Effective Writing

Effective Writing for Business and the Professions is an eight-week course designed to meet the writing needs of working professionals. The course is an accelerated, non-credit version of the Writing Program’s Academic and Professional Writing course

Located in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center, Effective Writing is offered in both Autumn and Spring quarters on Wednesday evenings. Effective Writing is part of the continuing education writer resources administered through the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. For courses in grammar and business presentations, see the Graham School’s Writer’s Studio.

Course Description

Effective Writing in Business and the Professions demonstrates the structures of clear professional prose. You will learn not only how to diagnose and fix trouble spots that can make writing unclear, but also how to refocus a text to reach different audiences, such as colleagues, clients, or the general public. How can you tailor your work to particular readers while working quickly enough to be effective? Our course tackles this problem by using a “reader based” approach to writing: you will learn to predict how readers will respond to language when it is structured in particular ways. Before your readers can process the information you wish to communicate, they need to see certain predictable kinds of sentence structures, paragraph structures, and text structures.


The course includes lecture sessions and small-group seminars in which instructors can focus on each student’s writing needs. In the lecture sessions, we’ll examine real-world professional prose taken from a wide variety of fields, and discuss why the good ones work and why the bad ones — and some of them are very bad indeed — don’t work at all. The principles of clear writing that you study, then, won’t be presented as a list of abstract rules; instead, they will be developed from the class’s experience of good and bad writing. In the seminar groups, which are led by members of the Writing Program staff, you’ll exchange copies of your writing samples with other students and discuss these samples as a group. This kind of a seminar can give you a very clear idea of how a group of diverse readers responds to your work. We’ll also do some exercises that will help you incorporate the courses’ principles into your daily writing habits.

How to Register

To register, visit the the Graham School Writer’s Studio. You may also call the Graham School directly at (773) 702-1722. Effective Writing cannot be taken for course credit. However, for students who attend regularly and participate in group discussions, we are happy to provide a Certificate of Participation.

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