Copyediting 2: Headway

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is for people who have taken an introductory course in copyediting and builds upon the skills and knowledge you gain in Copyediting 1: Introduction. Copyediting 2: Headway expands your knowledge and understanding of principles and practice.

This course requires you to understand the basics of copyediting as taught in Copyediting 1: Introduction, including:

  • the types of error a copyeditor is expected to spot and correct, and how to correct them efficiently using Microsoft Word Track Changes
  • some of the common editorial conventions in British English, how they may differ in US English, and how to apply them
  • a basic understanding of how to approach elements such as notes, references and illustrations
  • an understanding of how to exercise judgement in how much to change and how to communicate effectively with the author regarding those changes
  • understanding and implementing the brief provided by a client
  • where copyediting fits into a variety of publication processes.

If you are unsure about any of these aspects, then you are strongly advised to take Copyediting 1: Introduction before attempting this course.

You will also need:

  • fluency in English
  • good knowledge of English grammar
  • wide general knowledge
  • familiarity with the functions of word processing programs – this course assumes use of MS Word (Office 365)
  • familiarity with basic markup tools for PDFs (this course assumes knowledge of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC).

While this course provides helpful links to information on these aspects, it does not teach the rules of grammar or spelling, or how to use software.

At the end of this course, you will not have sufficient training to start work. We suggest that you consolidate your skills with Copyediting 3: Progress.

Course description

This course consolidates the concepts introduced in Copyediting 1: Introduction and considers further technicalities surrounding the editing of images. An efficient approach to editing notes and references is also given. The exercises cover a variety of texts, from public information to academic books, and give a lot of scope for practice.

Copyediting 2: Headway is an assessed course. Two upgrade points are awarded for completing the course, and a further three for passing the final assignment. Achieving a pass indicates that you are ready, should you want to, to move on to the more advanced Copyediting 3: Progress.

What you should know after the course

After taking this course you should be confident in your knowledge of how to deal with more complex material that is routinely encountered in copyediting. As a result of your tutor’s marks and comments, you should also know exactly where you need to work hardest to improve.

Curriculum snapshot

I now feel far more confident in my abilities to copyedit a range of materials. Having feedback and support from an experienced professional has been invaluable.


I found it much more challenging than I had expected, but I have gained a lot of confidence and learned so much. The advice and support of my tutor has also been invaluable.


The course has been very useful in understanding that copyediting is not just about technically correcting the text, but it is equally important to understand what the author is trying to convey.


Availability, prices and upgrade points

Price (members)  
Price (non-members)  
CIEP upgrade points 5
  Book now

Other price discounts are available. See the fees page.

E-learning courses take between 10 and 45 hours to complete, depending on the course, but you have access to the course materials for 6 months.

Prices are exclusive of tax, which will be added automatically at your local rate at checkout.

E-learning course structure

Time allowed for access: 6 months CIEP upgrade points: completion 2; pass 5
Approximate study time needed to complete the course: 20–25 hours

This is an assessed course. You will be assigned a tutor who will be available for up to 1 hour of support (usually by email), and the tutor will also mark and provide feedback on three assignments.

The first two assignments are marked so that both you and your tutor can assess whether you are at about the right level for the course (if you are struggling, you can put the course ‘on hold’ and come back to it later, after more training or experience). See also ’Time management’ below.

A further two exercises can be self-assessed against model answers.

Unit 1 reminds you of the main tasks a copyeditor needs to perform and how to present typescripts in a clear and helpful way for the typesetter.

Unit 2 covers how to deal with displayed matter such as headings, lists and quotations from other works.

Unit 3 explores the concept of editorial style in more depth, including how this can differ between British and US English.

Unit 4 explains three commonly used referencing systems and explores how to ensure you apply these correctly and consistently to a text.

Unit 5 examines the challenges posed by editing different types of artwork and the need to work systematically when editing these features.

Your overall performance on the final assignment determines whether you have passed the course. When you have finished the course you can download and print a certificate that states either that you have passed the course – with merit or with distinction if you do well – or, if you are unlucky enough not to have passed, that you have completed it.

Time management

  • When you are planning your coursework, allow time for your tutor to respond to any queries you raise and for your three assignments to be marked before the course expiry date.
  • Tutors usually respond to ad hoc queries about the course within a day or so.
  • All CIEP tutors are also full-time editors, so they are unlikely to be able to mark your work immediately.
  • Tutors will guarantee to mark and return your assignments within three weeks of you submitting them, except in exceptional circumstances. In such circumstances, your tutor will contact you to explain the delay.
  • Marking turnaround is usually considerably shorter than three weeks.
  • We strongly recommend that you wait for the return of your marked work before attempting the next section of the course.

Book now All courses