Copy-editing and Proofreading Course at UK Writers College.1.jpg

Copy-editing and Proofreading


Welcome to the Copy-Editing and Proofreading Course at UK Writers College. 

Being a copy-editor and proofreader can be a satisfying job in the writing industry, whether you work as a freelancer from home, or in-house for a company.

This five-month practical course will teach you the basic skills of copy-editing and proofreading so that you can make consistent and confident decisions when correcting texts.

The course covers copy-editing of fiction, non-fiction and academic writing, as well as proofreading of master’s or doctoral dissertations using the APA style guide (the latter is optional).

Students are expected to consult one of the prescribed style guides below for every editing decision they make. The style guides are an additional purchase, and are essential reference material for those students wishing to pursue a career in copy-editing and proofreading. A second-hand edition from the last five years will suffice perfectly well. Please note that we use UK English at the college.


Option 1:

Butcher’s Copy-editing: The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Copy-editors and Proofreaders
Option 2:

The Oxford Style Manual or the New Oxford Style Manual
Option 3:

New Hart's Rules: The Oxford Style Guide this edition does not include a dictionary so you will need to get one separately
Option 4:

Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style (free online, but not as effective or up to date)


“Excellent clarity and details of explanations and feedback. Excellent applicability of course content to industry.”

Fiona Corcoran, Copy-Editing and Proofreading Course


Copy-editing Courses at UK Writers College-595-767-579


Course Details:

  • Cost: £ 395.00
  • Modules: 5 Modules; 100-page course manual consisting mainly of assignments
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace: between three and five months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round via our website
  • Read course feedback here.

Students must complete:


Admission Requirements:

  • Excellent grasp of grammar, punctuation, spelling and English usage (You should consider our Grammar for Writers course if you need to sharpen your grammar skills).
  • Access to one prescribed style guide and dictionary are required. These books are in addition to the course fee. (Butcher’s Copy-editing: The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Copy-editors and Proofreaders, New Hart's Rules:The Oxford Style Guide (e-Book), The Oxford Style Manual; Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, available free of charge at; The Oxford English Dictionary; Collins English Dictionary)
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required
  • Use of Microsoft Word and the 'track changes' function
  • Will require a printer and scanner
  • No previous tertiary qualification required

Tutor for this course:

Di Smith has worked as an editor for over 20 years for various publication houses, including Pan Macmillan, Shuter & Shooter, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press and Flora & Fauna Publications Trust. Di has extensive experience as an author / editor of scientific publications (including works such as Pooley’s Trees of Eastern South Africa, Bird Atlas of Botswana, Zulu Medicinal Plants, among many others).

With a Master’s degree in science, Di has been a key member of the author team who have produced Life Sciences, Natural Sciences and other text books for the education market, shepherding these through multiple curriculum changes over the past few decades. Read more about Di here >

Course Curriculum

Module 1 - An Introduction

  • Introduction to the course
  • Recommended references and resources
  • House style guides
  • Writing exercise 1.1: Typos
  • Writing exercise 1.2: Transpositions
  • Writing exercise 1.3: Spacing errors
  • Writing exercise 1.4: Spelling errors
  • Writing exercise 1.5: Compound nouns
  • Writing exercise 1.6: Punctuation errors
  • Writing exercise 1.7: Correct word usage
  • Writing exercise 1.8: Apostrophes
  • Writing exercise 1.9: Company names
  • Writing exercise 1.10: Bias-free language

Module 2 - The Basics of Copy-editing and Proofreading

  • Introduction
  • What is Copy-editing?
  • What is Proofreading?
  • Writing Exercise 2.1: Correct, flag or query content-related errors in a given text (assessment and feedback task)
  • Writing Exercise 2.2: Correct spelling, punctuation, grammar and formatting errors in a given text (assessment and feedback task)

Module 3 - Copy-editing in Practice

  • Introduction
  • Maintaining a Style Sheet
  • Editing Exercise 3.1: Correct, flag or query content-related errors in a given text
  • Editing Exercise 3.2: Correct spelling, punctuation, grammar and formatting errors in a given text
  • Editing Exercise 3.3: Copy-edit a news snippet from an entertainment magazine on screen
  • Editing Exercise 3.4: Copy-edit a section of fiction text on screen

Module 4 - Proofreading in Practice

  • Introduction
  • Proofreading Symbols
  • Example Hard-copy Proofread
  • Example: Marked-up PDF
  • Editing Exercise 4.1: Proofread a section of text on screen
  • Editing Exercise 4.2: Proofread a section of text on paper

Module 5 - Polishing Your Skills

  • Introduction
  • Editing Exercise 5.1
  • Editing Exercise 5.2
  • Editing Exercise 5.3
  • Editing exercise 5.4
  • Where to look for work
  • What to charge
  • How to invoice



“I really enjoyed the course and found it challenging in a positive way. I have learnt new skills which I can apply to my job.”

Aleksandra Mijovic, Copy-Editing and Proofreading Course




How does the course work?


Detailed class notes covering the content of each module are e-mailed to students. At the end of each module, students will be required to complete several writing exercises. Once the writing assignment has been completed and e-mailed to the lecturer, an assessment and feedback will be sent to the student, and the module will be considered complete.


Conditions of Certification:

Students will receive a UK Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided they meet the following conditions:

  • Students must have completed all 23 assignments.
  • Students are expected to attain a minimum average of 50% for the course.
  • The course must have been completed within five months of registration.
  • Students are expected to attain a minimum average of 50% for the course

Need more advice about the best course for you?

We would love to chat to you if you have any questions about our writing courses.

If you need some advice about the best course or writing field for you, drop us a line or give Koos or Nichola a call at +44 1892 710877. We can tell you about going rates in the field, chance of publishing success and general writing career options both in the UK and internationally.

  • If you have questions about how we work, we have information in our FAQ section and How We Train section.
  • If you want to pay off your course fee, please read the information here.
  • For information on our refund policy, please read our policies here.
  • To register for the course, please click here:


Feedback on this course from past students


“This course was more challenging than I expected. When I told my mother (a sub-editor) this, she replied icily: ‘If it were easy, anyone could do it!"’ while giving me the hairy eyeball.... My tutor was excellent: approachable, prompt and very well restrained.” Daniel Bristow, Copy-editing and Proofreading Course

“I thoroughly enjoyed this challenging course and was sorry to complete it! I had an excellent tutor. He was super quick, useful and gave constructive feedback. I would definitely recommend The Writers’ College to others for its excellent customer service, tutors and courses. Thank you so much.” Annalie Sieberhagen, Proofreading and Copy-editing Course

"This is the second course I've done with the college. The material is thorough and the lecturers are always prompt in their feedback and they always give motivating comments. The course was challenging and I learned a lot about copy-editing and proofreading." Corrina Coetzer, Copy-editing and Proofreading Course

“I really enjoyed the course and found it challenging in a positive way. I have learnt new skills which I can apply in my job and which enhance my performance. [My tutor’s] comments were always fair and communicated in a positive way. The turnaround of results was quick and his explanations clear and to the point. An excellent source of information, education and up-skilling resources for writing professionals in any media.” Aleksandra Mijovic-Cirilovic, Copy-editing and Proofreading

“I enjoyed the course but found it very difficult in the beginning. I did improve as I started to get into it and believe I will improve the more I proofread. My tutor was very kind and understanding – I am an amateur at this and he did not make me feel like I should not be attempting this course. I enjoyed the professionalism and the ease at which the course can be taken.” Lulu Barnard, Copy-editing and Proofreading Course
“Doing the course was an awesome experience. I have learned a lot! My tutor Louis was very good. He gave constructive criticism and was very clear about where I could improve; he was always prompt on replies and feedback. I will definitely consider doing another course – I’m still deciding which one. The course was interesting and not as easy as I thought, but I like a challenge and enjoyed it immensely.” Marli van Rooyen, Proofreading and Copy-Editing


More Testimonials Here



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