The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Certificates and specializations

The English Department offers 4 letters of specialization and 1 certificate.

  • These 5 areas of study are open to undergraduate students from any UMass major.
  • Students considering one the following specializations are encouraged to contact one of the directors or advisors associated with that letter, but no formal paperwork is needed to begin coursework.
  • Upon successful completion of the specialization or certificate, students receive a signed certificate. Students may also choose to include Letters of Specialization in their placement files.  

Interested in pursuing a teaching career? Visit the Teaching Paths page.

American Studies

The American Studies specialization enables students to shape an interdisciplinary course of study around unresolved social and intellectual issues in American Culture; for example, questions of race, class, gender, and ethnicity.

Creative Writing

The Creative Writing specialization aims to provide inspiration and support for committed writers and to offer serious instruction in craft. Classes usually include readings in one or more literary genres and workshop review of students' writing.

Digital Humanities + Games

The Digital Humanities + Games specialization aims to better prepare interested students for jobs that require both a familiarity with technology and sound communication skills. We believe this specialization will also help our students become better critically informed and productive digital citizens. As with all specializations in English, this specialization is open to students from any major.

Professional Writing and Technical Communication (PWTC) 

The Professional Writing and Technical Communication (PWTC) certificate prepares students for careers in technical and professional writing, digital communication, and user experience (UX). PWTC students gain project-based experience in editing, grant writing, software documentation, report writing, and web design. Every student develops a professional web portfolio and gains hands-on experience with industry-standard software (e.g., Adobe InDesign, MadCap Flare). The program enjoys a well-established network of more than 300 graduates and high job placement rate.

The Study and Practice of Writing (SPOW)

The Study and Practice of Writing specialization can be a good fit for students who enjoy writing or who are planning to enter writing-intensive professions such as: writing for non-profits, science writing, medical writing, legal writing, nonfiction writing, commercial and academic publishing, new media development, editing, and others.

Have a question about pursuing a certificate or specialization? Check our FAQs.

Not finding what you're looking for? Browse more certificate options