The field of technical and professional communication may be defined as “the creative use of language and design to accommodate people and technology, including writing, editing, graphics, and publications management.” Students in this concentration receive a solid background in the knowledge and skills required to participate in the writing, editing, and publishing (whether in print or online) of scientific, technical, and professional documents. By taking courses in writing, editing, and publishing, English majors (and other students who may choose to minor in this area) are given the opportunity to develop the basic skills required and to hone those skills to a high level. Students also receive a solid background in the fundamental knowledge areas requisite to the field-for example, the intricacies of audience analysis and adaptation, the dynamics of working with authors, and the rapidly changing principles of good page design.
The field of professional and technical communication offers a variety of rich and rewarding careers. Because successful completion of this concentration (whether as a major or a minor) involves such a deep and varied engagement with the nature of language in relatively formal settings, students pursuing careers in law and education also find this concentration useful. Other students find that the undergraduate study of professional and technical communication leads them to pursue graduate studies in technical communication, rhetoric and composition, literature, communications, or information science.
All students must begin the concentration by taking English 360 (Technical and Professional Writing). Following that, students choose two of the following three courses: English 460 (Technical Editing), English 462 (Writing for Publication), and English 466 (Writing, Layout, and Production of Technical Documents). In addition, students choose one other course in rhetoric or writing; and one upper-division English elective.
- English 360 and any two of the following: 460, 462, 466.
- One other course in rhetoric or writing. In addition to the course listed in item one which was not taken, students may choose from the following list: 355, 357, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 455, 463, 464, 470, 484, 490, 495, 496.
- One upper-division English elective.