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Program Overview

Business Writing and Communication

Business Writing and Communication Certificate

The Business Writing and Communication certificate program is designed for professionals who are responsible for developing business communication, whether that communication is within an organization or with customers. The program combines current theories of organizational communication and persuasion with the practices of business writing. Students will learn principles of effective communication while developing their own writing skills as they create persuasive and informational business documents.

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About the Business Writing and Communication Certificate

Business Writing and Communication Goals and Courses

Business Writing and Communication Tuition

Post-baccalaureate students at Northwestern's School of Professional Studies pay per course. For more information about financial obligations and tuition, please visit the Tuition page.

Admission for the Business Writing and Communication Certificate

In addition to completing an online application, you'll also need to submit a few supplemental materials. A list of requirements for admission including application deadlines and tips on how to apply can be found at the Admission page.

Business Writing and Communication Registration Information

Whether you're a first-time registrant or current and returning student, all students register using our online student registration and records systems. Important information about registering for courses at SPS, including registration timelines and adding or dropping courses in which you are already enrolled, can be found on the Registration Information page.

Find out more about the Business Writing and Communication Certificate

Program Courses:Course Detail
Intro to Public Relations <> ADVT 370-CN

Public relations is a core management function for every type of organization, whether public or private. Public relations spans a wide range of marketing disciplines including media relations, corporate reputation, community affairs, issues/crisis management, investor relations, and government affairs. PR is one of the primary tools used to reinforce a company's brand and support its competitive position. Students learn the essential components of an effective PR strategy; how to evaluate and manage outside PR counsel; essentials of media relations and crisis management; and how to draft PR messages. Students select a "beat" or coverage area to investigate as part of the class homework projects. This course involves heavy writing; it may not be audited.This course is cross-listed as MKTG 390-CN.


View ADVT 370-CN Sections
Theories of Persuasion <> COMM_ST 205-CN

Acts of persuasion affect us in all aspects of our lives. This course will examine the different ways in which we observe and use persuasion in the communication we have with our families, our friends, and the general public. How effective are we? How are we affected by persuasion? This will culminate in an overall assessment of persuasion's effects on us as individuals and as a society.

This hybrid course combines in-class lecture and discussion on campus with online sessions. In-class meeting dates will be announced. Attendance at the first session is mandatory; attendance is required for all subsequent sessions. Absences for both in-class meetings and online sessions will affect the final grade. Homework will be due in class and online.


There is no available section.
Theories of Persuasion <> COMM_ST 205-CN

This course will provide a survey of persuasive theories with an emphasis on the civic, interpersonal and commercial dimensions of persuasive efforts. Students will be introduced to the vocabulary and concepts necessary to create and to critique persuasive acts, including media theory and rhetorical theory. The course will rely on contemporary examples of persuasion from a wide variety of sources and students will acquire practical skills relevant to their performances as professionals, citizens and scholars.


View COMM_ST 205-CN Sections
Theories of Persuasion <> COMM_ST 205-DL

Acts of persuasion affect us in all aspects of our lives. This course will examine the different ways in which we observe and use persuasion in the communication we have with our families, our friends, and the general public. How effective are we? How are we affected by persuasion? This will culminate in an overall assessment of persuasion's effects on us as individuals and as a society.

The course is conducted completely online. It will be asynchronous; students can participate in discussions and complete assignments by working at their own pace, as long as deadlines are met. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View COMM_ST 205-DL Sections
Theories of Argumentation <> COMM_ST 220-CN

Argumentation is the study of effective reasoning. It considers how people give reasons to justify their acts, beliefs, attitudes, and values and to influence the thought and action of others. This course explores how to analyze and evaluate arguments as well as how to construct and challenge arguments in interpersonal settings, in the public forum, and in the mass media.


There is no available section.
Professional-Client Comm <> COMM_ST 362-CN

This course is designed to explore the various processes of professional-client communications, including organizational theory, social, and managerial activities. Special emphasis is given to areas of interpersonal and intergroup conflict as well as ethics and its links to decision-making in business contexts. In addition, specific business frameworks are used to show practical applications of professional-client theory, including sales, consulting, and legal perspectives, among others. The primary purpose of the course is for each participant to gain insight into his or her own communication style and to become a more effective communicator, especially in the professional world where most people spend a major portion of their lives. The course involves extensive use of self-evaluation methodologies and participative activities, enhanced by cases, rigorous self-review and introspection. 


View COMM_ST 362-CN Sections
Bargaining and Negotiation <> COMM_ST 363-CN

This course is designed to explore the processes of bargaining and negotiation as theoretical, social, and managerial activities. It provides an overview of the basic theoretical approaches, concepts, processes, and research in bargaining and negotiation. Special emphasis is given in the areas of interpersonal and intergroup conflict as well as language bias and its links to negotiating. In addition, interpersonal influence techniques and the tactics and strategies involved with improved bargaining and negotiation are covered. The major purpose of the course is for each participant to gain insight into his or her own negotiating style and to become a more effective negotiator, as well as a more astute observer of social processes. The course involves extensive use of cases, role-plays, and related participative activities, enhanced by rigorous self-review and introspection.


View COMM_ST 363-CN Sections
Intermediate Composition: Business Communication <> ENGLISH 205-CN

This course is designed for students who have experience with college-level writing but who want to sharpen their writing and communication skills. Students learn to apply measures of excellence in business writing and communication. Assignments relate to business environments, including audience analysis, persuasive writing, verbal and interpersonal communication, and document design and graphics. Writers gain experience writing in collaborative environments, producing multiple drafts and receive feedback from their peers and the instructor.

This hybrid course combines in-class lecture and discussion on campus with online sessions. In-class meeting dates are 9/27, 10/4, 10/18, 11/21, 11/15, and 12/6. Attendance is strongly encouraged for all sessions. Homework will be due in-class and online.

Prerequisite: ENGLISH 111 or equivalent. Carries business credit.


View ENGLISH 205-CN Sections
Writing for Media JRN_WRIT 201-A

This course focuses on fundamental journalistic writing techniques -- skills that work well in any academic or vocational setting and result in clear, crisp, concise writing. The format is straightforward: lectures and in-class exercises followed by rewrites with remote-site editing. And then more rewriting. Through in-class meetings and remote-site interactive instruction, students develop capability to compose quickly and meet real-world deadlines.


View JRN_WRIT 201-A Sections
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