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Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication

Transform your knowledge. Advance your skills.

A Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication will take you to the next level.

You're ready to accelerate your career. To acquire the expertise necessary to make it happen. Whether you are changing careers or enhancing a current career, a Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication gives you the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally.

You'll deepen your knowledge with theory. You'll apply that knowledge to hands-on projects in which you'll confront and resolve real-world business issues using the latest technology across media.

And you'll receive quality instruction and guidance from full-time SPSU faculty from the convenience of an online learning environment. With the additional support of your fellow students, you'll learn to create meaning, inspire change, deliver value.

Who enrolls in the online Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication program?

Your fellow students are working adults. Adults between jobs. They are career builders. Career changers. Innovators. They come from a variety of backgrounds. Some work in technical communication, others in publishing, journalism, Web design, business, engineering, and numerous other fields.

Most of all, like you, your fellow students care about communicating in a way that connects to an audience. That helps them accomplish their goals or understand a complex concept or process.

Your fellow students are the people with whom you will forge personal and professional bonds. The kinds of bonds that will become integral to the success of your career now and in the future.

What will I learn?

In today's complex world, effective communication takes more than the ability to write and use images. It requires strategy. Our rigorous curriculum will give you the critical and technical skills to become a communication strategist.

With a Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication, you'll acquire skills that will endure over time:

  • Sense making: You'll learn to think critically and create meaning.
  • Social intelligence: You'll learn to understand a defined audience and create communication artifacts that speak to them, that drive them to act.
  • Novel and adaptive thinking: You'll learn to express complex ideas in an understandable way.
  • New media literacy: You'll learn to create persuasive and engaging communication artifacts for dynamic new media.
  • Transdisciplinarity: You'll learn to combine cross-disciplinary skills to confront and resolve problems.
  • Design mindset: You'll learn to create communication artifacts that persuade, that produce desired outcomes.
  • Cognitive load management: You'll learn to filter and focus information into communication artifacts that engage and persuade a defined audience.

What will my learning experience be like?

You'll take courses alongside MSc graduate students, who tell us the work is rigorous, challenging, and exciting. And they're right. You'll work independently and collaboratively on projects that confront and resolve actual business issues faced by real project sponsors.

Your intensive coursework will be entirely online. But that doesn't make it "easy"; in fact, an online learning environment demands more from you. But it also gives more back to you. You will be challenged to set goals and be self directed. You'll increase both the breadth and depth of your knowledge, while making critical connections to faculty members who are experts in the field, as well as your fellow students who are on the same road to success.

How long will the certificate take to complete?

Because of its rigor, and other life demands you must meet, the program is designed primarily for part-time study. Students with full-time jobs typically take no more than 2 courses per semester and plan a 2-year timeline to complete the certificate. Full-time study (defined as 9 credit hours or 3 courses per semester) is limited to students receiving financial aid or those who are not employed.

We want you to succeed. During your first semester, you will be restricted to 1 course. Graduate-level courses require more reading and study. The assignments are significantly more complex. You'll spend at least 15 to 20 hours per week on that 1 course. Taking just 1 course gives you the chance to adjust both to the workload and online learning environment.

How much will it cost?

No matter where in the world you call home, you'll pay in-state tuition and fees. For the 2012–13 academic year, one 3-credit course will cost  approximately $1,215. Visit the Office of Financial Aid for information about funding your education.

What kinds of courses will I take?

Your coursework will cover topics in both visual and verbal communication. It will also incorporate the numerous technologies and media where communication happens. A snapshot of courses includes:

  • Writing Across Media
  • Applied Graphics
  • Content Strategy
  • Marketing Communication
  • Web Site Design
  • Usability Testing

What kinds of jobs can I expect with a Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication?

You can work in any industry that requires strategic communication, including software, hospitality, business, and healthcare. Or you can work as a contractor across these industries and more.

The skills you'll apply in your career field could include

  • information design,
  • content strategy,
  • marketing communication,
  • visual communication,
  • technical communication, and
  • Web design.

Next steps:

Looking instead for a quick intro to technical communication?

SPSU’s Continuing Education Center offers short courses that provide hands-on, practical skill training in the fundamentals of technical communication, including technical writing, project management, Web design, and instructional design.

These non-credit courses cover the basics in only a few sessions and are a cost-effective way to learn if technical communication is the right career for you!


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