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Professional Creative Nonfiction Writing (Certificate)

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The Creative Nonfiction Writing certificate helps you progress toward mastering the fundamentals of writing narrative nonfiction. From memoir to personal essay, find your narrative voice and tell your story. Discover how to capture the attention of your audience with nonfiction writing that sparks interest and inspires action. You’ll learn to:

• Identify and analyze key elements of creative nonfiction
• Apply knowledge of creative nonfiction fundamentals and genres to your own creative work
• Share your work with other aspiring writers in a spirit of mutual trust and encouragement
• Give and receive constructive critiques that clarify your values and enhance your skills

Credits earned through this graduate certificate may apply toward a master's degree in Profesional Creative Writing.

Professional Creative Writing Outcomes

This program prepares students to:

  • Craft writing with a keen awareness of the limits and opportunities of the writing's genre
  • Cultivate writing routines and habits that support creative productivity
  • Develop a sophisticated knowledge of literary structures and reader expectations
  • Apply professional editing standards to evaluate both published writing and writing for your peers
  • Assess your own writing and learn how to enhance its strengths and eliminate its weaknesses
  • Define your audiences and write in ways that move and entertain them

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who have completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at

Required Courses

The graduate Certificate of Advanced Study in Professional Creative Nonfiction Writing requires completion of 24 credit hours (6 courses).

Concentration courses - 16 qtr. hrs (Choose 4)

Concentration courses allow students to focus on a specific professional area within the larger industry sector in which they are working or wish to work, and master the skills needed to excel in that area.

Elective courses - 8 qtr. hrs (Choose 2)

Electives may be chosen from among all courses in Professional Creative Writing programs. You may also select courses from other University College graduate programs with approval from the academic director.

Your academic advisor will help you select electives that align with your career and personal goals, and your advisor will obtain any necessary approvals from the academic director.

Popular electives for students pursuing Professional Creative Writing programs include:

Additional Elective courses available, please Design your custom plan for elective courses

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Careers in Professional Creative Nonfiction Writing Certificate

Writer, Editor, Critic, Literary Journalist, Historical Writer, Teacher, Writing Coach, Blogger, Copy Writer, Marketer

Conducting extensive research to obtain factual information and authentic detail; crafting written content for memoirs, personal essays, historical and art museums, blogs, books, magazines, and online publications; editing written content for grammar, punctuation, and readability; revising written content based on customer and editor feedback transcribing content on behalf of others; preparing works for publication; marketing written work in collaboration with an agent, organization, or publisher.

Nonfiction writing is on the rise and consumers are even willing to spend more on nonfiction titles, according to a Smashwords survey. The Association of American Publishers says Adult Trade Nonfiction is the fastest growing trade category for book sales, continuing to surpass the Children’s/Young Adult genre. Even television is experiencing a rise in the nonfiction genre, with more documentaries and “nonfiction premium” content being produced, according to the Wall Street Journal. Publisher’s Weekly reports that Adult Nonfiction saw the biggest unit gains among the major print categories in 2016, selling more than 225 million units in print format compared to 103 million units of Adult Fiction.

Careers In Professional Creative Writing

Be prepared to publish!
Whether you want to be a novelist, screenwriter, poet, or literary journalist, your love for writing combined with a master's degree or graduate certificate will prepare you for a career in creative writing. From developing a professional writing presence to applying expert editing standards, you'll learn to master the fundamentals of writing for various genres and be prepared to submit your written works to an editor or agent.

The future of digital reading has arrived!
With the rise of mobile-reading—Nielsen says 54% of ebook buyers read from a smartphone on the go-be prepared to write prose people can't put down. Also be prepared to go global, with the growth of opportunity in international markets, according to the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Career Services

Enhance Your Career
As a student, you'll gain access to a range of free services offered through DU Career Services. From resume and cover letter assistance to individual career counseling and assessments, you'll have valuable career support during and after your program.

Ready to Apply

It's time to gather your materials and apply to your program of choice. Remember to include:

How to Apply

Need More Information

Interested in attending University College, but need additional information before you make a decision? No problem−we're here to help. You may request additional information about a specific program and specialty, review and ask questions in our Frequently Asked Questions section, or contact University College directly.

Want to Take a Class

Even if you missed the application deadline, you can start taking courses for one quarter before you have to submit a completed application. We know how important it is to get started when you're ready, so review the class schedule or start the registration process now.

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