The Certificate in Professional Communication program contains six courses that focus on developing a student’s prowess in communication. The program prepares students to be both industry leaders and scholars by strengthening their public speaking, persuasion, negotiation, technical writing, and leadership abilities.

Quick facts
  • Two-year certificate program
  • You cannot begin this program directly from high school
  • Courses offered only in person in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Program can be completed concurrently alongside other degree programs

What you will learn

The Certificate in Professional Communication (CPC) program prepares students for a professional career by cultivating sound communicative judgment in professional practice.

All students in the certificate program must have completed previous humanities or rhetorical communication coursework. Courses in the certificate program build on the theoretical foundation established in humanities and rhetorical communication. They explore the persuasive dimensions of a range of professional communication practices. 

Many of the courses in the certificate program can also be used to satisfy degree requirements. Please speak with an academic advisor to see what options may be available to you if you are completing this program concurrently with another degree program.

Course Course description
RCM 400:
Rhetorical Theory and Practice of Persuasion

A survey of the aims and scope of rhetoric, the art of persuasion, as it is currently understood and practiced. Develops skill in the use and detection of rhetorical devices and methods, including understanding how rhetors adapt to the demands of various audiences; what makes messages effective, engaging and convincing; how situation influences the positioning of a message; and how credibility is established.

RCM 401:
Oral Rhetoric / Public Speaking

Focuses on application of the fundamentals of rhetoric to oral presentations. This is not primarily a course in performance; thus, in addition to developing skills in delivery, it will concentrate on applying theoretical understanding in four other areas; understanding and adapting to audience; using rhetorical strategies to develop a well-structured, engaging, and convincing message; accommodating to situational constraints; and establishing speaker credibility.

RCM 495:
Rhetorical Peer Mentorship

In this course, students will further develop their understanding of rhetorical and learning theory, and will work collaboratively, under the supervision of the instructors, to apply the rhetorical skills they have learned in this class, and other Rhetorical Communication classes, in order to complete a capstone-mentorship project.

The Course and Program Catalogue has the complete and official listing of required classes and their descriptions for this program.

Student must select and complete three of the following courses:

Course Course description
RCM 402
Interpersonal Communication and Rhetoric
A survey of foundational concepts in interpersonal communication. Topics include the nature of communication, self-concept, face and politeness, ethics, listening, context and situation, human motivation, identity formation, and persuasion. The course will incorporate rhetorical as well as social-scientific theories, and its goal will be to encourage students to think about the dynamic and shifting nature of human interaction, and to develop strategies for managing their own interactions particularly in their professional relationships.
RCM 404
Leadership as Communication
Examines leadership as communication, and in particular as a form of rhetorical activity. Drawing on both traditional and contemporary scholarship, it will combine theoretical understanding with practical strategies for improving skill across several dimensions of the leadership dynamic: interpersonal, rhetorical, social, ethical, and political. Through reading, discussion, and a variety of practical case studies and exercises, students will be challenged to develop their ability to guide, motivate, and support others toward common goals. Topics include leadership as rhetoric; the ethics of leadership; face-saving, conflict resolution, and listening; community and team-building; group loyalty and identity formation; and persuasion.
RCM 406
Studies in Communication Series
The series will comprise a collection of specialized courses in specific branches or areas of communication, which will vary with each offering. Some possible topics include: Negotiation Skills, Communication Theory, Nonverbal Communication, Propaganda Analysis, Advanced Grammar, Persuasion in Popular Culture, Public Address, Media Critique, Communication and Identity. A unique course description will be created for each course offering.
RCM 407
Rhetorical Editing
Is an exploration of the structure of present-day English as spoken and written in contemporary Canada, with an emphasis on the idea of "standard" English in a professional context. Students will acquire the necessary technical vocabulary to discuss and critique issues of acceptable style and usage in their speech and writing, particularly with respect to word formation, sentence structure, and the often difficult relationship between sound and spelling. The course will provide students with an awareness of the linguistic options available to them in the practice of clear and effective communication.
RCM 408
Rhetorical Composition: Writing for the Public
The written word is the basic currency of both the academic and industrial economies. Not only must professionals write reports and proposals for communities of their peers, but they must also communicate often with non-specialist audiences. This course equips students with classical and contemporary rhetorical principles in order to help them appreciate the purpose, audience, and constraints of the rhetorical situation. It then provides them with various contexts for practicing descriptive, expository, narrative, and persuasive elements of academic, professional, and technical writing, all of which types they may expect to encounter during the course of their careers as students and professionals.
RCM 409
Negotiation as Rhetorical Practice

Using rhetorical theories and methodologies, as well as organizational models, this course introduces students to effective negotiation as rhetorical practice. Designed to foster a rhetorical understanding of the most fundamental elements of the negotiation process, the course teaches theories of identification and common ground as well as persuasion, power, and ethics. It focuses on the tools necessary to examine communication processes and motivations that underpin the principles of negotiation, and it teaches how to do a rhetorical analysis of the negotiation context and audience as well as how to do strategic planning. The course also recognizes the interrelationship between language theories and the ability to frame negotiation communication.

RCM 410
Rhetoric of Science and Technology

Rhetoric of science is a discipline that explores the persuasive elements of scientific discourse. Initially inspired by Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, rhetoricians of science investigate the communicative processes through which scientific facts are determined and disseminated among scientists, government agencies, and the general public. In this course, students not only explore the genres and conventions that are used to communicate scientific knowledge among various audiences, but they also have the opportunity to reflect on and enhance their own ability to communicate science. Readings will include selections from foundational theorists and rhetoricians of science, as well as journalists and science fiction authors. Case studies drawn from contemporary, and possibly historical, scientific discussions and controversies will complement more theoretical readings.

RCM 498
Special Topics

Offered occasionally to cover, in depth, topics that are not thoroughly covered in regularly offered courses.

The Course and Program Catalogue has the complete and official listing of required classes and their descriptions for this program.


The Certificate in Professional Communication offers crucial skills to anyone who aspires to leadership positions or entrepreneurial enterprise. The courses are all designed to grow the skills people need so that they have successful and satisfying careers.

Tuition estimates

Note: if you are taking this certificate concurrently with a degree program, there will be no additional student fees. Tuition will still be assessed for each course. With proper program planning, you will use the communication classes towards your degree and you will already be paying student fees as part of your studies.

Canadian students International students
Tuition $758.70 per class $2,276.10 per class
Fees $988 per year $988 per year

Tuition will vary depending on the type and number of classes you take in a year. This estimate reflects a typical amount you could expect to pay per class (2021-2022 Canadian dollar rates).
Fees are used to fund specific student benefits, including health, vision and dental coverage, a bus pass, recreational programs and fitness centre access. This estimate reflects the price you would pay if you are a full-time student.
The cost of books and supplies varies widely depending on the courses you choose. It is recommended that you budget between $150-$250 for each class.

Admission requirements and deadlines

Admission requirements

All applicants to the Certificate in Professional Communication must meet the following requirements in order to be considered for admission:

  1. Completed at least 60 credit units of post-secondary coursework
  2. 60% average in the most recent 18 credit units of completed coursework
  3. Completion of RCM 300.3 or an approved equivalent
  4. Proficiency in English

Applicants must have completed RCM 300.3 or an approved equivalent in order to be eligible for admission into the certificate program. Approved equivalencies include a minimum of six credit units in:

  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level ANTH
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level ARTH
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level CMRS
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level DRAM
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level ENG
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level HIST
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level INDG
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level IS
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level LING
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level PHIL
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level POLS
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level PSY
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level RLST
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level SOC
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level WGST
  • Select CLAS Courses: CLAS 110.3, CLAS 111.3, CLAS 203.3, CLAS 220.3, CLAS 225.3, CLAS 228.3, CLAS 240.3, CLAS 242.3, CLAS 252.3, CLAS 259.3, CLAS 298.3, CLAS 299.3, CLAS 398.3, CLAS 399.3, CLAS 499.6


Start term Application deadline
Sept. 2022
June 30, 2022

Ready to apply?

Complete the online application form by the required application deadline.

For applicants new to USask, a non-refundable application fee of $90 CDN is required before your application will be processed. Current USask students do not need to pay an application fee.

Explore related programs

If you are looking for graduate-level (Masters or Ph.D.) programs, please consult our graduate students' website.


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