Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Scientific and Technical Communication M.S.

Writing Studies Department
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Writing Studies, 214 Nolte Center, 315 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-3445; fax: 612-624-3617)
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 30
  • This program requires summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Science
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The master's of science in scientific and technical communication focuses on applying basic theory and research to the practice of scientific and technical communication in the workplace.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
  • partially online (between 50% to 80% of instruction is online)
Prerequisites for Admission
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan C: Plan C requires 21 major credits and 9 credits outside the major. There is no final exam. A capstone project is required.
Capstone Project: The capstone course (WRIT 8505), this is the final course necessary to complete the degree requirements. The course is primarily for students seeking the MS in scientific and technical communication, but is also suitable for graduate students in any program who want structured support to write an extended project report. Classes are conducted in a "writers' workshop" format, during which each student receives feedback and support for his or her individual research report writing.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
Required Courses
Take the following courses for a total of 18 credits:
WRIT 5001 - Introduction to Graduate Studies in Scientific and Technical Communication (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5112 - Information Design: Theory and Practice (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5561 - Editing and Style for Technical Communicators (3.0 cr)
WRIT 8505 - Professional Practice (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5671 - Visual Rhetoric (3.0 cr)
WRIT 4501 - Usability and Human Factors in Technical Communication (3.0 cr)
Take at least 3 credits of electives, in consultation with the advisor.
Take 3 or more credit(s) from the following:
· WRIT 4xxx
Related Field Competency Area
Take at least 9 credits outside the Department of Writing Studies, in consultation with the director of graduate studies.
Possible areas of study include, but are not limited to: Health sciences International technical communication Food science and nutrition Technical communication and software engineering Technical communication and environmental science Technical communication and law
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WRIT 5001 - Introduction to Graduate Studies in Scientific and Technical Communication
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
History of technical communication. Different audiences, purposes, genres, and emerging trends. International/intercultural issues. Students participate within a community of technical communication professionals. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
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 5561 - Editing and Style for Technical Communicators
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring & Summer
Proofreading, copy-editing, comprehensive editing. Students primarily use electronic editing methods.Editor's responsibilities, relationship to writers, roles within an organization, style guides, ethical choices. Editing in global setting. Editing/style for visual design and online documents. prereq: [Grad student, knowledge of grammar/punctuation rules] or instr consent
WRIT 8505 - Professional Practice
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Extended problem-solving situation in business, government, or industry. Student acts as consultant to explore problem, identify possible solutions, introduce solution, apply it.
WRIT 5671 - Visual Rhetoric
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Range/development of visuals, especially those in science/technology. Vocabulary for commenting on, criticizing, and creating visuals. prereq: Jr or sr or grad student
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.