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


 What is the Certificate Program?

The Program in Writing and Rhetoric, in conjunction with the English Department and the Linguistics Department, offers a course of study that leads to the Advanced Certificate in Teaching Writing. The certificate program, a 15-unit graduate program approved by the State University of New York, is designed to complement graduate work in rhetoric and composition, English, literacy studies, linguistics, or cultural analysis and theory, to name a few examples. The certificate also provides further professional development and mentoring for those already teaching writing at the secondary or college levels.

Learning to teach writing effectively requires study of a variety of fields. Our program draws on theories, research and practices from psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, cognitive psychology, language acquisition research, genre theory, rhetorical theory, media studies and linguistic anthropology.

Teachers who are grounded in this body of theory and research will be better equipped to implement effective teaching strategies or undertake doctoral studies.

Individuals who would benefit from this certificate program include MA and MAT candidates in English who are preparing for a teaching career in high school or community college teaching; PhD candidates in a range of disciplines who would like a broad-based degree program and want to do research in methods of teaching writing; and high school and college teachers seeking advanced training, accreditation,mentoring, or promotion.

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, which can be completed in two years, consists of five courses, chosen from among the following:

WRT 506 / EGL 506 Studies in Literary Theory

WRT 509 / EGL 509 Studies in Language and Linguistics

WRT 592 / EGL 592 Problems in the Teaching of Writing

WRT 612 / EGL 612 Composition Theory

WRT 613 / EGL 613 Research in Composition

WRT 614 / EGL 614 Topics in Composition and Writing

(may be repeated with different topics)

WRT 698 / EGL 698 Practicum in Teaching of Writing (for PhD candidates or teachers with an MA degree) or

Up to two courses may be taken from the following list, with enrollment permission from the Linguistics Department:

LIN 522 Phonetics

LIN 527 Structure of English

LIN 530 Introduction to General Linguistics

Note: One course from another university may be applied towards this Certificate with approval from the Director

Note 2: Students may petition to the Director of the Writing Program that a course at Stony Brook other than those above be counted towards the Certificate if the course is determined to contribute to the student’s mastery of writing and language study. 

How do I apply to the program?

Please visit this link for details:


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.


Affiliated Faculty

Broselow, Ellen. Linguistics. PhD, 1976, University of Massachusetts-Amherst: Phonology, phonetics, second language acquisition.

Davidson, Cynthia. Writing and Rhetoric. PhD, 2000, University of Illinois at Chicago: Rhetoric and digital media.

Dunn, Patricia. English. PhD, 1991, The University at Albany: Composition and rhetoric, English education, disability studies.

Hammond, Eugene. Writing and Rhetoric. PhD, 1977, Yale University: Composition and rhetoric; history of rhetorical theory, Jonathan Swift.

Khost, Peter. Writing and Rhetoric. PhD, 2011, CUNY Graduate Center: Teaching writing and teaching literature, political implications of teaching writing, humanitarianism.

Lindblom, Kenneth. English. Director of the English Teacher Education Program. PhD, 1996, Syracuse University: English education; theory, history, and practice of composition-rhetoric; discourse pragmatics.

Lucenko, Kristina. Writing and Rhetoric. PhD, 2009, University at Buffalo: Women’s writing, feminism, life narrative, service learning.

Martinez-Pizarro, Joaquin. English. PhD, 1976, Harvard University: Literary history of the Middle Ages, classical and medieval backgrounds, comparative studies.

Pfeiffer, Douglas. English. PhD, 2005, Columbia University: Renaissance humanism, history of literary and rhetorical theory.

Sharma, Shyam. Writing and Rhetoric. PhD, 2012, University of Louisville: Writing in the disciplines, English as a second language.

Thompson, Roger. Writing and Rhetoric. PhD, 2000, Texas Christian: Rhetorical theory, history of rhetorical theory, writing about war experience, veterans issues, trauma.




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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