Program Overview/ FAQ's


What is a technical writing certificate?


Technical WritingPenn State Abington’s certificate program in Technical and Business Writing is designed for adult learners (degree or non-degree) who seek a competitive edge in the workplace, as well as for current undergraduate students preparing for careers in Web-based writing, software development, business, or public relations.

 Our program provides an opportunity for practical, professional development for individuals who aspire to improve their creative thinking skills and to become more effective communicators in our information-driven economy.

The program at Penn State Abington provides two tracks, allowing individuals to focus on either technical writing or business writing. Our curriculum includes instruction on technical writing, proposals, reports, research strategies, and presentations common to business, industry, and government. In keeping with the workplace, our program also provides instruction on document design, composing in multimedia, and Web-based writing, including how to create informative, persuasive, and creative Web pages and online texts.

To supplement our curriculum, students in Penn State Abington’s program are assigned a faculty mentor, create and maintain an e-portfolio, and have access to the campus’ Office of Career Services. Students can use the school’s resources to help find an internship or job or to make a career change. The program can be completed for 18 undergraduate credits.


Frequently Asked Questions about the Program

Q. What is the Business and Technical Writing Certificate?

A.  It’s a certificate you get after taking a series of courses; it’s not just one course.

Q. What courses are required for the Certificate?

A. The required courses depend on whether you opt to focus on business writing or on technical writing.  For business writing, you take English 202D, English 215, Art 201 OR Comm 241, English 419, English 420, and English 480.  For technical writing, you take English 202C, English 215, Art 201 OR Comm 241, English 416, English 418, and English 420.  You can learn more about required courses here.

Q. Where can I read course descriptions of these courses?

A. Course descriptions are listed here.

Q. What if I don’t have a prerequisite for one of the required courses?

A. A freshman writing course you took at your institution will generally count for English 015, but otherwise, you’ll need to take any listed prerequisites.

Q. What if I took English 202 at Penn State but not the 202C/D that my specific track requires?

A. You’ll need to take the correct type of 202.

Q. What if I just want to take one course?

A.  Go ahead!  You just need to register as a non-degree student and then you can take just a single course if you’d like.  You don’t have to apply to the University.  To register as a student here, contact the Bursar’s Office (  Here’s a link to the non-degree application.

Q. How much does the Certificate cost?

A. It costs as much as the number of credits you’re taking per semester plus the cost of fees.  You can determine the approximate cost of your certificate here. Just be aware that tuition and fees may increase with time.

Q. When are courses for the Certificate offered?

A. To see courses we’re offering in any given semester, click here

Q. Can I complete the Certificate at night?

A. Maybe, but it might take you a while, i.e. up to two years or perhaps longer depending on your schedule and the times for courses as departments schedule them.  Required course are on occasion offered at night, so you can watch for offerings at night on the schedule of courses.          

Q. Can I complete the certificate online?

A. No, you can’t complete all required courses online, but you’ll find that some courses might on occasion be offered online or as hybrid courses (half online and half face-to-face).

Q. If I work full time, how many courses can I handle on top of my full-time job?

A.  That depends on how much time you’re willing and able to dedicate to your studies.  But generally, speaking, one or two courses on top of a full time job would be a lot.  Think of each course as taking up at least 10 hours of your time per week.

Q. When can I start the Certificate?

A. Whenever you register as a student at Penn State.  There’s no specific start time for the Certificate; you just register for courses as they become available on the schedule of courses.

Q. How do I register as a student and enroll in the Certificate?

A. First, contact the Scheduling Office ( and register as a student.  If you’re only planning on attending Penn State Abington to get this certificate, you’ll almost certainly register as a non-degree student.  Once you’re registered as a student, contact Dr. Lila Naydan for the necessary forms.

Q. I’m already a degree-seeking Penn State Student.  Can I get this Certificate?

A. Absolutely!  Just contact Dr. Lila Naydan for the necessary forms. She will help you get the Certificate to appear on your degree audit and transcript.


See What Our Faculty Are Doing

Faculty teaching in this program have real-world experience in the field.  

Check out the website of one of our faculty members, Karin Rex.

Dr. Liliana Naydan
Dr. Liliana Naydan
Registration Information

Enrollment as a nondegree student does not imply admission to the university.

To register, complete our Undergraduate Nondegree Student Credit Application Mailed or fax to 215-881- 7825. In person – 121 Sutherland Building, Mon-Thur, 8am-9pm. or Fri, 8am-5pm.


Pay for your classes by submitting a check or money order by mail or in person at the Bursar's Office, 122A Sutherland (9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday).


Prior to the first day of the semester students may cancel their registration without financial penalty. Students scheduling classes after the first day of the semester will be assessed a late registration and late payment fee.