Certificate Program in Professional and Technical Writing


The Bay Area needs well-trained technical writers and editors. The high-technology businesses of the Santa Clara Valley require people who are able to write quality manuals, reports, and papers; write clear business reports and promotional materials; communicate clearly both with consumers and within the company; understand the publication process.

To train students for such writing and editing jobs, the Department of English and Comparative Literature offers matriculated students two ways in which to complete technical writing studies at the undergraduate level:

The certificate program parallels these tracks within a degree program, but offers non-matriculated students a stand-alone program for completing the same training.

Similar to the Concentration in Career Writing, students enroll in upper-division writing and editing courses, English 106107, and 129, in which they receive hands-on experience in planning and writing two publications: The Department of English and Comparative Literature Newsletter and The Writing Life.

These courses concentrate on writing original compositions, using as models documents from the technical community that surrounds SJSU. Writing assignments will include abstracts, proposals, instructions, procedural descriptions, formal reports, and a variety of business communications. Graphic communication, interviewing techniques, document review, and the specific requirements of technical writing will be additional topics.

English 199 allows students to earn college units for work in the field, as a writing or editing intern. An internship is not required. Contact the Career Writing Program Coordinator for information on internships.

With the remaining units, each student builds a program of study that reflects the industry- or genre-specific training that he or she is preparing for. Students meet with the program advisor to map out this course of study.


 

Director of Undergraduate Professional and Technical Writing

Mark Thompson
(408) 924-4433
mark.thompson@sjsu.edu
Faculty Offices 110

 


 

How the Certificate Program works: 


Program Length:
The certificate is 18 credit hours (6 classes). Some students complete the program in two semesters (a regular school year), while others take one class per semester. There is no time limit on completion.

 

Classes: You take classes alongside our undergraduate tech writing majors. Classes meet twice a week, are an hour and fifteen minutes long, and generally start between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. Classes are usually not offered in the summer.

 

Required Classes: There are currently three required classes: Introduction to Career Writing (E129), Editing for Writers (E106), and Professional and Technical Writing (E107). E106 and E107 are not taught every semester, so be sure to plan your schedule accordingly. Additionally, it is STRONGLY recommended that you take Modern English (E103) in your first semester. Beyond these courses, most students take an additional writing class in the English Department, and an elective in the field they are interested in joining (Design, Computer Science, Marketing, etc.) Consult the English Department Course Descriptions (http://www.sjsu.edu/english/undergraduate/gencourse/) and the University Course Catalog for further information. (http://www.sjsu.edu/academics/classes/)

 

Prerequisites: All students are required to take and pass the Writing Skills Test (WST) before admission to the program. This should be scheduled as soon as possible, as there are limited test dates. Go to the WST website for a schedule of test times. (http://testing.sjsu.edu/wst/)

 

Enrollment: Enrollment is handled through Open University, which lets community members take classes at SJSU.  Go to their website for further information. (http://www.sjsu.edu/openuniversity/)

 

Cost: $840/class. $5040/total.

 

Registration: Pre-registration is not available to Open University students. Certificate students should come to the appropriate classroom on the first day of class and let the instructor know they are trying to add. As per University policy, full-time SJSU students are given registration priority over Open University students, so if a class is full, it may be unavailable to you.  Plan your schedule accordingly.

 

Transfer Credit: There is no transfer of credit from outside universities. Classes taken at SJSU will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

 

 


 

Important Form(s)

Certificate in Professional and Technical Communication Worksheet (PDF)

 



Course Requirements

Prerequisite
  Passing WST

Requirements for the Certificate 18 units
    ENGL 106
ENGL 107
ENGL 129
Editing for Writers
Professional Technical Writing
Career Writing 
9 units
  Select three advisor-approved electives, including one Technology elective. May include ENGL 103. 9 units