The University of Central Florida (UCF) offers a Master of Arts in English – Technical Communication program through its Department of English in collaboration with UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning. The degree can be completed entirely online without any required in-person visits to the UCF campus. Most instructors use asynchronous instruction, meaning that students are not required to be online at specific times, although some classes may incorporate some synchronous or live online sessions. The program also focuses on small classes sizes with an average of 10-15 students per class. Students access their online courses through UCF’s Webcourses@UCF system, which is built on Instructure’s Canvas learning management system. Through Webcourses@UCF, students view course materials, submit assignments, participate in online discussions, and communicate with instructors and classmates.
The Master of Arts in English – Technical Communication requires 33 credit hours of coursework and can typically be completed in two years of full-time study. The program offers three curriculum tracks – thesis, non-thesis project, or a non-thesis course-based option. The master’s degree curriculum is designed to introduce students to advanced concepts in technical communication and help them develop skills in project management, designing online help systems, technical writing techniques, proposal writing, consulting, and corporate training.
The overall curriculum requirements vary by academic track. The thesis and non-thesis project tracks include 30 credits of coursework and three credits of thesis or project work (33 credits total). The non-thesis course-based option also requires 33 total credit hours as students must complete one additional graduate course in technical communication instead of completing a thesis or project.
Classes are divided between required core courses (15 credits), electives (15 credits) and a project/thesis (3 credits) or additional graduate class (3 credits). The five-class series of core courses provides students with a fundamental understanding of the central concepts of technical communication, covering topics such as rhetorical theory, design theory, and communication theory. These required courses include Production and Publication, Technical Editing, Technical Writing, Theory, and Practice, and Methods of Bibliography and Research. Students must also choose either The Rhetorics of Public Debate or Rhetoric of Science for their fifth required core course. These classes also allow students to apply the concepts they learn to practical, applied learning projects that enhance their abilities to excel in varying professional settings and contexts.
Electives are split between restricted (9 credits) and open electives (6 credits). Students must complete at least three courses from a set list of ten classes. Restricted electives subjects vary, but span technical communication, linguistics and literature, and include courses such as Proposal Writing, Rhetorical Traditions, Persuasive Writing, Visual Technical Communication, Hypertext Theory and Design, Writing and Designing Online Help Systems, and Project Management for Technical Writers. The unrestricted electives that students take can be from within the English Department or outside of it. Students work with their graduate advisor to select two approved courses for their open electives.
Students in all tracks must also complete a comprehensive examination, which is based on at least four of their core courses. For students who select a thesis for their culminating experience, they are required to research and write a structured paper on a question of scholarly significance to the field of technical communication. The professional project is a research project on a topic in technical communication that results in a professionally oriented deliverable such as a website or multimedia product. Regardless of the track they choose, students receive guidance and feedback from a team of faculty mentors.
Note: Students in the local Orlando area may become members in the local chapter of the Society for Technical Communication, which meets monthly and offers professional development and networking opportunities.
The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Online Master of Arts in English - Technical Communication
Department: Department of English
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses asynchronous instruction - students can access course materials at times that are convenient for them
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 2 years
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Thesis, project or coursework (one additional course)
Credits Required: 33 credits (10-11 courses)
Example Courses: Production and Publication Methods; Technical Editing; Technical Writing, Theory and Practice; Methods of Bibliography and Research; The Rhetorics of Public Debate; Visual Technical Communication; Persuasive Writing
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: Competitive GRE score required (GRE must have been taken within the last 5 years)
Start Dates: Fall and Spring admission
Estimated Tuition*: ~$10,801.56 + fees (in-state); $22,929.06 + fees (out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $327.32 per credit hour (in-state); $694.82 per credit hour (out-of-state)
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states