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.


See the Career Writing Program Coordinator for information on internships.

Undergraduate Career Writing Coordinator

Mark Thompson
(408) 924-4433
Faculty Offices 110


Important Form(s)

Certificate in Professional and Technical Communication Worksheet (PDF)


Course Requirements

  Passing WST and ENGL 103

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