Online programs may lead to a master's degree in technical communication or a master's degree in English with a technical writing concentration. Students in these programs get advanced training in rhetoric, editing, and documentation. Students will delve into other media that require technical communication expertise, including radio, print publication, and television. Programs can often be completed in 2 years and usually culminate with a final project. These programs can be completed fully online. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0.
Master of Science in English (Technical Writing Concentration)
To enter into an online Master of Science in English with a technical writing concentration degree program, students must already have earned a bachelor's degree. This distance education credential may take 2-3 years to complete. In general, students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 to be considered for admission.
Some schools offering this distance learning program give students the choice of completing a thesis or a non-thesis option, the latter of which usually involves either completing a research project or taking additional courses. Graduates go on to work as technical writers and editors as well as educators, documentation specialists, or in other related positions.
Examples of the courses offered in this online degree program include:
- Advanced editing
- Professional communication theories
- Usability studies
- Publications management
- Document design
- Digital media
Master of Arts in Technical Communication
A Master of Arts in Technical Communication program focuses on technical writing through the development of information and advanced editing techniques. Students in this online degree program are expected to become proficient in creating effective documentation using visuals. In many cases, students who graduate from this program pursue doctoral studies or teaching opportunities.
Students must meet standard GPA and prerequisite education requirements to be admitted into this program. Examples of prerequisite requirements include a certain number of credits in English courses such as linguistics, speech and mass communications. Applicants may also be asked to supply a resume and/or write an essay detailing their interest and background in technical communication.
Some online technical communication programs offer students the option to complete a concentration focused on a certain industry, such as biomedicine or computer science. Regardless of the specialization choice, common topics covered in this degree program include:
- Manual writing
- Technical editing
- Web design
- Marketing writing
- Information architecture
Typically, the online course curriculum is similar to that of its campus-based counterpart. Distance learning students complete assignments, view lectures, and use other learning aids in an online classroom. Some instructors may encourage or require the use of discussion boards, chat rooms, and video conferencing in order to promote communication among classmates. Although students can access coursework on their own schedules, they must still typically adhere to due dates set by instructors.
Students can complete a fully online Master of Science in English with a technical writing concentration or Master of Arts in Technical Communication to learn about advanced techniques in rhetoric, editing, digital media, web design, and other topics.