be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program. This certificate is not available as a stand-alone certificate.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.