Online Technical Writing Undergraduate Degree Program Overviews

Learn about online undergraduate degree programs with technical writing courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

A distance learning undergraduate degree program in technical writing can prepare students for writing about complex technical topics in a clear, concise and accessible manner. Most bachelor's degrees in this field of study take around four years of full-time study to earn, and some may require students to pursue a minor in another field. Aspiring technical writers can also pursue undergraduate certificates or enroll in standalone courses. Coursework in this particular field can often be completed totally online, although some programs do require internships.

Bachelor's Degree in Technical Writing

Like campus-based programs, online bachelor's programs in technical writing are designed to teach students how to prepare formal documents for a variety of audiences in the areas of science, business, the media and even the public. Students access their school's online classroom environment to retrieve assignments and lectures as well as to interact with peers or instructors.

Course Topics

Designed for those wishing to work as technical editors or writers in various industries, some programs offer students the option to take electives geared towards their career interest area. This might include online classes focused on the media, computer programming or biotechnology. Some distance learning programs also require students to complete a minor to gain specialized knowledge in areas like engineering, health, computer technology or environmental science.

In addition to general education coursework, distance learners can expect to take courses in the following subjects:

  • Desktop publishing
  • Technical editing
  • Graphic communications
  • Technical documentation
  • Technical research methods
  • Web writing
  • Software technical writing
  • Project management
  • Proposal writing

Alternative Online Options

In addition to bachelor's degree programs, some schools offer undergraduate certificates as well as individual courses in technical writing through distance learning. Depending on the particular program, these may or may not award college credit.

Continuing Education Classes

Some universities offer online technical writing classes to the public through their continuing education or professional development departments. Delivered entirely via the Internet, many of these technical writing courses are geared toward people who wish to improve their business-related writing. Some of the topics covered in a typical online technical writing class include writing proposals, preparation of technical documents and revision techniques.

These classes are often offered on a rolling basis, so students may start the program when they wish, and they are often equivalent to one undergraduate-level college class; however, they do not always lead to earning college credits.

Certificate Programs

An online technical writing certificate program typically includes three or more separate classes that teach students the various aspects of a career in technical writing. Some of the topics covered in most online technical writing certificate programs include the grammar of technical writing, how to create manuals and the policies and procedures of documenting.

Some online technical writing courses may be on a rolling basis, with classes starting at the student's convenience, while others may entail live online lectures or classes with deadlines. Depending on the program, students in an online technical writing certificate program may have to download specific software to view lectures or participate in class projects. Additional software costs may apply.

For students interested in studying technical writing online, there are a variety of educational options. Experienced writers looking to hone their skills may enroll in a single course or pursue a three-course certificate. Aspiring technical writers may receive a comprehensive introduction to the field, as well as training in the subject they plan to write about, by earning a bachelor's degree.

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