Strategic Writing and Advancement for Nonprofits Graduate Certificate

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The graduate Certificate in Strategic Writing and Advancement for Nonprofits (SWAN) is designed for those who wish to enter into or advance their careers in nonprofit marketing, communication, and development. Jointly offered by DePaul’s School of Public Service (SPS) and Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse (WRD), the four-course, sixteen-credit-hour Certificate provides a foundation in grant writing and resource development, which can be supplemented with electives in key professional areas such as content strategy, digital storytelling, and nonprofit marketing and board development.

Many SWAN courses are characterized by community-engaged, project-based learning, in which students complete substantial course projects with and for Chicago-area nonprofit partner organizations. Students can expect to gain both resumé experience and professional writing samples through their Certificate work.

The SWAN Certificate is available to students in DePaul graduate programs and to those who seek a stand-alone credential that provides credit toward a master’s degree. DePaul students pursuing an MA in Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse, Nonprofit Management, or an MS in Public Service Management, can complete the Certificate without adding additional courses to their degree.

Course Requirements

Course Title Quarter Hours
WRD 526GRANT AND PROPOSAL WRITING4
MPS 519RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT4
Two elective graduate-level courses (one SPS course and one WRD course, except when advised otherwise)8
INTRODUCTION TO NONPROFIT MANAGEMENT
VOLUNTEERISM IN GLOBAL CIVIL SOCIETY
MARKETING FOR SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS
WORKING WITH NONPROFIT BOARDS
FOUNDATION MANAGEMENT
STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT AND PLANNING
WRITING IN THE PROFESSIONS
EDITING
DIGITAL STORYTELLING
CONTENT STRATEGY
INTERNSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL AND DIGITAL WRITING (*)
*When internship is with a nonprofit organization and student is interning in a strategic writing or development role.

Students are encouraged to balance the Certificate with one elective course from both the School of Public Service (MPS-prefix) and WRD. Those students without experience working in or studying nonprofit organizations are encouraged to enroll in MPS 508 early in the Certificate and before taking MPS 519.

Admission Requirements

Applications are accepted at any time, and students may begin the program at the start of any academic quarter. The program is open to both non-degree seeking students and students concurrently enrolled in a DePaul graduate degree program. All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree.

There are several processes for applying to the program, depending on the status of the applicant:

  • Current graduate students in SPS should contact the SPS staff advisor to enroll in the Certificate.
  • Current graduate students in WRD or in any other DePaul master's degree program should contact the SWAN Certificate Coordinator, Prof. Lisa Dush, to enroll.
  • Applicants who are not currently enrolled as DePaul students should apply online as a non-degree seeking student​, and be prepared to submit the following:
    • an LAS graduate admission online application
    • transcripts from all schools attended
    • a Statement of Purpose of 300-500 words, describing their interest in and professional goals for pursuing the Certificate