English (MA)

Technical Communication

The graduate program in English: Technical Communication prepares students to be professional information developers, technical or professional writers, and editors who are skilled at using the written and spoken word, along with visuals, to effectively inform and instruct a wide range of audiences. Graduates typically pursue work in industry, teaching opportunities, or doctoral studies. All the coursework may be completed in residence or online.The core curriculum includes a combination of practical, skills-oriented coursework (manuals writing, web design, and technical editing) and theory-based coursework (technical and scientific literature, rhetorical theory, visual rhetoric).

Program Requirements

Common Core

Editing the content, organization, format, style, and mechanics of documents; managing the production cycle of documents, and discovering and learning microcomputer and software applications for technical editing tasks.

Prerequisites: none

Rhetorical theory applied to technical documents, including an examination of how workplace cultures shape writing assumptions and approaches.

Prerequisites: none

Research/Methods Course(s)

Seminar for students engaged in conducting a major research project in the technical communication field. Emphasizes theoretical approaches to research, development and implementation of the individual research project, and presentation and publication opportunities in professional writing.

Prerequisites: none

Restricted Electives

Documentation - Choose 4 - 8 Credit(s).

Introduction to the conventions and strategies for publishing on-line documentation and for managing on-line documentation projects. Topics include analyzing users and tasks, designing and writing documents to be published on-line, testing on-line documents, and managing on-line documentation projects.

Prerequisites: none

Creating both on-line and hard copy documentation for products, with emphasis on computer software and hardware documentation for users. Attention also to policies and procedures as written for a range of uses, e.g. employee handbooks, manufacturing processes, and usability testing.

Prerequisites: none

Internship - Choose 3 - 6 Credit(s).

On-site field experience, the nature of which is determined by the specific needs of the student's program option.

Prerequisites: none

General Electives - Choose 12-18 credits (APP option), 11-16 credits (Capstone Course option), or 7-12 credits (Thesis option)

Addresses theories of design and teaches students design strategies in typography, graphics, tables, color, and information architecture that will subsequently be applied to documents.

Prerequisites: none

Introduces students to theories of usability and teaches students various methods to evaluate design for usability including heuristic evaluations, card-sorting, task-based evaluations, and fieldwork.

Prerequisites: none

Students learn how to research and write technical information for multiple cultures, both locally and internationally.

Prerequisites: none

This course is designed to introduce students to technical project management. This introduction is achieved through participation in a simulated project management experience. Assignments include standard documentation associated with project management and reflective writing.

Prerequisites: none

Analysis and training focused on concepts and practices of visual design as they relate to technical and professional communication.

Prerequisites: none

Topics in theory and practice of technical communication. Hands-on course which implements the theories discussed. May be repeated with different subject matter.

Prerequisites: none

Overview of publishing and typography, conventions of desktop publishing, and hardware and software application tools for desktop publishing. Students need not have prior experience with DTP, but some word processing and microcomputer experience will be helpful. Course will meet in both PC and Macintosh labs.

Prerequisites: none

Practice in writing various types of reports for a variety of purposes and audiences. Includes study of primary and secondary research methods.

Prerequisites: none

Introduction to the conventions and strategies for publishing on-line documentation and for managing on-line documentation projects. Topics include analyzing users and tasks, designing and writing documents to be published on-line, testing on-line documents, and managing on-line documentation projects.

Prerequisites: none

Creating both on-line and hard copy documentation for products, with emphasis on computer software and hardware documentation for users. Attention also to policies and procedures as written for a range of uses, e.g. employee handbooks, manufacturing processes, and usability testing.

Prerequisites: none

Topics relating to rhetorical theory in the workplace, including examination of how workplace cultures shape writing assumptions and approaches. May be repeated with different subject matter.

Prerequisites: none

Technical communication course designed specifically for STEM industry professionals or students in PSM programs; emphasis on development of technical communication skills and expertise needed for business- and industry-specific documents and presentations for internal or external audiences.

Prerequisites: none

Examination of instructional design principles and models, including research in theory and practice of instructional design for technical communicators in academic and industry settings.

Prerequisites: none

Focused study on a topic not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

Prerequisites: none

Analysis of fiction and literary nonfiction that treats technical and scientific themes.

Prerequisites: none

Theory and practice in the development and production of proposals, focusing on the researching, writing, and management of proposals by technical communicators.

Prerequisites: none

User experience is a more holistic, contextualized approach to understanding an individuals encounter with technologies, systems, and documents. The course addresses theory, research findings, case studies, and methods for conducting user experience research.

Prerequisites: none

Capstone Course

Choose 1 - 3 Credit(s). Students choosing Thesis (Eng 699) must complete at least 3 credits.

Independent capstone experience, focusing on secondary research sources; paper may have other guidelines specific to the program option.

Prerequisites: none

Capstone course in which students research and write an article-length document that may serve as the basis of a professional publication or presentation. All documents will go through a formal review process including peer review, SME review, and editorial review.

Prerequisites: none

Independent capstone experience, guidelines of which are determined by the requirements of a particular program option.

Prerequisites: none