Copy Editing

Copy editing makes a good publication better. A copy editor can improve any document by eliminating errors, addressing grammar problems, and ensuring consistent style. This course is for people who want to develop the skills that professional copy editors need.

Topics include assessing your copy editing aptitude, using editing marks, watching for mistakes in spelling and punctuation, striving for accuracy, preparing style sheets, and electronic copy editing. You’ll have the opportunity to complete assignments based on non-fiction book excerpts, journal articles, newsletters, and other print material.

The final examination for this course is due two weeks after the course ends (20 days after the last date listed in the schedule).

Instructional hours: 15


Location: Online
Format: Self-paced within deadlines set by instructor
Duration: 5 weeks
Tuition: $555
Can be applied to:
Editing Certificate

Upcoming Offerings

Register for a course at any time, with the option to apply to a program later.

Start Date
Start DateWed, Jul 27, 2022
  • Wed, Jul 27 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Aug 3 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Aug 10 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Aug 17 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Aug 24 (self-paced all week)
InstructorHeba Sourour
Seats Available17
Start DateWed, Sep 14, 2022
  • Wed, Sep 14 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Sep 21 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Sep 28 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Oct 5 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Oct 12 (self-paced all week)
InstructorRowena Rae
Seats Available20
Start DateWed, Oct 26, 2022
  • Wed, Oct 26 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 2 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 9 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 16 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 23 (self-paced all week)
InstructorJudy Phillips
Seats Available25
Start DateWed, Nov 9, 2022
  • Wed, Nov 9 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 16 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 23 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Nov 30 (self-paced all week)
  • Wed, Dec 7 (self-paced all week)
InstructorNick Rockel
Seats Available25

What you will learn

At the end of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the stages in the editorial process, including the place and responsibilities of the copy editor
  • Estimate how long it will take to copy edit a document
  • Copy edit a simple document
  • Identify and correct common errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, usage, mechanics, style and content
  • Use editing symbols to mark copy and explain why they are important
  • Develop and follow editorial style and query sheets, and explain why they are important
  • Use the Microsoft Word track changes function to edit onscreen

How you will learn and be evaluated

Prepare to spend 6–10 hours per week on coursework, including:

  • Readings
  • Online discussions
  • Practical exercises

You will be evaluated on:

  • Participation in discussions
  • Quizzes
  • Assignment
  • Final examination (due two weeks after course ends)

Learning Materials

No textbook is required. We will provide all course materials online.

Recommended reading:

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (or later). University of Chicago Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0226104201

Once you begin the course you'll be sent SFU library access information for this text. Alternatively, you may wish to download a 30-day free trial of the online version of Chicago Manual of Style

Technical Requirements

For online courses, you will need a computer with audio and microphone that is connected to the internet. Canvas is the online system that will be used for the course. For more information and online support, visit Online Learning.

This course requires:

  • Microsoft Word (2010 or newer) and being comfortable with Track Changes function
  • A printer
  • A scanner or camera to create a digital copy of editing examples to be submitted for one of the assignments
  • High-speed internet access
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader

English language requirements

To succeed in this course, you will need an advanced level of written and spoken English. If you are unsure whether your English language skills are sufficient, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the following minimums:

  • Overall band score minimum 6.5
  • No band below 6.0
  • Writing band score minimum 8.0

Please note we can’t refund your registration fees after the course start date if you find your English language skills are not adequate.

If you have questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact your local IELTS Test Centre.