Teaching Writing: An Advanced Certificate

What is the Certificate Program?
Who will benefit from this Certificate Program?
What are the requirements?
How long will it take to complete the certificate?
How do I apply to the program?
Course Descriptions
Faculty and Executive Committee

Federal Department of Education Gainful Employment Disclosure


Click here for Course Offerings for Fall 2013

What is the Certificate Program?

A 15 unit graduate program approved by the State University of New York, the advanced certificate in Teaching Writing is designed to complement graduate work in literary studies or provide further professional development for teachers already teaching academic writing.

Composition Studies gained disciplinary status in the early 1970's because of a growing body of research focused specifically on the learning processes involved in gaining writing literacy. It is a multi-disciplinary field, drawing its theories, research, and practices from psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, cognitive psychology, language acquisition research, genre theory, rhetorical theory, and linguistic anthropology.

Teachers who are grounded in this body of theory and research will be better equipped to diagnose students' writing problems and implement effective teaching strategies or to begin a doctoral research project in composition.

Who will benefit from this program?

  • High school and college teachers seeking advanced training, accreditation, or promotion

  • M.A. and M.A.T. candidates in English who are preparing for a teaching career in high school or community college teaching

  • Ph.D. candidates in English who would like a broad-based degree program and may want to do research in Composition Studies

What are the requirements?

New Requirements as of Fall 2010

The Certificate Program will consist of Five required courses.

Three to Five courses may be taken from the following menu:

  • EGL/WRT 506 Studies in Literary Theory

  • EGL/WRT 509 History and Structure of English 

  • EGL/WRT 592 Problems in the Teaching of Writing (for MA and MAT candidates or teachers with a BA degree)

  • EGL/WRT 612 Composition Theory 

  • EGL/WRT 613 Research in Composition

  • EGL/WRT 614 Topics in Composition and Writing 

  • EGL/WRT 698 Practicum in Teaching of Writing (for Ph.D. candidates or teachers with an MA degree)

Up to Two Courses may be taken from the following menu:

  • LIN 522 Phonetics

  • LIN 527 Structure of English

  • LIN 530 Introduction to General Linguistics

  • LIN 542 Sociolinguistics

Students may petition that a course at Stony Brook other than those above be counted toward the certificate if the course is determined by the Director of the Writing Program to contribute to the student's mastery of writing and language study.

One course from another university may be applied toward this certificate provided that the course was not used to satisfy a degree requirement at that university.

How do I apply to the program?

Spring 2014 Application Deadline: January 5th

Fall 2014 Application Deadline: August 1st
Those who have already matriculated as graduate students at Stony Brook may apply for the certificate at any time during the completion of course work. Admission to the advanced certificate in Teaching Writing involves filling out a brief form that can be obtained from the main office, Humanities 2005.

Those who are not graduate students at SUNY Stony Brook are required to submit the following: 1) a letter stating the purpose of study, 2) a Graduate School application form, 3) official transcripts, 4) three letters of recommendation. The Graduate Application can be found Here

Fees associated with application: no fee for matriculated graduate students; non-matriculated graduate students must pay a one time $100 application fee.

For additional information, forms, or questions contact the Writing Program Main Office at 631-632-7390.

  Course Descriptions

WRT/EGL 506 Literary Theory: Rhetoric

A survey of rhetoric done largely in two takes: first, as the art of persuasion, and second, as a perspective in literary criticism. The course also examines special topics, for example, is logic gendered? A major goal of the course is to enable students to recognize a rhetorical treatment of a subject matter.

WRT/EGL 509 History and Structure of English
This course is an introduction to the linguistic, grammatical, and stylistic analysis of literary texts, from the Old English period to the late eighteenth century, though some attention is also paid to non-literary texts, especially in non-standard varieties of English.

WRT/EGL 592 Problems in the Teaching of Writing
This course provides an overview of writing pedagogy as applied to tutoring in a Writing Center or an English classroom. 

WRT/EGL 612 Composition Theory 
This course explores the relationship between reading and writing skills, the differences between speech production and writing production, and the relationship between literacy, culture and language policies.

WRT/EGL 613 Research in Composition 
This course provides an introduction to the nature of empirical research in composition studies. Students will survey landmark research studies, learn how to read research reports critically, and conduct a mini-research project in their own classrooms or tutoring situations to analyze underlying causes of students' writing problems.

WRT/EGL 614 Topics In Composition And Writing
Literature Vs. Composition: Professional and Pedagogical Issues
This course examines the (in)compatibility of theories, politics, and administration of literary and composition instruction in post-secondary and secondary institutions. This course can be a directed reading in particular areas of interest for classroom teachers, or a pilot study to prepare for the Ph.D. dissertation in Composition Studies. The shape of the course will be geared to the needs of those enrolled. 

WRT/EGL 698 Practicum in Teaching Writing 
This course provides hands-on experience and instruction in the basics of writing pedagogy, including designing writing assignments, sequencing assignments, motivating writing, writing skill development and evaluating writing. Students will also be given a preliminary overview of the major theories driving composition pedagogy.

LIN 522 Phonetics
A study of articulatory phonetics and the international phonetic alphabet, with intensive practice in phonetic transcription from a wide variety of languages. Acoustic phonetics, speech perception, and the applications of phonetics to foreign language teaching.

LIN 527 Structure of English
A description of the major sentence elements, subsystems, and productive grammatical processes of English. The justification of grammatical categories, interaction between systems and processes, and notions of standard and correctness are discussed with a view to their application in the ESL classroom.

LIN 530 Introduction to General Linguistics
An introduction to modern theoretical and applied linguistics, including phonology, morphology, syntax, language acquisition, historical linguistics, and sociolinguistics.

LIN 542 Sociolinguistics
An introduction to major topics in sociolinguistics, including variation theory, language attitudes, language planning, language change, and pidgins and creoles.

  Faculty and Executive Committee 

Core Faculty:

Dr. Eugene Hammond, Program in Writing and Rhetoric
Dr. Peter Khost, Program in Writing and Rhetoric 
Dr. Patricia Dunn, English
Dr. Kenneth Lindblom, English
Dr. Ellen Broselow, Linguistics
Dr. Daniel Finer, Linguistics
Dr. Joaquin Martinez-Pizarro, English


Federal Department of Education Gainful Employment Disclosure

Program in Writing and Rhetoric • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5340 • 631.632.7390
Writing Center • 631.632.7405 • writingcenter@stonybrook.edu
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