Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Scientific and Technical Communication Minor

Writing Studies Department
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Writing Studies, 215 Nolte Center, 315 Pillsbury Dr SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455; (612-624-3445; fax: 612-624-3617)
  • Program Type: Graduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2020
  • Length of program in credits (master's): 6
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
The Scientific and Technical Communication minor is available for masterís-level students enrolled in other University graduate programs. Courses train students to apply basic theory and research-driven approaches to create and adapt content to solve complex problems in technical and scientific communication. The minor offers online courses in areas such as editing and style, writing with digital technologies, information design, and international professional communication. Coursework emphasizes collaboration with workplace professionals through client projects, virtual and global teamwork, mentorships, and emerging technologies and enables students to develop unique strengths in digital, usability, and/or science/health/medical communication.
Program Delivery
  • completely online (all program coursework can be completed online)
Prerequisites for Admission
Special Application Requirements:
Students interested in the minor are strongly encouraged to confer with their major field advisor and director of graduate studies, and the Scientific and Technical Communication director of graduate studies, regarding feasibility and requirements. Research master's and PhD students interested in rhetorical theory and history, technical communication, technology and culture, digital and new media studies, and writing pedagogy are encouraged to pursue the Rhetoric, Technical and Scientific Communication minor.
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
At least a grade of B must be earned for each course applied to the minor. The minimum GPA is 3.00.
Coursework (6 credits)
Core Course (3 credits)
Take 3 credits of the following:
WRIT 5112 - Information Design: Theory and Practice (3.0 cr)
Electives (3 credits)
Take 3 credits of electives. Courses can be from the following list or others with approval of the director of graduate studies
WRIT 4501 - Usability and Human Factors in Technical Communication (3.0 cr)
WRIT 4562 - International Professional Communication (3.0 cr)
WRIT 4573W - Writing Proposals and Grant Management [WI] (3.0 cr)
WRIT 4664W - Science, Medical, and Health Writing [WI] (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5561 - Editing and Style for Technical Communicators (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5662 - Writing With Digital Technologies (3.0 cr)
WRIT 8505 - Professional Practice (3.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
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WRIT 5112 - Information Design: Theory and Practice
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
This course examines how verbal, visual, data, and other forms of content can be designed and combined to create meaning, improve comprehension, and make information more usable. In particular, we will study the rhetorical roles visual elements play in print and digital communications, and how we as technical communicators can use visual means to reach audiences, convey information, and achieve rhetorical goals. We will read and discuss theory, practice information design skills, and apply both to real communications projects suitable for inclusion in a professional portfolio. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
WRIT 4501 - Usability and Human Factors in Technical Communication
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Principles/concepts of human factors/usability testing. Developing objectives, criteria, and measures. Conducting tests in lab, field, and virtual environments. Using software programs to analyze qualitative/quantitative data.
WRIT 4562 - International Professional Communication
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
The increasingly global nature of communication presents new challenges and opportunities as communicators develop content for and work with clients and colleagues from other cultures. Moreover, professionals increasingly perform their work as part of global virtual teams using multiple synchronous and asynchronous technologies. Thus, this course includes resources and experiences designed to increase a studentís skill at communicating with multicultural audiences, working as a member of international teams, and using multiple technologies as part of this work.
WRIT 4573W - Writing Proposals and Grant Management (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Research funding sources. Interpreting RFP or program announcement. Letters of intent. Grant preparation, following guidelines of RFP or program announcement. Proposals for nonprofits or research/business.
WRIT 4664W - Science, Medical, and Health Writing (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Read various kinds of science, medical, and health writing. Develop heuristics for science, medical, and health writing grounded in rhetorical theory. Research, draft, and write a variety of science, medical, and health genres for a range of audiences and print/digital outlets.
WRIT 5561 - Editing and Style for Technical Communicators
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Summer
In this course, students learn strategies for editing and revising writing for technical and non-technical audiences. Students practice three levels of editing skills: proofreading, copyediting, and comprehensive editing. Strategies include advanced grammar and style, editing tools, quantitative data, global documents, and various style guides. Students also examine an editor?s role with authors, in organizations, in global contexts, and in ethical situations. Editing projects focus on the three levels of editing, using proficient methods, collaborating between authors and editors, identifying audience and contexts, editing documents according to style guides, and using rhetorical principles to analyze and edit final documents.
WRIT 5662 - Writing With Digital Technologies
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02724
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
WRIT 5662 is a graduate level Writing Studies course that explores various digital writing technologies and provides multiple opportunities to assess writing situations and make appropriate decisions about digital form and production. Students will learn the basic building blocks of writing in Internet environments (text, sound, images, video) as well as the vocabularies, functionalities, and organizing structures of Web 2.0 environments, how these impact understanding and use of information, and how to produce these environments (i.e., multimedia internet documents) for interactivity and use. This course includes design projects and practice with apps, markup language, content management systems, video, and social media.
WRIT 8505 - Professional Practice
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course is designed to provide a class structure to assist graduate students in completing writing requirements and oral presentations associated with professional projects -- research, scientific writing, and associated reports -- as part of their graduate programs. Learning outcomes include the following: to foster advanced skills in writing and editing scientific and/or technical documents for various audiences; to design and develop research reports and related documents for graduate programs in scientific and technical communication and other technical disciplines; to understand and apply theoretical and research perspectives in scientific and technical communication to professional practice projects; to expand use of online tools for project development and management and data analysis; to enhance skills in oral presentation of scientific and/or technical research information; and to identify and reflect on the culture and value of professional practice from a disciplinary perspective.