Teaching Writing

MA in Teaching Writing Online Information Session

April 7, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM


The Graduate Certificate helps teachers at all levels, K-University, in all disciplines, learn to become master teachers of writing, acquiring new and innovative ways to teach writing to their students, studying theories and best practices on the teaching of writing that they can share with their colleagues, and pursuing their own writing in an exciting and supportive online community of teachers and writers.

Certificate in Teaching Writing

Format Online (all courses except the Residency are online)
Entry Terms Fall, Spring, and Summer
Degree Requirements 5 courses
Length of Program 9 – 12 months
Tuition $3,316* per course.
*Final rates pending approval of the Board of Trustees.

The Graduate Certificate in Teaching Writing allows participants to address individual situation, needs, and interests while learning within a diverse community. By offering flexible, interactive, and customized learning, the program provides a model for teaching writing and a forum where all teachers can learn and grow together as teachers of writing, and as writers too.

Certificate Basics

The graduate certificate in teaching writing requires the successful completion of five courses, including the core Teaching Writing course, one course from the genre writing group and one from the reading group, along with two additional courses of the student’s choice. Certificate students enroll in the same courses as MA degree-seeking students. The on-site residency is optional, not required, for certificate students, and there is no thesis. Students have three years to finish their certificate; extensions of up to two additional years are possible.

Five courses (20 credit-hour equivalency), all online (except if optional Residency is chosen):

1. Teaching Writing core course
2. One course from among the genre writing group
3. One course from among the reading group
4/5: Two student choice courses, from among all courses offered.

If possible, Certificate students should take the core Teaching Writing course first, although that is not a requirement.  (Please note that only three Certificate courses can count toward the MA in Teaching Writing degree. Certificate students who become interested in the MA degree should declare their interest early to avoid the need to complete extra courses.)

Program Benefits
  • Completed Online with a Low Residency requirement.
  • Five-course (20-credit hour equivalency) degree.
  • Online courses are highly interactive, with participants regularly sharing their ideas and their work with each other and with highly involved instructors.
  • Flexible, asynchronous courses allow participants to work on a schedule that best suits their situation and needs.
  • Participants can choose from a wide variety of courses, which include: Narrative Writing; Creative Writing; Argument; Reading Multicultural Texts; Reading and Writing Children’s and Young Adult Literature; Writing Across the Curriculum; Writing in Literature; Teaching Reluctant Writers; Teaching Writing to English Language Learners; Teaching Composition at the College and Community College Level; Neuroscience, Creativity and Writing; and Literary Nonfiction and Historical, Scientific, and Technical Texts.
  • All courses are geared for teachers at all levels, K-University, in all disciplines. Our program encourages participants to learn from and teach each other, regardless of grade level or discipline, and provides the flexibility for participants to adapt what they are learning to their own situations, needs, and interests.
  • All participants in the program will be able to explore their own writing at the same time as they learn proven, practical ways to improve the teaching of writing, and student writing overall.
  • Certificate candidates may attend the 7-10-day summer residency, which usually takes place as part of the Summer Hopkins Conference on Craft, a decade-old event that has visited Italy, Maine, Washington, Baltimore, Annapolis, and Shenandoah National Park. At the residency, participants will present best-practices lessons, engage in writing workshops, and meet with renowned writers, scholars, and other educational professionals. (The residency is optional for certificate candidates.)
Five Core Principles

Teaching Writing is not a certification-granting program. Rather, it is designed for educators who already have certification, do not need certification, or who plan to acquire certification through another program.

The Teaching Writing Program is built around the following five core principles:

  1. Teachers of writing must write. Every course will devote some time and attention to having teachers produce their own writing, in whatever form or forms that course is built around.
  2. Teachers can learn from studying theories and best practices in the teaching of writing. Some readings and discussions about both accepted practices and the theories behind those practices will be included in every course.
  3. Teachers can learn from and share with each other. All the students in the program will have experience and expertise in teaching and writing. Every course will provide opportunities for students to share that knowledge with their classmates, and learn from each other.
  4. Teachers must have the freedom and encouragement to apply what they learn to meet their own specific needs and situations. The makeup of every class will include teachers teaching at different grade levels and in different disciplines. Every course will help teachers reflect on what they are learning and adapt that material to suit their individual needs.
  5. Teachers learn best in an interactive classroom (even a virtual one). Every course will seek to establish a sense of community among the members of the class, and emphasis will be placed on discussions and real-world, interactive teaching practices.

Sample a Lesson!

Click on the video below to see a portion of a lesson on the history of teaching writing, which is one of the topics studied in the program’s core course, Teaching Writing: Theory, Practice and Craft.

2017 Teaching Writing Residency
in Bar Harbor, Maine

Nine students, invigorated by the cool fresh air and astonishing ocean views, helped make the inaugural Teaching Writing Residency a great success. The residency took place July 2 – 9 at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine as Teaching Writing students joined with some forty other students from the Johns Hopkins Writing and Science Writing programs for the 2017 Hopkins Conference on Craft.

We were also visited by a videographer, who interviewed Program Director Mark Farrington and many of the Teaching Writing students.

At least one residency is required for all Masters-Degree-seeking students; it’s optional for those seeking the certificate. The location of our residency changes every year, but it will always be 7-10 days during the month of July.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

View Gainful Employment Disclosure Information.

State-specific Information for Online Programs

We currently are not accepting applications to the Graduate Certificate in Teaching Writing from students who reside in Wisconsin. For more information, please contact an admissions representative. Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs.