Professional Editing

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
CMNS 3200
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course develops skills in proofreading, copy editing, and structural and stylistic editing, including the process by which editors work with writers. Students are expected to have a good understanding of English grammar and usage.
Course Content

1. Editing Fundamentals

Working with documents on screen and on paper, students will

  • learn how copy editing, proofreading, and stylistic editing differ from each other and from other types of editing
  • edit documents for spelling, grammar, readability, clarity, and appropriateness
  • check material for general accuracy and consistency of content
  • perform structural and stylistic edits of material, retaining the substance, voice, and intent of the original
  • edit material for bias, stereotyping, libelous statements, and sensitivities of the reader
  • learn how to use a selected conventional style (for example, Canadian Press style)
  • use standard copy-editing symbols and electronic markup (for example, track changes)
  • become familiar with basic editing tools, including style sheets
  • become familiar with basic legal issues involved in editing, including copyright and permissions
  • develop the skills required to present editorial feedback in an effective, professional way
  • examine the relationship between the writer and the editor in the creation of documents


2. Editing for Standards of Grammar and Usage

Students will

  • become more familiar with Canadian English standards of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage
  • compare English, American, and Canadian language conventions
  • examine different style manuals, usage manuals, and other reference books
  • research and present grammatical concepts in easy-to-understand language
  • become aware of language that leads to bias and stereotyping


3. Editing and Production

 Students will

  • look at the role of copy editing and proofreading in the publishing of print and electronic documents
  • use standard proofreading symbols, tool, and techniques to indicate changes to be made in print and electronic documents


Learning Activities

The course will use a combination of lecture, discussion, individual work, and group work, with an emphasis on hands-on editing of documents. 

Means of Assessment

Students are expected to be self-motivated and to demonstrate professionalism, which includes active participation, good attendance, punctuality, effective collaboration, ability to meet deadlines, presentation skills, and accurate self-evaluation.

Evaluation is in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy and will be based on this general format:

Short editing assignments 20%
Two major editing assignments 40%
Presentations 10%
Final exam 20%
Professionalism/participation (as defined above) 10%
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will

  1. edit documents for readability, style, substance, and grammatical accuracy
  2. learn and use standard copy-editing and proofreading symbols
  3. practise techniques for copy editing, proofreading, and structural and stylistic editing (on paper and on screen)
  4. practise communicating editing decisions in an effective, professional way
  5. develop an understanding of the editor’s role in the scheduling and production of print and electronic documents
Textbook Materials

Texts will include

  • current editions of editing resources such as the Canadian Press Stylebook and Caps and Spelling
  • coursepack of required readings




Acceptance into the Post-Degree Diploma in Professional Communication 


A minimum of 45 credit hours including a university-transfer course in English, Communications, or Creative Writing with a grade of B or higher


Permission of the Professional Communication program coordinator




Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for CMNS 3200
Simon Fraser University (SFU) No credit
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU CMNS 3XXX (3) or TRU JOUR 3XXX (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) No credit

Course Offerings

Summer 2023