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Sample Undergraduate Programs Offering Technical Writing Programs

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To illustrate the variety of programs, we have randomly selected a number of schools and briefly outlined their technical writing programs on the following pages. Notice the diversity of departments that offer degrees in technical writing.

Undergraduate Programs

Alderson-Broaddus College Humanities Department Philippi, WV

An undergraduate major in humanities with a concentration in technical writing is offered at Alderson-Broaddus. The program prepares writers for business, science, education, and social work. Course work includes technical writing, computer programming, data analysis, and independent study. Also required are at least two terms of practicum experience.

California State University at Fullerton Communications Department Fullerton, CA

At California State University, technical and business communication is one of the seven fields leading to a B.A. degree in communication. In addition to preparing students for media careers, the program emphasizes the broad principles of communications, the function of the mass media in a democratic society, and theories relevant to informing, instructing, and persuading through the media. The following courses are required of all communications majors: Mass Communications in Modern Society, Communications and the Law, and History and Philosophy of American Mass Communications. Other courses include Principles of Communications Research, Persuasive Communications, and World Communications Systems.

Carnegie-Mellon University English Department Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie-Mellon offers a four-year program in technical writing and editing leading to a B.S. degree. The aim is to equip the student with as broad a base as possible for a professional career in technical communication. These are the course requirements and electives: four courses in humanities, two courses in the social sciences, four courses in literature; courses in technical research and report writing, layout and design, and graphic arts; and two courses each in mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Students serve a short internship in industry.

Clarkson College of Technology Department of Humanities Potsdam, NY

The technical writing program at Clarkson consists of a major offered within the department of humanities, leading to a B.S. degree in technical communication. It is offered to students interested in combining the study of science, engineering, or management with a study of communication, publication, and mass media.

Upon graduation, students pursue such careers as technical writing and editing, technical journalism, computer documentation, advertising writing and design, and publication management.

Among the ten courses making up the program, the following are required: Theory of Rhetoric for Business, Science, and Engineering; Business and Industrial Report Writing; Engineering and Scientific Report Writing; Theory and Philosophy of Communication; Business and Professional Speaking; and Technical Communications Internships or Research Projects.

Colorado State University Department of Technical Journalism Fort Collins, CO

The technical writing curriculum at Colorado State is part of the department of technical journalism. According to a course prospectus, technical journalism is the "seeking, interpreting and reporting of information for mass and specialized audiences." CSU journalism students may prepare for jobs with business, industrial, scientific, and popular magazines, and for work in radio, television, documentary films, newspapers, photojournalism, public relations, and technical writing for public and private organizations.

In addition to journalism skills, students in this program gain a broad background and in-depth exposure to a variety of social and natural sciences, the humanities, business, and other elective sub-jects. The department of technical journalism carries on cooperative programs with the journalism profession. Elements of these programs are internships, practicums, and class projects with practicing professionals.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Humanities Cambridge, MA

Four distinct channels of instruction in technical communication leading to a B.S. degree have been designed for the MIT program. These are: elective undergraduate and graduate courses in technical writing and science writing, instruction in technical communication in conjunction with an undergraduate engineering or science course, a concentration of writing courses as part of a B.S. degree in writing and literature, and a continuing education summer program on communicating technical information.

Course requirements and electives are in science and mathematics, plus eight humanities subjects, including six writing courses and literature.

Metropolitan State College School of Liberal Arts Denver, CO

The Communications Multi major Program at Metropolitan State leads to a B.A. degree. The program enables any department to design its own communication system based on its goals, staff, and resources. Core courses are Introduction to Communication Theories and Psychology of Communications or Techniques of Persuasion. The Communications Multi major Program has developed these tracks: Visual Communications, Industrial/Organizational Communication, and Cooperative Program for Careers in Communications.

Michigan Technological University Department of Humanities Houghton, MI

The MTU program for a B.A. in scientific and technical communication requires forty-five hours in the core option, with courses in writing, editing, film and television, and the history and theory of communications. To this option must be added forty-five hours in an area of science and/or technology.

The technological courses are selected from the life sciences, basic science, general engineering, forestry and conservation, and other appropriate areas.

Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Butte, MT

Professional and technical communications is one of three options open for a bachelor's degree under the general title of society and technology. The other two options are technology and public policy, and human values and technology.

The concern of the first option is to train students in written, verbal, and graphic arts in a framework of scientific and engineering problems.

These are some of the principal courses in the communications curriculum: Introduction to Journalism, Mass Media, Elementary Photography, Technical Editing, Printing Processes, Industrial Graphics, and Interpersonal Communication.

Oregon State University Department of Journalism Corvallis, OR

The technical journalism program at OSU combines communication skills and course work in scientific and technical disciplines. In addition to completing twenty-eight to forty hours in journalism, a student must complete one of thirty-one technical minors. The scientific-technical minors include animal science, business administration, fisheries and wildlife, food science and technology, forest management, aerospace studies, computer science, and earth sciences.

University of Wisconsin-Stout Industrial Technology Department Menomonie, WI

This university offers a B.S. degree in industrial technology and technical communication. Courses are required from the graphic arts, speech, and learning resources departments in addition to courses in industrial management. The general requirements for the degree include a broad background in science and mathematics and a basic core in the liberal arts. In the technical writing option, the student can choose among courses in advanced technical writing, journalism, and rhetoric.
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