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Certificates and Specializations

The English Department offers 8 Letters of Specialization, 1 Certificate, and 1 Individualized Option.

  • These areas of study are open to undergraduate students from any UMass major.
  • Students considering a specialization are encouraged to contact one of the advisors associated with it. No formal paperwork is needed to begin coursework.
  • Upon completion of the specialization or certificate, students receive a signed certificate.

Contact Celeste to declare your intent to pursue a letter of specialization and/or certificate program in English.  When you are in the final courses toward completing a letter, please complete the Declaration form (PDF) and either send it back electronically to Celeste or turn it into the English undergraduate office located at E345 South College.

American Studies

The American Studies specialization allows 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. English majors or those majoring in English, primary or secondary, seeking a credential in creative writing should declare a Concentration in Creative Writing.

Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities specialization aims to better prepare interested students for jobs that require both a familiarity with technology and sound communication skills. This specialization prepares students to become more critically informed and productive digital citizens.

Environmental Humanities

The Environmental Humanities specialization prepares students to engage in issues and topics relating to our environment and climate change.  

Literature as History 

The Literature as History specialization emphasizes links between history, narrative, and writing—and reminds us that the past is always a part of the present.

Professional Writing and Technical Communication (PWTC) 

The Professional Writing and Technical Communication Certificate prepares students for careers in professional writing, technical communication, and user experience (UX). PWTC students gain technology skills and project-based experience in editing, grant writing, software documentation, report writing, and web design. 

Social Justice: Race, Class, Gender, Ability 

The Social Justice specialization explores the ways that diverse writers cast a spotlight on injustices and help us imagine a world that is better and more just.

The Study and Practice of Writing (SPOW)

The Study and Practice of Writing specialization is 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.

Teaching the English Language Arts (TELA)

The TELA specialization is a good fit for any undergraduate student interested in teaching or tutoring English – whether in middle or secondary schools, ESL programs, or other sites. Students don't have to be English majors, or pursuing educator licensure, to complete the specialization.

Individualized Option 

The individualized option is for students who wish to design their own pathway through the major. 

English specializations poster

Printable poster of English specializations options







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

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