Professional and Technical Writing Curriculum


Our curriculum builds on the expertise and experience of scholars and professionals to teach students the latest and most relevant tools and methods to be effective as technical communicators. 

The coursework for the M.A. / M.S.  Technical and Professional Writing program is categorized into three segments of credits with the aim to balance comprehensiveness and rigor with student choice.  The program culminates with completion of a professional portfolio or research-based thesis.  

Core Courses (16 credits)

4 courses form the foundation of the curriculum. These 4 courses reflect the curriculum’s balanced attention to critical academic inquiry and professionalization for work in industry, government or the non-profit sector. 

Core courses do not have to be taken sequentially, although students starting in the fall quarter are advised to enroll in WR 525 their first term.

  • WR 525 Advanced Technical Writing 
  • WR 531 Advanced Topics in Technical Writing Technologies
  • WR 532 Frameworks for Technical Writing 
  • WR 533 Research Methods for Technical Writers 

Technical Writing Electives (20 credits)

Students must take a total of 20 credits of coursework drawn from the following list of courses

  • WR 510 Selected Topics in Writing (may be repeated for credit with different topics). Recent topics include:
    • UX Design
    • History of Business and Technical Writing    
  • WR 524 Grant Writing for Professional Writers
  • WR 526 Document Design 
  • WR 527 Technical Editing 
  • WR 529 Writing Computer Documentation 
  • WR 531 Advanced Topics in Technical Writing Technologies (students are strongly encouraged to take this course multiple times as topics vary). Topics may include:
    • DITA XML
    • Translation and Localization Technologies
    • Content Management
    • Adobe Creative Suite
    • Topic-based authoring/Madcap Flare
    • Web Tools for Content Providers
  • WR 560 Introduction to Book Publishing 
  • WR 572 Copyediting 
  • WR 562 Book Design Software 
  • WR 566 Digital Skills 
  • WR 565 Intellectual Property and Copyright 
  • ENG 513 Teaching and Tutoring Writing 
  • ENG 514 Contemporary Composition Theories 
  • ENG 515 Research Methods in Rhetoric & Composition 
  • ENG 590 Advanced Topics in Rhetoric and Composition Studies (may be repeated for credit with different topics)
  • ENG 516 History of Rhetoric 
  • ENG 525 Practical Grammar 

Open Electives (12 credits)

Students may take any additional 500-level courses with the  WR or ENG prefix.

Students may also use open elective credits to tailor their degree to their interests using the by-arrangement options below:

  • WR 501 Research (1-4 credits)
  • WR 502 Independent Study (1-8 credits)
  • WR 503 Thesis (6-9 credits.)  Thesis credits are for students pursuing the thesis option. A minimum of 6 credits of Thesis is required for thesis option students.
  • WR 504 or WR 511 Internship
  • WR 505 Writing and Conference (1-4 credits)
  • WR 509 Practicum (1-4 credits)

Students are limited to 8 credits combined of WR 501, WR 502 & WR 505 and 8 credits combined of WR 504/WR 511 & 509.

Students with a GTA teaching appointment are required to take the following courses:

  • ENG 518 College Composition Teaching 
  • ENG 519 Advanced College Composition Teaching 
  • WR 509 Teaching Technical Communication 

Students may also do relevant graduate coursework outside of the department for open elective credit with approval from the Director of Technical and Professional Writing. Relevant courses are commonly offered in Communication, Applied Linguistics, Computer Science and the School of Business, although other units may also offer relevant courses.