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Professional Editing

Course Code: CMNS 3200
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Communications
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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

Course Content

1. Editing Fundamentals

Working with documents on paper and/or on screen, students will

  • learn how copy editing, proofreading, and stylistic editing differ from each other and from other types of editing
  • examine documents for spelling, grammar, readability, clarity, and appropriateness
  • check material for general accuracy and consistency of content
  • perform minor rewrites of material, retaining 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
  • become familiar with a variety of dictionaries, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each
  • 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
  • become familiar with basic print and production terminology and tools
  • use standard proofreading symbols, tool, and techniques to indicate changes to be made in print and electronic documents

Methods of Instruction

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 will be based on this general format:

Short editing assignments 20%
Major copy-editing assignment 20%
Major proofreading assignment 25%
Final exam 25%
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 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

course prerequisites

Acceptance into the Post-Degree Diploma in Professional Communication 

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

or permission of the Professional Communication program coordinator



curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.