Graduate Certificates


The English Department offers two graduate certificates in addition to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. The Certificate in English Studies offers students in the M.S. program in Secondary Education an advanced credential in three areas of English Studies – Global English Studies, Writing Practices, and American Literature and Culture. The Certificate in Teaching Composition offers Ph.D. students in English an additional credential in teaching writing.

Certificate in English Studies

The Certificate in English Studies (CES) may be completed in three areas: Certificate in Global English Studies, Certificate in Writing Practices, and Certificate in American Literature and Culture. Designed primarily for secondary school teachers, it also provides a useful professional credential for anyone engaged in education or related professional fields.

The Certificate in English Studies offers prospective secondary school English teachers the opportunity to obtain more advanced training in rhetoric and composition, creative writing, literary analysis, literary history, and related fields. Students in UAlbany’s MSSE programs are required to take only two courses of their choosing in their content areas. By completing the CES, students would take a three additional graduate courses in English and complete their degrees with wider range of subject area training and with specialization in a particular field of English Studies. The CES provides UAlbany MSSE graduates – and those in related fields – with an additional credential in the highly competitive fields of humanities education.

Curriculum and Requirements
Students in the CES program choose one of three areas of specialization in English studies, each of which coincide with disciplinary clusters in our doctoral program: the Certificate in Global English Studies, the Certificate in Writing Practices, and the Certificate in American Literature and Culture.

Each certificate program consists of 20 credits of graduate coursework, 8 of which can be satisfied by the Content Area Coursework required for the MSSE. The credits would be distributed as follows:

  • English 500 (4 credits)
  • Four courses in the primary field of study (16 credits). (These courses are chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.)

With the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, students may also receive credit toward the Certificate for one course taken at another institution or in another department of the University at Albany.

Certificate in Teaching Composition

The Department of English, in conjunction with the Program in Writing and Critical Inquiry, offers a Certificate in Teaching Composition for English doctoral students who complete a set of requirements in training, scholarship, and teaching. This Certificate provides official recognition to doctoral students with significant experience, professional development, and scholarly engagement in rhetoric and composition above and beyond their primary area of scholarly specialization.

To be competitive on the academic job market today, English Ph.D.’s are well-advised to gain experience teaching first-year writing to undergraduate students. Yet increasingly, mere experience in teaching first-year writing is not enough to prepare successful job applicants as more English doctoral programs are working to distinguish the preparation of their graduates with genuine, deep professional development that enables graduates to understand the theory and research behind recommended pedagogical practices in composition.

Curriculum and requirements

English doctoral students who wish to apply for a Certificate in Teaching Composition must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete ENG 770 Teaching Writing and Literature (4 credits) and ENG 771 Practicum in Teaching Writing and Literature (4 credits)
  • Complete one of the following courses (4 credits each):
    • ENG 521 History and Theory of Composition
    • ENG 522 History and Theory of Rhetoric
    • ENG 621 Current Trends in Rhetorical Theory and Research
    • ENG 685 Special Topics (when the topic is related to rhetoric and composition)
      Additional rhetoric and composition course offerings may also satisfy this requirement at the discretion of the English graduate director.
  • Teach at least two semesters of ENG 110 or UNI 110
  • While teaching ENG 110 or UNI 110, participate in WCI professional development opportunities, including any instructor orientation and staff meetings.
  • While teaching ENG 110 or UNI 110, have one’s teaching effectiveness be documented through student evaluations and through observation (and subsequent mentoring) by the WCI program director or a designated English faculty liaison between English and the WCI program.
  • Work at least one semester as a tutor in the Writing Center and participate in all Writing Center professionalization activities such as orientation and staff meetings during that semester.
  • Prior to graduation submit a teaching portfolio to the WCI director or designated English faculty liaison between English and the WCI program.