The University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW Stout) offers an online Master of Science (MS) in Technical and Professional Communication through its College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences in collaboration with Stout Online. UW Stout uses the Canvas learning management system for its online degree programs. Canvas allows students to access lectures, view and download course materials, submit assignments, participate in course discussions, and communicate with instructors and classmates. The MS in Technical Communication can be completed entirely online with no required campus visits.
The Master of Science in Technical and Professional Communication requires 30 credit hours and can typically be completed in two years of full-time study. The program is designed to introduce students to core concepts in media and digital technologies and to leverage user-centered approaches in both professional and technical communication practices. The curriculum blends communication theory and research methodologies with industry-specific training in areas such as technical writing, usability, rhetorical theory, speech communication, project management, and communicating in multilingual environments.
The ten-class curriculum is divided between core classes (12 credits), selected studies (15 credits) and either a field project or technical and professional communication thesis (3 credits). The four core classes are Theory and Research in Technical Communication, Rhetorical Theory, Visual Rhetoric for Technical and Professional Communicators, and User-Centered Research for Technical Communicators. In these courses, students gain foundational skills and knowledge in technical communication and how to convey complex technical and scientific concepts in cogent and accessible ways. The five selected studies classes allow students to choose a program of study that best meets their professional development needs. Example courses include Transnational Professional Communication, Business and Professional Speaking, Tech and Professional Communication in the Games Industry, Advanced Interpersonal Communication for Professionals, and Writing Technical Manuals.
The program culminates with an independent research course that consists of either a Field Project in Technical and Professional Communication or a Technical and Professional Communication Thesis. The field project consists of a research exercise for an industry or business that results in a deliverable for a client and an accompanying report analyzing the project and its relevance and efficacy. The technical and professional communication thesis is an original research project that includes a literature review, research methods, results, and interpretation of findings, in the format of a traditional academic thesis.
The University of Wisconsin-Stout is accredited by the Higher Learning.
Online Master of Science in Technical and Professional Communication
Department: College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences (CACHSS)
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program mainly uses asynchronous instruction - there may be live synchronous sessions which are recorded for students who cannot attend
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 2 years
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Field project or thesis
Credits Required: 30 credits (10 courses)
Example Courses: Theory & Research in Technical Communication; Visual Rhetoric for Technical & Professional Communicators; Communication Strategies for Emerging Media; User-Centered Research for Technical Communicators; Advanced Interpersonal Communication; Business and Professional Speaking; Advanced Usability
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 2.75
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Work Experience: Experience in academic or professional settings writing and designing documents preferred
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission
Estimated Tuition*: ~$15,990 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $533 per credit hour
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states