Major with Concentration in Professional and Technical Writing

The Bay Area needs well-trained technical writers and editors. The high-tech companies of Silicon Valley require people who are able to write quality manuals, reports, and web updates; write clear business reports and promotional materials; communicate effectively both with consumers and within the company; and understand each step of the publication process. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that demand for technical writers will continue to increase for the foreseeable future, especially in regions of the country like ours. Download more information about the demand for technical writers.

So what is Professional and Technical Writing (PTW)? Simply put, PTW is writing done in a workplace environment designed to persuade, inform, or instruct. While “professional” generally applies to business writing and “technical” generally applies to writing about technical topics, most professional writers would find the distinction superficial because they are frequently required to do both. 

SJSU’s program (formerly called “Career Writing”) has been going strong for over 30 years and our graduates work at nearly every major tech firm in the Bay Area. We have a strong job-placement record and help coordinate paid internships with local employers during the summer and the school year.

To see descriptions of these courses, check the general course descriptions. Faculty usually provide a more extensive description of the courses when they are offered.

Check with the Professional and Technical Writing Program Coordinator at least once each semester to track your progress.


Director of Undergraduate Professional and Technical Writing

Mark Thompson
(408) 924-4433
Faculty Offices 110


Important Form(s)

Bachelor of Arts Worksheet: Professional and Technical Writing
Roadmap for BA in Professional and Technical Writing



Course Requirements

Note: Click on courses for pop-up descriptions.

General Education Requirements 48 units
  Of the 51 units required by the university, 3 may be satisfied by specified major and support requirements. Consult major advisor for details.  

American Institutions (6 units)
  Of the 6 units required by the university, all may be satisfied within general education requirements as specified in the schedule of classes.  

Physical Education 2 units

Requirements in the Major 24 units
  ENGL 56B
ENGL 103
ENGL 193
English Literature, Romantic Era to the Present
American Literature 1865 to Present
Writing Workshop for Majors
Modern English
Capstone Seminar in Literature & Self-Reflection

15 units
  Select one:

English Literature to Late 18th Century

American Literature to 1865
3 units
  Select one:
ENGL 125

Literature for Global Understanding, the Americas
Literature for Global Understanding, Africa
Literature for Global Understanding, Oceania
Literature for Global Understanding, Asia
European Literature: Homer to Dante
3 units
  Select one:
ENGL 144
ENGL 145

Shakespeare I
Shakespeare & Performance
3 units

Requirements in the Professional and Technical Writing Concentration 12 units
  Select one:
ENGL 105
ENGL 135
Seminar in Advanced Composition
Creative Nonfiction Writing
3 units
  ENGL 106
ENGL 107
ENGL 129
Editing for Writers
Professional Technical Writing
Introduction to Career Writing
9 units

Elective Requirements in the Major
9 units
  Take 3 upper division English major courses.  

Foreign Language Requirement 0-10 units
  Completion of 1B course at SJSU or equivalent transfer satisfies the language requirement, as do courses above 1B in any language.  

Electives or Minor 12-22 units