Master of Science in Technical Communication

Campus Locations Online
Also available 100% Online Yes
Other Format(s)
Credits Required for Graduation 46
Entry Terms Fall Quarter, Winter Quarter, Spring Quarter, Summer Quarter
Meets International Visa Requirements No

Overview

Technical and scientific communication is a well-established field with a broad range of career opportunities. There is an ongoing need for expert communications professionals who can convey technical information to various types of audiences. In response, Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies offers the Master of Science in Technical Communication.

This online master’s degree is designed to improve your technical communication skills needed in today’s diverse workplace and provide you the opportunity to use those skills across a variety of disciplines and professions. With two concentrations to choose from, this graduate degree in technical communication can help advance your career in technical communication as a technical writer, tool expert, content strategist, or technical trainer.

Program Objectives

  • Strengthen your ability to write clear and accurate technical information
  • Learn how to create end-user and developer documentation
  • Build on your editing skills to effectively edit both your work and the work of others
  • Understand the legal, ethical, and cultural issues pertaining to technical communication
  • Become familiar with the latest tools in the technical communication workplace
  • Discover how to design and create technical information for specific audiences
  • Acquire usability, user experience, instructional design, and content strategy techniques that are often required in this increasingly diverse field
  • Learn the nature and practical application of working within globally dispersed teams 

Career Outlook

As companies diversify the way they convey technical and scientific information, people with exceptional writing and communications skills as well as a strong technical inquisitiveness and background enjoy solid job prospects. According to a study by the American Association of American Colleges and Universities, 89 percent of prospective employers value effective written and oral communication skills more than any other skill.

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employment of technical writers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations, primarily due to the continuing expansion of scientific and technical information as well as the growing presence of customer service and web-based product support networks.

Interested in learning more?

- MS in Technical Communications Overview

- Industry Trends and Career Outlook in Communications and Digital Media

- Communications with a Cutting Edge: Virtual Meetings

 


Curriculum

Required Courses (20 q.h.)


Complete all of the following courses:

TCC 6100 Introduction to Technical and Professional Writing 4 q.h.
TCC 6102 Editing Technical Content 4 q.h.
TCC 6110 Information Architecture 4 q.h.
TCC 6120 Usability 4 q.h. 
TCC 6850 Technical Communications Capstone Project* 4 q.h.

*Should be taken as final course in the program.


Concentrations (16-18 q.h.)

If students prefer to focus their studies on a particular concentration, they may select 16-18 q.h. from one of the concentrations below, and complement their studies with 8-10 q.h. of elective courses (listed at the end of the curriculum), to meet the minimum 46-q.h. degree requirement.

Students are not required to complete a concentration. Any combination of 26 q.h. from concentration and elective courses will satisfy degree requirements.

 

Computer Industry Writing Concentration (16 q.h.)


Choose four of the following courses

TCC 6430 Writing for the Computer Industry 4 q.h.
TCC 6440 Advanced Writing for the Computer Industry 4 q.h.
TCC 6400 Structured Documentation 4 q.h.
TCC 6450 Managing Technical Publications 4 q.h.
TCC 6410 Online Documentation  4 q.h. 
TCC 6520 Marketing Writing  4 q.h.

 

Social Media and Online Communities Concentration (16-18 q.h.)

TCC 6710 Content Strategy 4 q.h.


Choose 12-14 q.h. from the following courses:

CMN 6035 Legal, Policy, and Ethical Issues in the Digital Era 3 q.h.
CMN 6045 Leveraging Digital Technologies: Strategy, Assessment, and Governance 3 q.h.
CMN 6055 Planning and Design of Social Media Channels and Online Communities 3 q.h.
CMN 6065 Implementation and Management of Social Media Channels and Online Communities 3 q.h.
DGM 6285 Interactive Marketing Fundamentals  4 q.h. 
DGM 6290 Social Media and Brand Strategy Implementation 4 q.h.


Open Electives (8-10 q.h.)


Choose a combination of 8-10 q.h. of electives from the list below and any concentration courses above:

TCC 6410 Online Documentation 4 q.h.
TCC 6310 Regulatory Documentation Processes  4 q.h. 
TCC 6370 Regulatory Writing: Medical Device Submissions  4 q.h. 
TCC 6380 Regulatory Writing: New Drug Applications 4 q.h.
TCC 6470 Web Accessibility for Technical Communicators 4 q.h.
TCC 6460 Information Management  4 q.h. 
TCC 6480 Instructional Design for Technical Comminicators 4 q.h.
TCC 6610 Prototyping 2 q.h.
TCC 6620 Collecting User Data 2 q.h.
TCC 6630 Introduction to XML 2 q.h.
TCC 6640 Wiki-Based Documentation 2 q.h.
TCC 6710 Content Strategy 4 q.h. 
TCC 6720 Writing for Global Markets 2 q.h. 
DGM 6500 Working with Digital Images 2 q.h.
DGM 6501 Web Creation Bootcamp 2 q.h.
DGM 6503 Flash Intensive 2 q.h.
DGM 6506 Introduction to Digital Video 2 q.h.
DGM 6509 Integrated Suite Workshop 2 q.h.
DGM 6511 Web Creation Bootcamp 2 2 q.h.

Total Quarter Hours: 46


Attention:
If you enrolled before Fall 2012, contact your student success specialist for your curriculum.

Admissions Requirements

Below are the official Admissions Requirements for this program.

  • Online application
  • Statement of purpose (500-1000 words): identifying your educational goals and expectations from the program; please be aware that the University's academic policy on plagiarism applies to applicant's statement of purpose
  • Professional resume: Current resume that displays job responsibilities, relevant experience, and education history
  • Two letters of recommendation: from individual(s) with either academic or professional knowledge of your capabilities, such as a faculty member, current employer, mentor, or colleague
  • Official undergraduate degree documentation
  • Proof of English language proficiency: ONLY for students for whom English is not their primary language: English language proficiency guidelines

For general admissions information and recommended admissions deadlines, Graduate Admissions.

All requirements must be received prior to review.


Tuition

Estimated total tuition for this program is $28,106.00.

Tuition for individual courses is based on the number of quarter hours. Most courses are 3-6 quarter hours. See Graduate Tuition Rates for details.

Use our Tuition Calculator below to see if transfer credit or tuition reimbursement from your employer could reduce your total tuition.

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Please note: The estimated total tuition is based on tuition rates for Academic Year 2014-15 and does not include any fees or other expenses. Some courses and labs have tuition rates that may increase or decrease total tuition. Tuition and fees are subject to revision by the president and Board of Trustees at any time.

*A maximum of 9 quarter hours of graduate- or doctoral-level credit obtained at another institution may be awarded as Advanced Graduate Credit to the Doctor of Education program.


Student Profile

Who Will Your Classmates Be?

This program is designed for both existing technical communicators and people looking to move into the field of technical communication. Incoming students come from a variety of industries such as, computer and software fields, customer support, publishing, teaching, and various business fields. Graduates typically pursue careers as, technical writers, tool experts, content creators, content strategists, and usability/UX professionals. An undergraduate degree is required.

Leah S.

Technical Writer

Leah

About her classmates: “My classmates came from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and locations. I learned what 'technical communicator' meant in different industries and got a better sense of all the different roles a technical communicator could have. Being able to discuss ideas, solutions, or just anecdotes with my classmates was extremely beneficial and, in some cases, was just as valuable as the course material itself.”

About the coursework: “Enrolling in a program that's 100% online meant that I could plan around my schedule to get the work done. The amount of time committed was dependent on my week. Assignments included general discussion posts, copy editing, and research papers, as well as more challenging assignments such as redesigning an information architecture or using DITA to create an XML help system.”


Jason O.

Technical Writer

Jason

About his classmates: “The range in age, experience, and nationalities of my classmates enriched my experience immeasurably through their feedback, criticism, and encouragement. Their points of view represented a great reflection of what I encounter on a daily basis.”

His experience after graduating: “The Master of Science in Technical Communication program focused my career direction, while utilizing my previous experiences. I now have a great job in my chosen career field, which is a direct result of the degree that I earned at the College of Professional Studies.”

 


Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

  1. Specialized Knowledge
    Graduates will be able to write clear and accurate technical information.

  2. Broad Integrated Knowledge
    Graduates will be able to create end-user and developer documentation.

  3. Professional Knowledge
    Graduates will be able to effectively edit written work.

  4. Socially Responsive Knowledge
    Graduates will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the legal, ethical, and cultural issues pertaining to technical communication.

  5. Interpersonal and Technological Communication Skills
    Graduates will be able to design and create technical information for specific audiences using the latest tools in the technical communication workplace

  6. Personal Development
    Graduates will be able to demonstrate techniques in usability, user experience, instructional design, and content strategy while working with diverse, globally dispersed teams.

Talk to an Enrollment Coach

We can walk you through your program options and the application process.

 

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Next Term Starts
  • Winter Term
    Jan 5, 2015 (12- and 6-week classes)
    Feb 17, 2015 (6-week classes)
  • Spring Term
    Apr 6, 2015 (12- and 6-week classes)
    May 18, 2015 (6-week classes)

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