Technical and Professional Communication Certificate Program

Commercial, academic, governmental, and non-profit organizations employ technical and professional communicators as writers, editors, public relations experts, information designers, documentation and project managers, and mixed media creators.

The technical and professional communicator is, first and foremost, an accomplished writer who produces clear, precise, timely, and effective prose. However, technical communicators are also adept at designing information layouts, integrating images with text, working in teams, translating technical concepts for diverse audiences, and engaging with users to ensure the usability of documents. Individuals interested in technical and professional communication enjoy the process of continually learning and sharing information with others.

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To complete the Technical and Professional Communication Certificate, students must complete 7 courses (28 units). We further recommend that students continue to take advanced science, math, engineering, and business coursework in their areas of interest.

Prerequisites: Completion of GE Area A3

Core Courses (16 units):

English 221—Introduction to Technical and Professional Communication

English 317—Technical Editing

English 319—Information Design and Production

English 421—Advanced Topics in Technical and Professional Communication

Practicum (4 units):

Internship, Independent Study, or Senior Project related to technical or professional communication (requires approval of the program director)

Electives (8 units; select 2 courses):

Elective courses will provide additional instruction in technical and professional communication and/or provide additional information about the interdisciplinary contexts that students will encounter as technical and professional communicators.

AGB 260: Agribusiness Data Literacy

AGC 205: Agricultural Communications
AGC 301: New Media Communication Strategies in Agriculture

BUS 476: Leading Social Innovation in Organizations

COMS 217: Small Group Communication                                  
COMS 301: Business and Professional Communication                        
COMS 316:  Intercultural Communication (D5)                           
COMS 317: Technology and Human Communication                                   
COMS 387: Sports Communication (see also JOUR 387)                            
COMS 390: Environmental Communication                               
COMS 395: Science Communication                             
COMS 413: Advanced Organizational Communication                                   
COMS 418: Health Communication                               
COMS 422: Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine                                  
COMS 458: Solving Big World Challenges (see also BUS 458)

CSC 232: Computer Programming for Scientists and Engineers
CSC 320: Practical Computer Security for Everyone

ENGL 220: Introduction to Writing Studies
ENGL 310: Corporate Communication
ENGL 312: Translingual Rhetoric Inquiry and Writing
ENGL 316 Writing Sustainability
ENGL 368: Theory and Practice of Peer-to-Peer Writing Instruction
ENGL 380: Literary Themes
ENGL 391: Topics in Applied Linguistics
ENGL 411: New Media Arts 1
ENGL 412: New Media Arts 2
ENGL 467: Topics in Rhetoric and Writing

ES 350: Gender, Race, Culture, Science, and Technology (Area F) (see also WGQS 350)

ISLA 303: Values and Technology (C4)
ISLA 320: Topics and Issues in Values, Media, and Culture
ISLA 411: Technology and Community Engagement (see also LAES 411)

JOUR 312: Public Relations
JOUR 387: Sports Communication (see also COMS 387)
JOUR 418: Copyright, Trademark, Patent and Commercial Speech in Digital Media

KINE 324: Sports, Media, and American Popular Culture

LAES 411: Technology and Community Engagement (see also ISLA 411)

ME 234: Philosophy of Design

PHIL 321: Phil of Science (C4)
PHIL 323: Ethics, Science, and Technology (C3)
PHIL 335: Social Ethics
PHIL 337: Business Ethics (C4)

PSC 391: Appropriate Technology for the World’s People: Development

RPTA 450: Resource and Grant Development

STAT 218: Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
STAT 365: Statistical Communication

WGQS 305: Feminist Methodologies
WGQS 350: Gender, Race, Culture, Science, and Technology (Area F) (see also ES 350)
WGQS 351: Gender, Race, Class, Nation in Global Engineering, Technology & International Development (note: offered once/year)
WGQS 423: Gender and Work

Recent Alumni Perspective  

Becca Gates, Cal Poly

Rebecca Gates, 2018

My department often brought literature into a wider conversation with other disciplines and modes of thought. I explored the written word through the lens of technological innovation, reading computer generated plays in an American drama course or understanding the linguistic influences on computer science. I took the opportunity to explore interests entirely outside the field of literature through my electives in Aerospace Engineering, Botany, Geography and more. The program in which I found the most interdisciplinary study, and my interest in information science, was the Technical and Professional Communication program. Through these courses, I gained theoretical and practical understanding of the interconnectedness of our increasingly technological world and the traditional culture of the humanities. I also developed skills in information design and production, technical editing, and much more. The director of this program always encouraged us to explore our own personal interests in each project; I focused most on the arts sector by creating infographics about the National Endowment for the Arts and technical guides for artists.


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