College of Arts & Sciences

Professional and Technical Writing (Graduate Certificate)

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The Graduate Certificate in Professional and Technical Writing is a one year program offering advanced study in core areas of professional and technical writing. The mission of this certificate is to develop professional competency with professional and technical writing: documentation, report writing, visual argument, presentation software, manuals and handbooks, case studies, and related genres. While open to all eligible students, this certificate’s main audiences are active service military personnel who are required to engage in writing on a daily basis, scientists in need of technical writing, and humanities graduate students interested in working in technical writing. For one of our targets, the military provides financial support for continuing education at the graduate certificate or Master’s Degree level and needs trained technical writers for all of its writing demands.

WRD offers a graduate certificate in Professional and Technical Writing. 

The certificate is designed for non-traditional or non-resident students who are interested in continuing their education in professional and technical writing. All courses are online, and the certificate can be completed in a flexible and timely manner.

The certificate is designed for 

  • Active military personnel interested in advancing their writing skills, legal writing, presentation skills, manual writing, policy writing, and other areas relevant to their work
  • Scientists interested in advancing their technical writing skills
  • Technical writers currently working be in need of learning new skills or advancing in their current place of employment.


The certificate requires 9 credits.  Students must take WRD 702, but can choose from two of the remaining three courses. 

WRD 702 Professional and Technical Writing (required). This course teaches the genres of professional and technical writing. 

WRD 612: Ethical and Legal Issues in Technical Writing. This course teaches the genres of legal writing – briefs, advocacy letters, petitions – by asking students to focus on important legal and ethical issues relevant to their workplace (military personnel file such documents on a regular basis regarding injury, death, lost equipment, policy issues; scientists must address ethical and legal concerns of their work).

WRD 614 Visual Rhetoric and Persuasion. This courses teaches the fundamentals of visual expression  - essential to all technical and professional writing -  including document design, video, presentation skills, and the usage of specific visual information tools such as infographics.

WRD 704 Technical Editing. This course offers students extensive work in the editing aspects of technical writing which include attention to style, format, grammar, and punctuation.