Certificate Program


Program Description

Emerson College's Copyediting Program consists of a series of dedicated modules covering copyediting fundamentals and industry topics. Through one-, two-, and three-session modules, participants learn to:

  • Review grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, and readability
  • Research and verify facts
  • Spot typographical errors
  • Express ideas clearly and logically while adhering to editorial policy
  • Preserve the original writer's voice throughout the copy-revision process
  • Set standards for handling text in company documents

Who Should Enroll

The Copyediting Program is intended for professionals at all levels in such fields as publishing, journalism, marketing, management, education, and the sciences. Individuals interested in developing specific copyediting skills or updating their abilities to produce professionally written documents in any industry will benefit from the program’s detail-driven approach to copyediting.*

The Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs understands the need for academic flexibility based on different professional goals, obligations, and backgrounds. Participants may enroll in one or several single- or double-session workshops to match their professional objectives and schedule. The certificate, however, will be awarded only to participants who successfully complete all components of the nine modules comprising the Copyediting Certificate Program.

Modules begin in the fall and spring semesters, and run weekday evenings.

Note: Participants must hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED to enroll in courses and programs offered by the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs.

Copyediting Modules

The following nine modules are required for certificate candidates.

CE0281 Copyediting: Getting Started 
Two-session module, offered fall and spring semesters, $232.00
Spring 2017: Monday, 01/23/17; Wednesday, 01/25/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


Gain facility with standard copyediting marks and practice electronic editing in one of Emerson’s state-of-the-art computer labs. Learn how to write tactful author queries and how to decide on an appropriate level of edit for the task at hand. Participants will also begin working with the Chicago Manual of Style.

CE0284 Grammar for Professionals
Three-session module, offered fall and spring semesters, $348.00
Spring 2017: Monday, 01/30/17; Wednesday, 02/01/17; Monday, 02/06/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


Can you ever split an infinitive? Can you start a sentence with and? Learn how to separate fact from folklore and trends from eternal verities by drilling down to the basics of sentence structure. This review of the mechanics of language will begin with parts of speech and move through phrases and clauses and the rich world of verb forms to contemporary grammar problems that plague the experts.

CE0285 Editing for Style
One-session module, offered fall and spring semesters, $116.00
Spring 2017: Wednesday: 02/08/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


Practice editing a manuscript, using the recommendations in the new edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. Learn how to apply “house style” to a manuscript and how to create your own style sheet for a specific project. Participants will develop awareness of the elements of style, including spelling, capitalization, abbreviations, and numbers.

CE0286 Punctuation for Professionals
One-session module, offered fall and spring semesters, $116.00
Spring 2017: Wednesday: 02/13/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


Are semicolons really out of fashion? When should a copyeditor step in to correct an author’s punctuation foibles? Participants will spend the evening practicing punctuation, from commas and colons to quotation marks, ellipses, and even dashes.

CE0287 Editing for Accuracy
One-session module, offered fall and spring semesters, $116.00
Spring 2017: Monday: 02/15/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


What exactly is a “reliable source”? Learn to mark a manuscript for a fact-checker and how to navigate the fact-checking process. Participants will go online in one of Emerson’s computer labs to verify names, dates, and other details in a manuscript, and afterward will have the opportunity to compare findings with their classmates. In this session, participants will also learn which elements to code for a typesetter.

CE0288 Editing for Concision
One-session module, offered fall and spring semesters, $116.00
Spring 2017: Wednesday: 02/22/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


When does specialized vocabulary become an impediment to communication? When do those words tip from politeness into mind-numbing prose? Learn to distinguish jargon and wordiness and how to edit them out. Participants will develop strategies for clarifying a range of manuscripts, from business and technical writing to short fiction and recipes.

CE0289 Editing for Bias-free Language
One-session module, offered fall and spring semesters, $116.00
Spring 2017: Wednesday: 03/01/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


Insensitive wording alienates readers. In this module, participants will explore methods for avoiding biased and offensive writing with language that is gender neutral and inclusive, without being condescending or contrived. Also included will be an overview of handling art and tables, and a look at potential legal issues.

CE0290 Tools of the Trade
One-session module, offered fall and spring semesters, $116.00
Spring 2017: Wednesday: 02/27/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


Copyeditors do not know everything, but they do know where to look for information. After a brief orientation by an Emerson reference librarian, participants will do their own research on a contemporary usage controversy using the resources that copyeditors depend on, including dictionaries, usage books, and discipline-focused style guides, both on the shelves and in the library database. Afterward, participants will present their findings to the class.

CE0291 Precision Proofreading
Two-session module, offered fall and spring semesters, $232.00
Spring 2017: Monday: 03/13/17; Wednesday: 03/15/17
6:00PM - 9:30PM


Learn the differences between copyediting and proofreading as you gain facility with standard proofreading marks and operations, including paired and comparison proofing. Participants will practice on a variety of texts, and will also take a look at handling indexes and strategies for finding work.

Certificate Program Completion Requirements

Professional Studies participants may choose to work toward a Copyediting Certificate. The following guidelines apply to all non-credit, non-degree certificate individuals at Emerson College:

  • Individuals must satisfy the certificate program requirements published for the term in which they register for the first course toward the certificate.

  • All individuals must complete coursework for a certificate program within a period of three years from their initial date of registration.
  • Only learning activities offered by Emerson College’s Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs may be applied to fulfill the requirements of a certificate program.
  • Enrollment in non-credit, non-degree certificate programs is open to all individuals who have a high school diploma or GED. Prerequisite requirements apply in some instances. To receive a certificate, individuals must submit a Request for Certificate Form to the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs within one year of program completion. Request for Certificate Form (PDF)


Karen English
Karen English began her career teaching college history courses, then moved into publishing when she worked on the multivolume book series, The Vietnam Experience. She also edited history and travel-related continuity book series, subscription-based business and consumer newsletters, and direct-marketing collateral. Karen currently is associate editorial director at The Pohly Company, a leading marketing and publishing services company, where she edits magazines and associated content. She has worked on award-winning custom publications for such national companies and associations as Continental Airlines, Coca-Cola Foodservice, Western Union, AISES, UAW-Chrysler, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Hannaford, ECGC, Rice University, and Sotheby's. Karen earned her bachelor's degree at Barat College and  her master's degree at Tufts University.

Carol Parikh
Carol Parikh began her career teaching literature and writing at the University of California, Tufts University, and Boston University. She worked as a freelance copyeditor on fiction and nonfiction projects for such publishers as MIT Press, Columbia University, Northeastern University, and Berkshire Publishing Group. She also has been a full-time copy chief for Cook's Illustrated and Natural Health Magazine. Carol’s award-winning short fiction has been published in many literary journals, and her biography of a mathematician, The Unreal Life of Oscar Zariski, recently was reissued in paperback. She joined the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College as an adjunct faculty member in 2000. Carol earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago and her master's degree at the University of Washington.  

How to Register

Head to our Registration & Payment page to learn more about registration and payment.

Participating in the Copyediting Certificate Program

Tuition is due upon registration for all Copyediting Program courses, modules, and workshops offered through the Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs. Tuition is calculated per course and individuals must pay tuition in full prior to participating in the courses of their choice.

Participants may incur additional course-related expenses. Such additional expenses are separate from tuition costs and payments.

At the present time, Emerson College is not authorized to issue I-20s for study in its Professional Studies and Special Programs (“PSSP”) courses. Depending on an international student’s immigration status and personal circumstances, enrollment in a PSSP course may be permissible or may result in an immigration status violation. Maintaining valid immigration status while in the United States is the responsibility of the individual, not Emerson College. PSSP staff cannot advise individuals about their immigration status. If you have any questions about the requirements for maintenance of your specific immigration status, please contact the U.S. Consulate in your home country prior to enrolling in a PSSP program.

Emerson College reserves the right to change any provision of its programs and courses at any time. The College specifically reserves the right to change its tuition rates and any other financial charges. The College also reserves the right to rearrange its courses and class hours, to drop courses for which registration falls below the minimum enrollment, and to change instructor assignments.