Plain Language Certificate
Do you need to communicate complex information? From government to health care to law, demand is growing for plain language specialists in a variety of work settings. In our online certificate program, you’ll learn practical techniques to strip away jargon and bureaucratese and produce clear, accessible writing that speaks directly to your intended audience.
Why this program?
- Gain the knowledge to work as a plain language specialist
- Build specialized writing skills in your choice of areas, such as health or law
- Learn from experienced plain language practitioners
- Take fully online courses on a flexible schedule
- Start with individual courses and apply to the program at any time
- Graduate with a certificate that confers SFU alumni status along with its benefits
1–5 years (from start date of first course)
To graduate, complete all courses with a minimum average grade of B- (70%).
3–10 weeks (9–30 instructional hours)
Self-paced within set deadlines
Required courses (take in any order, except PLNL410, which should be completed last):
- Plain Language Principles (PLNL110)
- Efficient Business and Professional Writing (BCPW205)
- Research, Analysis and Information Design (TCOM210)
- Plain Graphics and Design (PLNL310)
- Strategies in Audience Analysis (PLNL320)
- Plain Language Final Project (PLNL410)
Elective courses (minimum 20 hours; choose from list):
- Writing Plain Language for Law (PLNL510)
- Plain Language in Health Literacy (PLNL520)
- Technical Writing and Editing (TCOM120)
- Copy Editing (EDIT210)
See individual courses for textbook details
$350–$930/course, not including textbooks
$75 program application fee
No application deadline. Take individual courses and apply to the program at any time.
- Grade 12 or equivalent
- Mature students who do not meet this requirement may qualify with at least 5 years of appropriate experience
- Advanced English Language Requirements
See Application details for more info.
Register for individual courses at any time, with the option to apply to the program later.
Enroll in the certificate program to:
- Track your progress in your student account
- Access potential tax credits
- Be eligible to graduate when you finish
Kristen Clark has plenty of practice trying to make sense of head-scratching paragraphs. A former journalist, Kristen works as a communications specialist in the Auditor’s Office of the City and County of Denver, Colorado.
Between managing two businesses and pursuing both SFU’s Plain Language Certificate and Indigenous Business Leadership Executive MBA at once, Angie Saltman has plenty to keep her busy.
Erin Klingmann is so passionate about ensuring government communication materials are clear and accessible that she’s carved out a career for herself doing exactly that.