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Master of Science in Technical Communication

MSTC Graduate Course Descriptions

5304 Proseminar in Professional & Technical Communication (3-3-0)

Orients students to faculty research and the issues, goals, and methodologies of professional and technical communication. The course examines: definitions and histories of the field; relevant theories, practices, and genres; data gathering and research; technology-related issues; ethical and intercultural implications; and professionalization.

5317 Rhetorical Theory & Criticism (3-3-0)

Introduces major rhetorical theories, practice, and criticism. The course provides practice in applying critical theory to contemporary texts.

5325 Advanced Medical Writing (3-3-0)
Theory and practice of documenting and reporting both narrative findings and statistical results for medicine and life sciences in a variety of formats including proposals, publishable articles, and patient information materials. Graduate students will present a seminar with an accompanying literature review and complete individual and group projects.

5330 Visual Design Theory (3-3-0)

Provides a practicum in the application of theory to original designs and to the analysis and revision of existing designs. Examines the theory and practices appropriate to print and electronic medias.

5340 Project Management (3-3-0)

Introduces the techniques for systematic planning and supervision of complex writing projects and the production of print and electronic documentation. Students will become proficient in three major areas: collaborating with Subject Matter Experts to develop and clarify content; coordinating writing and production elements for publication; and expert testing for usability.

6301 Composition Pedagogy (3-3-0)

Composition theory, technology, and assessment as guides for teaching practices.

6303 Public Relations & Media (3-3-0)

Explores the trends and issues affecting corporations, crisis management, public affairs, communication, consumer affairs, employee relations, environmental problems, and issues of multinationals. The course may include the analysis of various examples of publicity materials news conferences, feature placements, special events, and media tours, case studies as well as readings on the history and theories of public relations and propaganda.

6306 Methods of Reading and Writing about Literature (3-3-0)

This course compares the theory and practice of two or three strategies for interpreting literature, such as formalism, reader-response, and cultural studies.

6307 Advanced Shakespeare (3-3-0)

An in-depth study of four or five plays by Shakespeare, with attention to their literary and intellectual backgrounds, performance/film history, and contemporary critical approaches.

6310 Intercultural & World Communication (3-3-0)

Examines issues surrounding communication for/with multiple audiences with diverse linguistic and cultural patterns. The class will also consider implications of controlled language systems.

6312 Ethical and Legal Dimensions of Communication (3-3-0)

Helps students identify and address the ethical challenges that occur in private, social, and professional contexts. Course will focus on real-world ethical dilemmas with diverse approaches to decision-making using ethical reasoning and applied ethics. Legal considerations will include first amendment issues such as freedom of speech and press, copyright, libel, privacy, access, administrative law of advertising and broadcasting, and other legal problems in professional writing situations.

6318 Stylistics & Editing (3-3-0)

Trains students in the examination and assessment of the rhetorical effects of style and editing choices and in the application of appropriate choices to a variety of documents, audiences, and settings. Covers information-processing theory and practice, with students being responsible for articulating clearly and concisely the reasons for their style and editing choices (including graphics) by the end of this course.

6319 Language Development and Variation: Implications for Educators (3-3-0)

An examination of language development and its relevance to skills required in an educational environment, the course will focus on sound patterns, word formation patterns, sentence structures, and writing systems and standards. It will also address ways in which language variation and multilingualism can interact with and affect development and acquisition of a standard variety.

6322 Instructional Design (3-3-0)

Surveys and applies the theory, research, creation, development, and delivery of courses in corporate and academic environments. Students will design and present curriculum for business, industry, or classroom use.

6323 Communication and Technology (3-3-0)

Acquaints with various computer software programs and their application to specific disciplines such as criminal justice, medical and science writing, and technical communication. Projects include print documents or slide presentations incorporating analyzed research data. Students will expand their knowledge of rhetorical principles and of techniques for reporting statistical analysis and conveying them to specific audiences.

6324 Writing in the Professions (3-3-0)

Examines researching, writing, and editing journal and newsletter articles in one or several technical fields or disciplines, including science, medicine, pharmaceuticals, engineering, environmental science, and law. Students will develop one article project from initial research to submission. May be repeated once for credit with permission of department.

6328 Hypermedia Theory & Design (3-3-0)

Reviews print-based methods of content organization and reader orientation. These traditional methods are contrasted with typical solutions in on-line and multi-media communications to the problems of content navigation, readability, and usability. Includes study of navigation maps or graphs, information architecture, traditional and hyper-linked indexes, table of contents and on-line context lists, and the use of document description or meta-information to facilitate effective information retrieval.

6330 Usability Research

Examines the principles and methods of applied research in professional writing and technical communication. Provides practice in planning and conducting user evaluations, interpreting data and reporting results, and managing the participant process, with attention to human subject research policy and protection. Course projects will evaluate users’ experience with print and /or electronic materials such as software documentation, training materials, brochures, or web pages. Topics may focus on usability, accessibility, or qualitative evaluation. When course content varies, the course may be repeated with permission of the department.

ENG 6331 Grant Writing for Nonprofit Management (3-3-0)
Prerequisite: Graduate standing or departmental approval. Practice in writing grant proposals of varying scope, complexity and type primarily for non-profit contexts. The course will cover identifying funding sources; evaluating grant proposals; writing need statements, letters of intent, outlines, goals, and objectives; and creating and justifying a budget.

6360 Special Topics in Technical and Professional Communication (3-3-0)

Selected topics in writing for industry, linguistics, pedagogy, and rhetorical or discourse theory. When course content varies, course may be repeated by permission of department.

6380 Internship (3-3-0)

Provides industry experience for students. Writing or design projects developed in the course may be tested and used for the capstone project or portfolio.

6390 Directed Research (3-3-0)

Supports and guides student research for thesis or capstone project. Students enroll in this course during the semester they intend to research, develop, and propose a thesis or capstone project.

6391 Thesis (3-3-0)

Provides direction and support for students during the semester in which they intend to complete their thesis and graduate. No credit is awarded until the thesis is approved by the thesis committee and the student has passed an oral exam on the thesis and graduation portfolio.

6392 Capstone Project (3-3-0)

Provides an alternative to the thesis. Students may complete a capstone project in which they propose and design a long document for a real-world audience. The project typically includes a form of usability testing and rewriting. No credit is awarded until the capstone project is approved by the thesis committee and the student has passed an oral exam on the project and graduation portfolio issues; ethical and intercultural implications; and professionalization.


MSTC Degree Director
Natalia Matveeva, Ph.D.
(713) 222-5371



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Last updated or reviewed on 9/17/14

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