Technical Communication and Professional Writing BA

College of Liberal Arts
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Arts

About this program

The major in Technical Communication and Professional Writing provides students with a foundation in the writing, editing, research, and digital communication skills that are essential for writing professionals in industry, government, non-profit, and freelance careers.

Faculty who teach in the program combine academic and workplace experience, educating students in both ideas and implementation, principles and practice. In addition to completing a core curriculum, students select a track in either Technical Communication or Professional Writing to complete the major.

  • Technical Communication Track: Technical communication is a growing field that has become increasingly important to communicating in a technology-mediated world. Technical communicators help make information more useful and accessible the people who need the information. Students completing this track take classes in technical writing, advanced Web writing and design, usability and user experience design, and trends in communication technology. The Technical Communication track prepares students for careers in growing areas such as web content development and design, technical editing, technical marketing communications, and product documentation.
  • Professional Writing Track: The Professional Writing track prepares students to become creative, versatile, and digitally savvy communicators who understand how to write and edit in both print and electronic environments. Students in this track take classes in writing for publication, as well as writing for social media and multimedia. They also choose from a rich array of electives, including courses in grant writing, freelance writing, book publishing, and writing ad copy. The Professional Writing track prepares students for careers in such fields as nonfiction writing and editing, grant writing, writing for marketing or public relations, employee communications, web content development, and print and electronic publishing.

Student outcomes

  • Apply the composing and editing process in a variety of genres
  • Investigate a topic using relevant research strategies, including evaluating and critically analyzing diverse sources.
  • Apply theories of rhetoric and communication to the writing process
  • Write and design effectively for specific situations
  • Demonstrate an ability to use digital technologies effectively

Enrolling in this program

Current students: Declare your program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Technical Communication and Professional Writing BA now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Technical Communication and Professional Writing BA

Course requirements

Prerequisites

Core curriculum: prerequisites (4 credits)

WRIT 280 Digital Tools for Writing and Communication

2 credits

This class begins with students self-assessing their digital skills in several areas, including design for print and digital documents; web tools; visual tools; and project management tools. Students work with the instructor to create a learning contract with the goal of acquiring tools in a certain number of these areas. In order to acquire knowledge of these tools, students complete online tutorials. Only offered S/N.

Full course description for Digital Tools for Writing and Communication

Requirements (120 credits)

Core curriculum: required (23-24 credits)

INFS 315 Searching for Information

4 credits

A student completing this course understands the process of finding, synthesizing, evaluating, and documenting sufficient and reliable information appropriate to a variety of purposes including upper division coursework, senior capstone papers or professional writing, and communication tasks. Students also explore a number of the contemporary issues surrounding information in society, have opportunities to use and/or visit primary resource collections and learn a variety of research techniques. Specific sections of the course will structure assignments around a course theme identified in the class schedule. Prior themes have included Civil Rights, Holocaust and Genocide, Crime and Punishment, Food, Immigration, and Health Care. Both themed and non-themed sections are offered every semester as are online and in-class sections.

Full course description for Searching for Information

WRIT 302 Content Strategy

2 credits

Content strategy encompasses the creation, management, testing, and governance of content, whether that be a website, printed document, social media, or other forms of information. In this class students will gain a comprehensive understanding of content for contemporary information-intensive organizations as well as hands-on skills to create effective, user-friendly, and culturally sensitive content.

Full course description for Content Strategy

WRIT 371 Editing

4 credits

This course covers editing principles and techniques. Topics include how readers use and comprehend texts, the editor's role in the publication process, the writer/editor relationship, and editing for organization, format, style, grammar, punctuation, usage, consistency and accuracy. Students edit a variety of texts, including technical documents and newsletter articles in print and online.

Full course description for Editing

WRIT 373 Writing and Designing for the Web I

4 credits

This course introduces students to the principles, processes, and techniques of front-end Web development. Students gain solid knowledge and practical skills in HTML, CSS, website genres, design patterns, Web writing, and usability. Students will analyze and build websites. Students must already possess basic satisfactory digital literacy, such as managing files and folders, and adding and removing programs.

Full course description for Writing and Designing for the Web I

Technical Communication track requirements (7 credits)

WRIT 271 Technical Writing

3 credits

In this course, students create a variety of documents, including technical memos, manuals, proposals and reports. Emphasis is placed on document design, effective organization and readability. This course especially benefits managers or technical employees who need to communicate technical information to business or general audiences.

Full course description for Technical Writing

WRIT 574 Usability and User Experience

4 credits

This course focuses on usability and user experience for technical and information products. Students learn concepts, principles, processes, and methods of usability and user experience. Students work in teams and conduct a usability study systematically to improve an information product. Topics also include usability in business and organizational settings, usability workflow and governance. Students will also interact with user experience professionals.

Full course description for Usability and User Experience

Technical Communication track electives (4 credits)

INFS 338 The Craft and Commerce of Book Publishing

4 credits

This course considers books, like universities and libraries, part of "the knowledge industry," and emphasizes the gatekeepers who decide matters of a book's authorship, publishing, and readership. By tracking the evolution of the book pre-Gutenberg to the current e-book environment, we will explore the evolving publishing industry in society. In our exploration of the field of publishing, we will combine readings and discussion with field experiences. You will have the opportunity to meet with and ask questions of guest speakers who work in various aspects of the publishing industry.

Full course description for The Craft and Commerce of Book Publishing

MDST 520 Digital Storytelling

4 credits

Digital storytelling is a growing area of multimodal communication that is part of a larger movement to empower communities and voices through the use of digital tools and platforms. Digital stories are short videos that combine narration, images (still and moving), sound effects, and music to tell a compelling story. Students will create two digital stories: a personal story and a story that promotes a cause or organization (e.g., a Kickstarter-style video). The process will include multiple rough cuts and a final version of each video, as well as extensive instructor and peer feedback.

Full course description for Digital Storytelling

WRIT 375 Environmental Communication

4 credits

This course focuses on environmental communication which encompasses a multidisciplinary viewpoint. The course helps students understand how environmental issues and conflicts develop, the values underlying the perspectives on these issues, how these values are presented, and the scientific and technical information involved in understanding environmental communication.

Full course description for Environmental Communication

WRIT 377 Writing Proposals and Grants

4 credits

This course offers a rhetorically-based, process-oriented approach to strategic, effective writing of proposals and grants for individuals and organizations. The course is designed primarily for writers, artists and technical communicators who expect to find themselves, as freelancers or as employees, seeking funding for a variety of programs and projects in academic, nonprofit or corporate situations. This course provides a systematic process for analyzing audiences, writing needs statements and finding sponsors all within an electronic context.

Full course description for Writing Proposals and Grants

WRIT 531 Advanced Writing

4 credits

This course focuses on the theory and practice of writing across genres. The course examines what genre is and why its an important concept for those who seek flexibility and versatility as writers. Students create a complex project of some length that incorporates a variety of genres to communicate a message. In addition, the course focuses on prose style, including practice in imitation, use of rhetorical devices, sentence and paragraph variety, and many other topics. Additional assignments include a multimedia project.

Full course description for Advanced Writing

WRIT 571 Advanced Editing

4 credits

In this course, students hone and refine editing skills on a variety of levels. Topics include electronic editing, using electronic resources, dynamics of the editor-writer relationship, editing information graphics, advanced copyediting and developmental editing. Class exercises cover grammar, punctuation, and usage issues. Each student works with a writer to edit and develop an original text.

Full course description for Advanced Editing

WRIT 599 Advanced Topics

1-4 credits

This course presents topics of interest to students in the undergraduate and graduate Technical Communication and Professional Writing programs. Topics vary with each offering of this course. Check the class schedule for details about topics and course prerequisites. This course may be taken any number of times for credit as long as the topic is different.

Full course description for Advanced Topics

MDST 485 Communicating with New Media

4 credits

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to effectively promote and advocate for events, organizations, or issues using a variety of social media and multi-media. Students will combine online writing (or blogging) with other forms of social networking and media (wikis, YouTube, Facebook, and/or Twitter) to build a comprehensive online initiative promoting a timely and relevant issue or event either of their choosing or provided by the instructor. Students will increase their knowledge of online rhetoric, audience research, planning for media events, script or treatment writing, and evaluation of communication programs.

Full course description for Communicating with New Media

Professional Writing track requirements (8 credits)

Choose one between WRIT 341 and WRIT 344, not from all three courses

MDST 485 Communicating with New Media

4 credits

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to effectively promote and advocate for events, organizations, or issues using a variety of social media and multi-media. Students will combine online writing (or blogging) with other forms of social networking and media (wikis, YouTube, Facebook, and/or Twitter) to build a comprehensive online initiative promoting a timely and relevant issue or event either of their choosing or provided by the instructor. Students will increase their knowledge of online rhetoric, audience research, planning for media events, script or treatment writing, and evaluation of communication programs.

Full course description for Communicating with New Media

WRIT 341 Writing the News in a Digital World

4 credits

In this course, students analyze principles and methods of news gathering and reporting for web, broadcast and print news media. They then prepare a weekly schedule of reporting assignments, similar to those that might be completed by a newsroom intern. Students also complete several major assignments employing various news writing styles for digital, broadcast and print media.

Full course description for Writing the News in a Digital World

Professional Writing track electives (8 credits)

Choose one

INFS 338 The Craft and Commerce of Book Publishing

4 credits

This course considers books, like universities and libraries, part of "the knowledge industry," and emphasizes the gatekeepers who decide matters of a book's authorship, publishing, and readership. By tracking the evolution of the book pre-Gutenberg to the current e-book environment, we will explore the evolving publishing industry in society. In our exploration of the field of publishing, we will combine readings and discussion with field experiences. You will have the opportunity to meet with and ask questions of guest speakers who work in various aspects of the publishing industry.

Full course description for The Craft and Commerce of Book Publishing

MDST 520 Digital Storytelling

4 credits

Digital storytelling is a growing area of multimodal communication that is part of a larger movement to empower communities and voices through the use of digital tools and platforms. Digital stories are short videos that combine narration, images (still and moving), sound effects, and music to tell a compelling story. Students will create two digital stories: a personal story and a story that promotes a cause or organization (e.g., a Kickstarter-style video). The process will include multiple rough cuts and a final version of each video, as well as extensive instructor and peer feedback.

Full course description for Digital Storytelling

MKTG 348 Advertising Copywriting, Design and Production

4 credits

In advertising and marketing today copywriting is more important than ever. Effective copy needs to cut through the clutter, whether it's used for ads, social media, web sites, email blasts, video scripts, direct mail or brochures. The focus of this course is learning how to write compelling copy, incorporating positioning, creative briefs, research, features and benefits, creation of an advertising premise and copy organization. Writers are often expected to do it all, so the course also covers design basics and production terminology and practices.

Full course description for Advertising Copywriting, Design and Production

WRIT 377 Writing Proposals and Grants

4 credits

This course offers a rhetorically-based, process-oriented approach to strategic, effective writing of proposals and grants for individuals and organizations. The course is designed primarily for writers, artists and technical communicators who expect to find themselves, as freelancers or as employees, seeking funding for a variety of programs and projects in academic, nonprofit or corporate situations. This course provides a systematic process for analyzing audiences, writing needs statements and finding sponsors all within an electronic context.

Full course description for Writing Proposals and Grants

WRIT 531 Advanced Writing

4 credits

This course focuses on the theory and practice of writing across genres. The course examines what genre is and why its an important concept for those who seek flexibility and versatility as writers. Students create a complex project of some length that incorporates a variety of genres to communicate a message. In addition, the course focuses on prose style, including practice in imitation, use of rhetorical devices, sentence and paragraph variety, and many other topics. Additional assignments include a multimedia project.

Full course description for Advanced Writing

WRIT 532 Writing about Place

4 credits

This course explores questions such as, How does place shape a writer's voice? How do writers see nature in urban environments? Students use memory, imagination, research, experience and analysis to write about places important to them. Students work toward achieving advanced skills in creative nonfiction, an individual written voice, and a thoughtful approach to place and environment. Prerequisites: a 300-level Writing course or instructor's consent.

Full course description for Writing about Place

WRIT 571 Advanced Editing

4 credits

In this course, students hone and refine editing skills on a variety of levels. Topics include electronic editing, using electronic resources, dynamics of the editor-writer relationship, editing information graphics, advanced copyediting and developmental editing. Class exercises cover grammar, punctuation, and usage issues. Each student works with a writer to edit and develop an original text.

Full course description for Advanced Editing

WRIT 583 Writing Major Projects

4 credits

This independent study examines the principles and techniques of writing substantial professional or creative projects such as longer business documents, articles, grant applications, proposals, and works of fiction or creative non-fiction. Through consultations with the instructor, students determine their specific organizational or stylistic problems. Evaluation is based on written projects. Students should have in mind a writing project of either one long piece or several short ones on related topics. Course may be repeated for credit.

Full course description for Writing Major Projects

WRIT 599 Advanced Topics

1-4 credits

This course presents topics of interest to students in the undergraduate and graduate Technical Communication and Professional Writing programs. Topics vary with each offering of this course. Check the class schedule for details about topics and course prerequisites. This course may be taken any number of times for credit as long as the topic is different.

Full course description for Advanced Topics