Courses Overview

Courses in the certificate program are designed to equip students with a theoretical framework for doing the work of a technical writer in a specific medium or genre while also giving them practical skills them need to succeed in that work. Each course is designed with a focus on production and students spend a good deal of time each week producing content for the course. 

For Fall of 2023, we're workign to refresh and relaunch the courses for the program. Tentative program changes can be found below.

Core Courses

We are in the process of regularizing the courses down to a set 4-course rotation, allowing students to graduate in one calendar year, instead of a calendar year plus one semester. The legacy courses are listed below alongside tentative descriptions of the new courses.

Tentative Course Updates

ENGL 5503, Style and Context for Technical Writers (Summer Semester)

ENGL 5523. Technical Writing and User Experience for the Web (Fall Semester)

ENGL 5513, Design, Editing, and Publication for Tech Writers (Spring Semester)

ENGL 5533, Technical Writing Praxis. (Summer Semester)

Legacy Courses

ENGL 5513 Document Design for Technical Writers
In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of good document design and effective document creation workflows from the perspective of a practicing professional writer. During the course they’ll focus on creating documents that share complex technical information clearly, effectively, and appropriately for a given situation. Work in the course will include Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Starting in Fall 2017, guidance on using open source software alternatives will also be featured. No previous expertise needed.

ENGL 5523 Technical Writing for Online Audiences
Students in this course will learn the theoretical and practical skills needed to put together effective online texts that fit the genre expectations of a given publishing situation. As part of this process, students will learn CSS and HTML from a writer’s perspective, specifically focusing on how they can use the web to effectively present written content. Starting in Fall 2018 the course will feature a persistent focus on the way social media impacts web writing. No previous expertise required.

ENGL 5533 Technical Writing Praxis
This topics course melds a broad introduction to technical writing theory with the application of that theory to a specific content area. In the first half of the course students will study some of the major strands of thought in technical and professional writing and cover the rhetorical use of grammar and style. In the second half, they’ll apply the knowledge to the course’s chosen topic, with potential topics including grant and proposal writing, writing in the sciences, and writing in organizational settings.

Elective Courses

ENGL 5963 Advanced Studies in Technical Writing and Public Rhetorics
In this topics course, students will be able to focus on a specific topic or area of study in Technical Writing and Public Rhetorics. Topic will vary depending on student interest and faculty expertise. Current and planned offerings include the following subjects:

  • Technical Editing
  • User Experience Design

Schedule of Offerings

All courses, unless otherwise noted, are offered online asynchronously.

Fall 2022
ENGL 5523, Technical Writing for Online Audiences: Sustainable Content and User Experience Design for Tech Writers

Spring 2023
ENGL 5963, Design, Editing, and Publication for Tech Writers

Summer 2023

ENGL 5503 Style and Context for Technical Writers (Summer 1st 5-week)

ENGL 5533, Technical Writing Praxis (Summer 2nd 5-week)

Fall 2023

ENGL 5523, Technical Writing and User Experience for the Web

Spring 2024

ENGL 5513, Design, Editing, and Publication for Tech Writers