Certificate in the Teaching of Composition


The program is designed for people who want to teach composition at the senior high school, community college, college and adult levels. It is aimed at both experienced and aspirant teachers who wish to learn about the field of composition and who wish to improve their classroom practice.


Bridget GelmsGelms, Bridget
Email: bgelms@sfsu.edu
Phone: (415) 338-3112
Office: Humanities 546






Admission to the Program

If you currently are NOT a matriculated M.A. student at SF State, and you wish to apply for admission to the certificate program, you must apply to the university. To do so, you will need to apply to SF State Graduate Studies online through Cal State Apply. You will also need to upload the following documents (1-3) to the Cal State Apply site’s “Program Materials” section:

  1. A statement of purpose.The statement of purpose should:
  • Explain your interest in pursuing the degree.
  • Describe any previous experience that may contribute to your success in the program.
  • Establish your readiness to do graduate-level coursework.
  • Explain what you plan to do with the degree/certificate upon completion.
  • In addition, be sure your statement of purpose demonstrates your ability to produce clear, cogent, and polished prose.

2. Please upload legible unofficial copies of transcripts from each college or university attended. Including study abroad coursework, or community college coursework, even if this coursework appears as transfer credit appears on your degree transcript. Full academic disclosure is required. Photographs or screenshots of transcripts will be rejected. An incomplete academic history will significantly delay review of your application. The Division of Graduate Studies may request official transcripts from you at any point during the application review process.  

If selected for admission, you will be required to submit official transcripts to the Division of Graduate Studies in order to secure your offer of admission. Please note: if you previously attended SF State, you do not need to submit a SFSU transcript.

If selected for admssion, please mail official transcripts to:

Graduate Admissions Office, ADM 250
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94132

  • If you currently ARE a matriculated M.A. student at SF State, and you wish to apply for admission to the program, you must fill out the Grad Studies certificate application form and submit the application to the Department of English office in HUM 484 or email: english@sfsu.edu. The deadline to apply for fall semester is May 1; the deadline to apply for spring semester is November 1. Spring 2022 application deadline has been extended to December 1.

Please note that you cannot take more than one course for the certificate program through College of Extended Learning. Also, certificate students who are not enrolled in a master’s program are not eligible for financial aid.


The certificate consists of four courses: English 700, 704, 709, and 710.

  • English 700 - Introduction to Composition Theory: Issues of composition theory, research, and classroom practice.
  • English 704 - Pedagogical Grammar for Composition: Theory and practice of responding to linguistic, stylistic, and rhetorical issues in student writing.
  • English 709 - Seminar in Teaching Integrated Reading and Writing: Exploration of the integration of reading and writing from both a theoretical and pedagogical perspective.
  • English 710 - Course Design in Composition and Post-Secondary Reading: Theory and practice of designing post-secondary reading and composition courses. This course is offered only in spring semesters. This is the Capstone course for the Certificate. It should be taken toward the end of your certificate coursework.

Requirement Upon Completion

For the final award of the degree, students must fill out a Certificate Approved Program (CAP) form (pdf) available on the Graduate Studies website, pay the $7.00 application fee, and submit the form to the Department of English Office in HUM 484 for the Certificates in the Teaching of Composition and Post-Secondary Reading.

No course applied to the Certificate may be taken CR/NC, and a grade of A or B must be earned in each course. Students wishing to earn the Certificate must follow all University requirements and procedures for graduate certificate programs as outlined in the San Francisco State University Bulletin. For further information, contact the English Department, HUM 484, (415) 338-2264 or Graduate Studies at 338-2234.