Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) offers an online Master of Science in Technical Communication through its Department of English and Technical Communication. While the program can be completed entirely online, students who live near the university may be asked to come to campus on rare occasions. The program uses both Blackboard and Adobe Connect for online instruction. Blackboard is a learning management system that allows students to view recorded lectures, participate in discussion forums, and submit assignments. Adobe Connect is used to facilitate live lectures and class meetings.
The Master of Science in Technical Communication requires 30 credit hours of study and can typically be completed in two years if students take two classes each semester, though students can also spread out their course of study over three years or accelerate their degree by taking more courses per term. The program emphasizes effective information design – written, oral, and visual – for technical and scientific communicators working in today’s diverse information systems industries. The master’s degree curriculum explores both communication theory and modern practices in technical communication. Students learn skills in project management and team building and learn best practices in document design and producing technical documents in different forms (e.g. print, digital).
The program’s curriculum is split across ten classes that cover both the fundamentals of technical communication (e.g. history of the field) and advanced concepts in applied technical communication practice (e.g. proposal writing). The sequence of courses includes Foundations of Technical Communication, Help Authoring, Technical Editing, Usability Studies, Advanced Proposal Writing, Web-Based Communication, History of Technical Communication, Research Methods in Technical Communication, Advanced Theories of Visual Technical Communication, and Advanced International Technical Communication. The program emphasizes hands-on learning with software and technology used in the field, especially the Adobe Technical Communication Suite. Students are introduced to and develop skills working with RoboHelp, Adobe Acrobat, FrameMaker, and more.
Students gain understanding of how research can inform best practices in technical communication, as well as how the history of technical communication applies to contemporary practices in the field. Program curriculum also introduces students to the principles of audience analyses, teaching them how to tailor technical and instructional communication content to be easily understood by target audiences. Classes in web-based communication explore advanced concepts for web editing and writing, examining how blogs, wikis and other online media formats can be used to convey technical information. Through the visual technical communication course, students learn how to use visuals to convey complex technical concepts, while the course in international technical communication gives students a survey of worldwide technical communication practices.
Once students have complete their courses, they must take and pass a comprehensive examination as their culminating experience. Students may also elect to complete a thesis instead of a comprehensive examination, though this option requires six more credit hours in addition to the 10-course curriculum (e.g., a total of 36 credits instead of 30 credits to graduate).
The Missouri University of Science and Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Online Master of Science in Technical Communication
Department: Department of English and Technical Communication
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits (Note: students may need to come to campus on a rare occasion if needed and an alternative cannot be found)
Instruction Methods: Program uses both synchronous and asynchronous instruction depending on the course and instructor
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Students typically complete the program in 3-4 years (taking 1-2 classes per semester) - students have up to 6 years to finish the program
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Comprehensive exam
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Example Courses: Research Methods in Technical Communication; Technical Editing; Usability Studies; Foundations of Technical Communication; Web-Based Communication; Advanced Theories of Visual Technical Communication
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or minimum GPA of 3.0 in last 60 semester hours of undergraduate degree) - students may apply for probational admission with a GPA greater than 2.75
Testing Requirements: GRE required - no minimum score required to apply
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission
Estimated Tuition: ~$36,000 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $1,200 per credit hour
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states