Sample Graduate Programs and Other 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.

Graduate Studies

The following is a sampling of colleges and universities that offer graduate programs in technical and scientific communication. Again, notice the range of departments offering graduate studies in this field.

Boston University School of Communication Boston, MA

The M.S. degree at Boston University is given at the completion of a major in science communication. Students are required to take work during three semesters and a summer session.

A statement by Boston University describes the program as providing students with journalistic skills to apply to the communication of scientific, engineering, and technological information. Graduates qualify for positions as reporters; writers and editors for technical, scientific, and business magazines; writers and editors for publishing houses; and communication specialists and administrators.

Some of the courses are: Basics of Science Journalism; Science, Technology, and Public Policy; Instructional Video Tape Production; and Medical and Demographic Reporting.

Illinois Institute of Technology Department of Science Information Chicago, IL

IIT's graduate program in science information is an interdisciplinary curriculum for the management and processing of technical and scientific information. Graduates are able to service the information needs of research and development organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and libraries. Course requirements lie in four areas: information collection, storage, and retrieval; writing, editing, abstracting, and interpreting information; management of information centers; and utilization of library and other information sources.

Miami University Department of English Oxford, OH

Miami University has a program leading to the Master of Technical and Scientific Communication (M.T.S.C). The M.T.S.C. program is professional and practice-oriented to prepare students who specialize in technical, scientific, and other fields to communicate their knowledge in an understandable and usable way. For instance, graduates of the program might write, edit, or supervise the creation of instruction manuals, grant proposals, scientific research reports, or slide-tape shows on technical subjects, to mention just a few of the possibilities.

The interdisciplinary program consists of eight required courses plus three electives. Also required is a one-semester internship in which students work as apprentice technical and scientific communicators in business and government. Students who are already working in the profession may perform the internship with their present employers; those with substantial professional experience may choose to write a thesis in lieu of the internship. Students in the program will prepare many of their assignments in the technical and scientific communication laboratory.

Miami University also has a program, Writing for Business, Industry, and Government, for those who want to receive a B.S. degree in English and pursue a career in writing and editing.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Department of Language, Literature, and Communication Troy, NY

The M.S. program in technical writing and communication seeks to develop communication specialists and to prepare students for further advanced study. Students enter this program with academic backgrounds ranging from education to engineering. Those with undergraduate degrees in the humanities are able to broaden their backgrounds in preparation for a wider variety of professional careers; those with technical or scientific undergraduate degrees are able to polish their communication skills and integrate their undergraduate studies into the field of communication theory.

No matter what their academic backgrounds, students are required to take thirty credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree and can complete the course in one year of full-time study or several years of part-time study. Some of the courses included in this program are: Visual Communication, Film and Fiction; Language:

The Cultural Milieu; Data Processing; Organizational Psychology; and Advertising Strategies and Promotion.

A B.S. degree in communication also is offered at Rensselaer. The program consists of four specializations or options: technical writing, communication theory and research, communicating arts, and literature.

Other Programs

A number of two- and four-year colleges offer courses that give excellent training in professional writing but do not require exclusive specialization in this field:

Air Force Institute of Technology Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH

Several courses in technical communications have been developed: technical writing, including the analysis of the communication situation, selecting, organizing, and presenting technical information, and style and format; technical reports and theses, in which oral reports are covered; technology and management; and seminars in technical communication, with practice in writing technical papers and research projects.

Some courses have live sessions held in on-line classrooms; others are conducted via e-mail. Instructors are all professional writers and instructors who work closely with students. Courses run from four to twelve weeks. Use Keyword: Campus to view the course catalog.
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