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.

English 310—Corporate Communication

English 380—Literary Themes (dependent upon theme; must be approved by the program director) (C4, Not for ENGL Majors)*

English 411—New Media Arts 1

English 412—New Media Arts 2

English 467—Topics in Rhetoric and Writing (dependent upon topic; must be approved by the program director)

Communication Studies 217—Small Group Communication

Communication Studies 301—Business and Professional Communication

Communication Studies 316—Intercultural Communication (D5)

Communication Studies 317—Technology and Human Communication

Communication Studies 390—Environmental Communication

Communication Studies 395—Science Communication

Communication Studies 418—Health Communication

Communication Studies 422—Rhetoric of Science, Technology and Medicine

Computer Science 171—Introduction to Interactive Entertainment

Ethnic Studies/Women and Gender Studies 350—Gender, Race, Culture, Science and Technology (Area F)

Philosophy 321—Philosophy of Science (C4)

Philosophy 323—Ethics, Science and Technology (C4)

Philosophy 337—Business Ethics (C4)

Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts 303—Values and Technology (C4)

Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts 320—Topics and Issues in Values, Media, and Culture

Recreation, Parks, Tourism Administration 450—Resource and Grant Development.

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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