Utah State University (USU) offers an online Master of Technical Communication through its Department of English. The program can be completed entirely online, allowing students to fulfill program requirements for the master’s degree without traveling to campus. For online instruction, USU uses the Canvas learning management system. Through Canvas, students may access their course materials at any time, post messages to discussion boards, communicate with instructors, submit assignments, and more. The majority of the instruction is asynchronous, meaning students can access course materials at any time; however, Canvas does support live (synchronous) sessions if an instructor chooses to schedule a real-time session.
The Master of Technical Communication requires 33 credit hours of study to complete and is designed for students to finish their degree requirements in approximately three years. Utah State University offers two online courses in the spring, two in the fall and sometimes offers online courses during the summer. The program is designed for professionals and technical writers seeking to advance their communication skills, as well as secondary education teachers who wish to bring technical writing and communication concepts and practices into their classrooms. The master’s degree also serves as a stepping stone for students continuing into doctoral programs in technical communication, rhetoric or related fields.
Through a multifaceted curriculum, students study the history of technical communication, learn about best practices for teaching others about technical communication, gain familiarity with conducting communication research in both academic and nonacademic environments, and examine how document design influences readability and audience impact. The curriculum is divided into Core Requirements (9 credits) and Issues in Professional Communication (12-24 credits). Students also can take several courses outside of the Department of English, pending their advisor’s approval of their course of study.
Core Requirements coursework introduces students to the fundamental theories and concepts of editing and technical communication. Classes include Advanced Editing, Introduction to Technical Communication, and Introduction to Rhetorical Theory. Issues in Professional Communication coursework is broad, covering topics from digital media to cultural research methods. Sample courses include Teaching Technical Writing, Cultural Research Methods, Empirical Research Methods, Studies in Technology and Writing, Reading Theory and Document Design, Publications Management, and Usability Studies and Human Factors in Professional Communication.
Beyond core classes, students may select a program of study that aligns with their academic needs and professional goals. They may complete the remaining 24 credits through Issues in Professional Communication courses, or they can select online classes from other departments, as long as these courses are relevant to technical communication. For example, a student with an interest in instructional technology may complete the three required classes (9 credits), four classes from Issues in Professional Communication (12 credits) and four classes (12 credits) in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences. The online Master of Technical Communication program does not require a thesis to graduate.
Utah State University is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.
Online Master of Technical Communication
Department: Department of English
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program mainly uses aynchronous instruction with the Canvas learning management system
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program is designed to be completed in 3 years (students have up to 6 years to finish the program)
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: No thesis or capstone required
Credits Required: 33 credits (11 courses)
Example Courses: Advanced Editing; Introduction to Technical Communication; Introduction to Rhetorical Theory; Studies in Digital Media; Studies in Technology and Writing; Usability Studies & Human Factors in Professional Communication; Publications Management
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0 in last 60 semester hours or 90 quarter credits of undergraduate degree
Testing Requirements: GRE, MAT or GMAT required - min 40th percentile
Start Dates: Fall/Summer and Spring admission
Estimated Tuition*: ~$13,794 + fees (in-state); ~$42,174 + fees (in-state non-resident); ~$14,223 + fees (out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $418 per credit hour (in-state resident); $1,278 per credit hour (in-state non-resident); $431 per credit hour (out-of-state) - based on taking 6 credits per semester
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states