Those in the field of technical communication strive to communicate information effectively to a targeted audience. Earning a graduate degree might provide students with the necessary perspectives to be successful in this field. Students might consider earning a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in technical communications. Learn more about five schools with programs, below.
Technical Writing Graduate Programs in Texas
Texas Tech University
At Texas Tech, in Lubbock, students can pursue a PhD in Technical Communications and Rhetoric. A focus area in technical communication is available. Research methods is significant emphasis of the program. The degree can be completed on campus, or through an online program. To earn the degree, students will be required to complete 60 credit hours, a qualifying examination, and a dissertation comprised of original research. Students may choose a minor in a complementary subject area.
Texas Tech also offers an MA in Technical Communication. The program can be completed on-campus or online. Students will be required to complete 36 credit hours to earn the degree, and students must assemble a portfolio of their work. Students may complete an internship as a component of their degree. The Media Lab offers space to collaborate on the integration of new media literacy within technical communications.
Texas State University
Texas State University, in San Marcos, offers an MA in Technical Communication. The 30-credit program is offered on-campus with evening classes, or online. The department offers a user experience (UX) research lab, for students to see how readers or users would interact with a product they create. Scholarships or graduate assistantships may be available to assist with funding, and a travel fund supports students in attending professional conferences.
University of Houston
At the University of Houston, students can pursue an MS in Technical Communication. The program requires 33 credit hours of study. A capstone course requires the production of a portfolio containing five major projects. Concentrations are available in areas including Science and Medical Writing, Instructional Design, and Usability Research. Students can also pursue certificates in Plain English or Medical and Applied Health Communication.
University of Texas El Paso
At the University of Texas El Paso, those who are interested in technical writing can earn a graduate certificate in technical and professional writing. The program is offered online. It requires twelve credits to complete. Professionals working in any field who wish to improve their communication skills are encouraged to apply.
University of North Texas
Students can choose to pursue an MA in Professional and Technical Communication at the University of North Texas, in Denton. Students are required to specialize in a technical cognate field. Those pursuing the degree can choose a 36-credit hour program with a written exam; or a 30-hour program with a thesis. A graduate certificate in teaching technical writing is also available.
Prospective students must be aware of the admission requirements for the graduate programs to which they plan to apply. Typically, candidates may be requested to provide transcripts, a personal statement, references, and a resume. Writing samples or portfolios, focused on analytical or functional writing, are usually a component of admission. Some universities may require GRE scores to be submitted. Work experience in professional communication may strengthen an application.
To earn a graduate degree in technical communication, students should expect to pursue coursework designed to develop their skills in communicating with a range of audiences. At the master's level there is frequently a capstone or portfolio requirement, while students pursuing a doctoral degree will likely be expected to prepare a dissertation. Internships for course credit can assist students in gaining hands-on writing experience. Read on for some descriptions of courses commonly encountered in graduate technical writing programs.
Technical Communication Ethics
A wide range of legal and ethical questions may arise within professional technical communication contexts. This course may explore the application of ethical principles to real-world issues. Specific attention could be paid to issues including freedom of speech, copyright, and privacy.
Research Methods in Technical Writing
Those employed as technical writers must have solid skills in qualitative and quantitative research. Within this course, students may have the opportunity to use primary and secondary sources to conduct research data. Students could review published research papers and conduct their own targeted study.
Technical writers must be proficient in editing, both to finalize their own documents and review the work of others. This course might provide information on proofreading and copy editing techniques that are commonly used in industry. Proper grammar and punctuation are often components of an editing course.
Grant and Proposal Writing
Preparing proposals and grants are frequent tasks for professionals working in the field of technical writing. This class may provide students with information about the process of identifying funding sources and writing grant proposals for non-profit and other organizations. A hands-on project may allow students to use these tools to research and prepare such a proposal.
This course may provide an introduction to writing for health care organizations or other medical agencies. Students might develop communications including forms, research articles, health education or public health campaign documents, and grants or proposals. Group projects working with a medical organization may be a component of the course.
Teaching Technical Writing
This course may prepare students to teach technical writing at the high school or undergraduate level. Students could learn how to prepare a syllabus and course objectives. The genres of technical writing and how they should be incorporated into a class might be discussed.
Technical writers work in a wide range of industries, focusing on making highly technical information understandable to users. Graduate students will take courses to hone their writing techniques, prepare a thesis or portfolio, and perhaps intern at a company in their industry of choice, in order to earn a graduate degree in this field.