The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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For Educators

Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing

The Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing is sponsored by the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, a professional development program within the Department of English and the Division of Continuing and Professional Education. Participants complete courses totaling 15 graduate credits in writing and literacy pedagogy to develop their capacity as teachers and teacher-leaders in the field.

Purpose and Goals

K-16 educators enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing program receive a strong grounding in writing and reflective teaching, while developing a framework for teaching writing and literacy across the curriculum. Participants gain a deep understanding of literacy learning through a combination of working on their own writing; reflecting on their teaching practices; and reading current research in composition, literacy, and writing pedagogy. Following the National Writing Project model of “teachers teaching teachers,” participants share successful writing activities and develop and implement curriculum. They formulate research questions about their teaching practices and document the effects of their instruction by collecting and analyzing student work.


High-quality professional development in the field of literacy (including literacy in the disciplines) is in high demand in the area. Many schools and districts in western Massachusetts--along with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education--look to WMWP to provide courses and workshops for teachers. All of WMWP’s programs for teachers are led by teachers, and the certificate program is an avenue by which teacher-consultants can develop expertise, confidence, and flexibility as teacher-leaders in their schools and in WMWP programs.