The Copy-editing and Proofreading Course

Price: R 6 995.00


Copy-editing and Proofreading Course

Become a Professional Copy-Editor
and Proofreader

Learn how to edit and proofread documents like a pro

The Copy-editing and Proofreading Course is for grammar experts who want to work professionally in the editing field.

Are you particular about word choice? Do typos and clunky sentences drive you to distraction? You may have what it takes to be an editor. 

Make a living improving the quality of written content. This practical course will teach you how to copy-edit and proofread fiction, non-fiction and academic writing. 

We’ll help you gain the skills you need to get hired by publishers, business owners and curators of online content. A professional editor will be on hand to guide you every step of the way.

The Copy-editing and Proofreading Course
Gives You...

Expert, Individual Feedback

Get prompt, honest, detailed feedback on every assignment from a professional editor.

No Peer Reviews!

You will only be assessed by your tutor, an expert in their field.

No Automated Marking

We use traditional methods of assessing work, as editors at publishing houses would. No generic feedback!

A Flexible Schedule

Work wherever and whenever you want to. You can easily fit our courses around work and other commitments.

Relevant, Usable Content

Easy-to-digest course notes that capture a lifetime of writing experience, ready for you to apply to your own writing.

Ongoing Assessment

Your editing skills are assessed continuously as your course progresses.

A Comprehensive Toolkit That Provides Hands-On Editorial Training

Master the skills required to run your own editing and proofreading business

Learn how to transform problematic writing into grammatically correct, well-structured and engaging content.

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

Note that this course does not teach the rules of grammar. Rather, students will complete several written assignments of increasing complexity to gain proficiency in the skills of proofreading and copy-editing. Individual feedback will be provided by your tutor upon submission of each assignment.

In this course, you will learn how to:

  • query or correct spelling, grammar and syntactical errors in a given text

  • correct, flag or query content-related errors in a given text

  • proofread hard copy as well as on-screen text

  • embark on a career in copy-editing and proofreading

SA Writers College Certified Course

Additional requirements for this course:

Students are expected to consult one of the these prescribed style guides 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:


The Oxford Style Manual
or the
New Oxford Style Manual

Option 2:


New Hart’s Rules: The Oxford Style Guide. This edition does not include a dictionary, so you will need to buy one separately.

This course precisely provided the challenges I needed to highlight the flaws in my own writing and copy-editing processes. There was never a dull moment! My tutor struck the perfect balance between peer and teacher and was incredibly kind, approachable and motivating. Her feedback was always encouraging and clear. Enjoyable. Tough. Precisely what I needed.

Dené Janse van Rensburg, Copy-Editing and Proofreading Course

Course Overview

Start your course at any time – applications open all year round.


Price includes VAT



The assignments vary in length.



These modules include around 100 pages of course notes.



Work at your own pace – up to a maximum of eight months.
We suggest a minimum of four months.


Working with an individual tutor means you can start the course at any time.


Excellent grammar knowledge is essential.
Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required.
No previous tertiary qualification required.

Copyediting and proofreading course at the Writers College Di Smith tutor

Tutor for this course

Di Smith

Di Smith is an accomplished editor with over 20 years of experience working for various publication houses, including Pan Macmillan, Shuter & Shooter, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press and Flora & Fauna Publications Trust. 

Di has worked as an author/editor on several scientific publications, including Pooley’s Trees of Eastern South AfricaBird Atlas of Botswana and Zulu Medicinal Plants, among many others. She has also edited several novels and works of fiction for Pan MacMillan and Watermark Publishers.

With a master’s degree in science, Di has been a key member of the team of authors who have produced textbooks on the life sciences and natural sciences for the South African education market, shepherding these through multiple curriculum changes over the past few decades.

Di has many years of experience teaching in a variety of state and independent schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She is passionate about encouraging and helping students to develop their skill and precision as credible and sought-after editors of English text.

Course Curriculum

Module 1

An Introduction

  • Introduction to the course
  • Recommended reference works and resources
  • Using ‘Track Changes’
  • Using a house style guide
  • Writing Exercise 1.1
  • Writing Exercise 1.2
  • Writing Exercise 1.3


Module 2

What is Copy-editing?

  • What is copy-editing?
  • Correcting punctuation
  • Writing Exercise 2.1
  • Writing Exercise 2.2
  • Writing Exercise 2.3 


Module 3

Copy-Editing in Practice

  • Explore copy-editing in practice
  • Maintaining a style sheet
  • Correcting spelling, hyphenation and homophones
  • Writing Exercise 3.1
  • Writing Exercise 3.2
  • Writing Exercise 3.3


Module 4

What is Proofreading?

  • Correcting capitalisation
  • Understanding the treatment of names and numbers
  • Writing Exercise 4.1
  • Writing Exercise 4.2
  • Writing Exercise 4.3


Module 5

Proofreading in Practice

  • Explore proofreading in practice
  • Correcting quotations, references and abbreviations
  • Writing Exercise 5.1
  • Writing Exercise 5.2
  • Writing Exercise 5.3

Module 6

Study Common Grammar Gremlins

  • Correcting grammar errors
  • Writing Exercise 6.1
  • Writing Exercise 6.2
  • Writing Exercise 6.3


Module 7

Facts and Format

  • Correcting factual errors
  • Correcting formatting errors
  • Writing Exercise 7.1
  • Writing Exercise 7.2
  • Writing Exercise 7.3

Module 8

Copy-editing Assignments

  • Writing Exercise 8.1
  • Writing Exercise 8.2
  • Writing Exercise 8.3


Module 9

Proofreading Assignments

  • Where to look for work
  • What to charge
  • How to invoice
  • Writing Exercise 9.1
  • Writing Exercise 9.2
  • Writing Exercise 9.3


Module 10

Choose one of the following

  • Hardcopy Proofreading
  • 3 Tasks


  • Proofreading Academic Theses
  • 3 Tasks


  • Substantive Editing
  • 3 Tasks

*Students may choose to do more than one elective. These will be invoiced separately.

What Our Students Say

Monica HurnCopy-Editing and Proofreading Course
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I thoroughly enjoyed this course because I love reading, researching facts and correcting errors! It ticked all my boxes as far as learning is concerned. I had a wonderful experience with Di. She was always positive and I loved the personal notes she added to the automated corrections of my errors. She was also very responsive to my emails and quick to mark my modules. I had a very positive experience. I think if you are really interested in improving your writing ability, then The Writers College is definitely the way to go.
Petra JerlingCopy-Editing and Proofreading Course
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I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Di was excellent in every regard. I don’t know if I would have persevered if it wasn’t for her positive feedback and motivational comments. Excellent value for money, with proper course material and qualified, positive tutors.
Catherine LaingCopy-Editing and Proofreading Course
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The course provided a good overview of the topic and outlined sufficient practical material. Di provided an excellent service and was extremely responsive to assignment submissions and queries. She provided clear explanations as to her comments and was greatly encouraging. I appreciated her valuable input. I’ve had a very positive experience with The Writers College. The flexibility offered by being online, as well as the generous timeline within which to complete the course, greatly suited me. There are other courses that I have my eye on, so I’ll be back soon I'm sure.
Isabel ThomsonCopy-Editing and Proofreading Course
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For someone who has not done any studying in many years, I found the course easy to follow. Di was very professional and helpful and her replies were quick. My experience at The Writers College was a great one and I would most certainly recommend the course.
Lisa VisserCopy-Editing and Proofreading Course
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The course exceeded my expectations. The step-by-step guidance was clear and useful. Di was gracious and generous with the help she provided. She answered my queries promptly, clearly and politely. Her feedback encouraged me to want to do my best. The Writers College is an efficient and professional organisation.
Rosalind MurrayCopy-Editing and Proofreading Course
Read More

Great overall experience! I could comfortably complete the modules in the time frame while still working a full-time job. Always received timely and comprehensive feedback from Di.

Get These Additional Benefits

Lifetime Course Access

Benefit from free lifetime access to future course updates and access to our writing resources.

Join a Community of Writers

You will have access to our friendly Facebook community, daily writing tips and writing inspiration.

500+ Bonus Articles on Our Blog

A superb, constantly updated resource with articles on writing and interviews with writers.

Work at Your Own Pace

Our courses work around you. You can pace your course around your busy life.

Work Opportunities

Top students are invited to join our writers and editors for hire service.

Be the First to Know About Writing Competitions

We'll help you keep up to date with the latest competition announcements

Risk-Free 100% Money-Back Guarantee

We are so confident that you will love your course that if you’re not 100% satisfied with the quality of our training, simply ask for a refund within 30 days.

Complete the Application Form to Enrol on the Copy-editing and Proofreading Course

You will receive an approval email and invoice within one working day.

*If the application form doesn’t submit, please contact admin and we’ll assist you.

Questions? We've Got Answers

Detailed course notes covering the content of each module are emailed to you. At the end of each module, you will be required to complete several writing exercises. Once the writing assignment has been completed and emailed to your tutor, you will receive an assessment and feedback, and the module will be considered complete.


Absolutely. You have direct communication with your tutor for the duration of the course. The more questions you ask, the more you will get out of the course.

You will get lifetime access to the course, and you’ll benefit from all future updates and improvements to the course.

For the majority of our courses, only your tutor will see your work. Your work will remain completely private unless you get it published. In the journalism courses, your work might be published in the public domain, but you do have the final say as to whether or not it is published.

You will receive a Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided you meet the following conditions: 

  • You must have completed all assignments.

  • A minimum average of 50% must be achieved.

  • The course must have been completed within eight months of registration.

  • 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.)

  • Computer skills as well as email and Internet access are required.

  • Use of Microsoft Word and the Track Changes function.

  • A printer and a scanner or camera are required only if you do the Hardcopy elective in Module Ten.
  • No previous tertiary qualification is required.

Because you will work with an individual tutor, you can apply for a course and start as soon as you want to. There are no specific start dates as would be the case with a traditional college.

An application is usually approved within one working day. Once we see proof of payment, your course will start.

You could be starting your course today!

  • Reading Time: 20 hours

  • Editing Time: Up to 30 hours

You have eight months to complete the course (and an extra 21 days if your course runs over the Christmas and New Year break).

You are welcome to finish the course sooner if you want to, but we wouldn’t want you to rush the process too much!

Once your application has been approved, you will receive notice of approval and an invoice via email. As soon as we see proof of payment, you will receive the first module. We will also send you your tutor’s email address and your login details. Your tutor will also be in touch to welcome you.

Any work you create on our courses is owned by you. We will never make a claim to anything you produce. We follow the rule that copyright subsists with the creator (you).

'The course opened up a whole new world for me - a challenge that I enjoyed tremendously. Di was very helpful.’

Stefenie Kruger, Copy-editing and Proofreading Course

Got More Questions?

We would love to help you choose the best course for you. Tell us what style of writing you want to develop and we'll give you some course options to consider.