Certificate in

Professional & Technical Writing

 

Woman with laptop writing on notepad

Learn to write effectively and clearly communicate complex information in digital environments, workplaces, and community organizations.

Why Professional & Technical Writing?

Communicating complex information and writing effectively and clearly in today's  digital environments, workplaces, and community organizations. The Certificate in Professional & Technical Writing will teach you to analyze and engage readers, design documents and web pages, use a variety of genres and media, and contribute ethically to workplaces and organizations. These skills complement your work in any major and are widely appealing to employers and graduate programs.

In fact, jobs in technical writing are growing faster than the national average, and the median annual pay for technical writers in 2016 was $69,850, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Arizona, technical writing jobs are projected to grow by more than 20 percent by 2024, according to O*Net Online (sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Whether your goal is to strengthen your writing skills, to challenge yourself to learn new media and technologies, or to make connections with businesses and communities, the Professional & Technical Writing Certificate can help you achieve that goal and signal to future employers that you have valuable writing skills.

How to Earn the Certificate

The certificate is currently only offered to degree-seeking undergraduate students at the University of Arizona.

  1. Review the requirements below for completing the certificate
     
  2. Complete the Professional & Technical Writing Certificate Interest Survey. This lets us know you intend to get the certificate.
     
  3. Take ENGL 307 OR ENGL 308, ENGL 313, and an elective. If you want another writing class you have taken to count as your elective, send the course syllabus and your request for it to count as an elective to Sharonne Meyerson.
     
  4. When you are ready to enroll in ENGL 494P (the 1-credit portfolio course that is the culmination of the certificate), contact Sharonne Meyerson, who will verify that you have completed the required courses.
     
  5. Complete your portfolio in ENGL 494P.
     
  6. Upon completing your portfolio, contact Sharonne Meyerson to complete the form we will send to the registrar to make sure the certificate shows up on your transcript.

Certificate Requirements

This certificate can be completed online or through in-person courses. You can also complete the entire certificate using just one textbook bundle (if you take ENGL 307, 308, and 313). 

Introductory Course

Choose one:

    Practice in writing business letters, reports and proposals.

    Analysis and presentation of scientific and technical information.

    Required Course

    An introduction to key concepts and practices of professional and technical writing.

    Electives

    Choose one course:

    This course is intended to give students a practical understanding of beginning techniques of nonfiction writing, taught through exercises, the writing of original nonfiction, and readings in contemporary nonfiction.  The course complements existing courses in poetry (ENGL209) and fiction (ENGL210).  All three courses are intended to improve undergraduate education by providing contact hours with Creative Writing faculty members early in the undergraduate's course of study.

    Multi-genre craft course introducing creative writing craft terms and concepts via intensive reading in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

    Study of genre and rhetorical situation; advanced practice in expository writing.

    Practice in writing business letters, reports and proposals.

    Analysis and presentation of scientific and technical information.

    The origin and evolution of genres in literature, rhetoric, and nonfiction prose, among others.

    Study of English form and use in relation to social and cultural contexts. Topics include regional and social dialectology, attitudes toward variation and change, strategies of interaction, gender and language use, and politeness, power and politics.

    This course examines historical trends in rhetoric, both as a field of study and as a practical art.  The course connects theories of rhetoric to the historical development of literacy, print and electronic media, forms of public discourse, and literature.

    An advanced topics course on environmental literature and rhetoric.  This course will explore issues that concern the literature, film, rhetoric, and cultural representation of the environment, nature, or ecological processes.  Frameworks from the environmental humanities, particularly the methods of ecocriticism, will inform the approaches of the course.

    This course focuses on creative environmental writing and the study of environmental literature across multiple genres.  It is designed for two distinct groups: those in the sciences hoping to deepen their understanding of environmental issues through creative writing and the study of environmental literature, and those in the humanities seeking to further their creative writing skills on the specific subject of the environment.  Course content will include the reading of topical literature that demonstrates a range of formal and aesthetic styles; workshop discussion of student works-in-progress; and writing assignments culminating in a portfolio or series of completed writings.

    This course will consist of both hands-on and academic experience and training in journal publishing; specific sections will be tied to one particular English Department journal.

    Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.

    The practical application, on an individual basis, of previously studied theory and the collection of data for future theoretical interpretation.

    Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

    Writing-Emphasis Course for creative writing majors.

    Preparation of professional literature for publication.

    History of the development of American English from the colonial period to the present. Topics include regional and social varieties, language contact, and slang. Geographic atlas, social survey, and lexicographic research methods are utilized.

    Writing in the practice of law is rhetoric, not simply description or narration or classification or exposition or even "logical" argument. In the practice of law writers are interested in effective writing, not in good writing, except to the extent that what may be considered good writing is also effective (Good writing can be effective writing: bad writing is almost always ineffective.) In this course, we will look at some of the many different kinds of writing lawyers do in the practice of law and learn as we do what it means to read writing not as mere exposition or logical argument but as a kind of action. We will perform several short writing assignments designed to help us address the issues that arise in a number of different kinds of legal writing. Some of this writing will be done collaboratively, as it often is in a law office. The writing will be collected in a final portfolio that will be accompanied by an analysis and estimate of the effectiveness of the writing you have done.

    Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.

    The practical application, on an individual basis, of previously studied theory and the collection of data for future theoretical interpretation.

    Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

    This course will lay a foundation for understanding how stories shape communities, identities, memories, and perspectives on our lives. In addition, this course will provide opportunities for the theoretical analysis of self representation, composite narratives on behalf of others, cultural heritage, and memories as they are preserved and performed within stories and through narrative. Influences on digital digital storytelling such as the sociocultural context, the institutional contexts of production the audience, and the needs or goals of the digital storyteller will be examined. Students will be required to call on their own intellectual, emotional, and imaginative processes, as well as to develop their own skills in digital storytelling, interviewing, oral history collection, and the use of relevant digital storytelling tools.

    This course will lay a foundation for theoretical analyses of how people socially create and negotiate information in the digital age. In addition, this course investigates a variety of approaches ranging from critical/cultural studies to positivist/behavioral research, considering the differing ways to think about social life and information in contemporary times. Broader paradigmatic assumptions (e.g., feminist theory, systems research) as well as specific theoretical topics (e.g., interactivity, mobility, telecommunity) will be examined. In addition, this class will survey the theoretical underpinnings of new media research across a variety of topic areas to include gaming, digital labor, communities, and global culture online.

    *Not all electives are offered every semester. Check Schedule of Classes in Catalog. If you would like to substitute another class for the elective, send the course syllabus and your substitution request to Sharonne Meyerson.

    Writing Portfolio

    Students will explore the theories and practices of professional and academic portfolios while simultaneously designing and developing an adaptive identity and a professional persona for post-graduate settings. Students will synthesize work from past and present courses and experiences. They will make complex composition decisions about content, design, structure, and media of their portfolios in connection with identifiable elements of a given rhetorical situation. Students will discuss and apply legal and ethical issues related to portfolio development and publication of 21st century digital identities.

    Questions?

    Contact Sharonne Meyerson with any questions about registering for a Professional & Technical Writing course and/or about the certificate.