student advising

student advising

Welcome to the Minnesota State Mankato
Technical Communication Program

Technical communication is a great choice for your major or minor. No matter what job you find, you'll be required to communicate ideas and information, and that's exactly what technical communication classes will help you do. We typically study how people communicate at work and we focus upon making documents that are clear, concise, accurate, thorough, and easy for the audience to use.

What is a technical writer?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for technical communicators is expected to grow faster than most other fields in the next decade. The 2010-11 Occupational Outlook Handbook lists the following significant points about this career:
  • Most jobs in this occupation require a college degree—preferably in communications, journalism, or English—but a degree in a technical subject may be useful.
  • Job prospects for most technical writing jobs are expected to be good, particularly for those with Web or multimedia experience.
  • Excellent communications skills, curiosity, and attention to detail are highly desired traits.
In 2010, the Society for Technical Communication (STC) voted to begin certifying technical communicators in the following areas:
  • User, Task, and Experience Analysis — Define the users of the information and analyze the tasks that the information must support.
  • Information Design — Plan information deliverables to support task requirements. Specify and design the organization, presentation, distribution and archival for each deliverable.
  • Process Management — Plan the deliverables schedule and monitor the process of fulfillment.
  • Information Development — Author content in conformance with the design plan, through an iterative process of creation, review, and revision.
  • Information Production — Assemble developed content into required deliverables that conform to all design, compliance, and production guidelines. Publish, deliver, and archive.
Although certification has significant benefits for practitioners--it recognizes your expertise in and continuing professional development in a specific area--the Technical Communication program at MSU Mankato does not participate in the certification program. However, you will find courses in the program that match up to most of the STC Certification areas, including 
  • ENG 468/568 Document Design an Usability
  • ENG 471/571Visual Technical Communication
  • ENG 473/573 Desktop Publishing
  • ENG 475/575 Editing
  • ENG 469/569 Project Management in Technical Communication
  • ENG 474/574 Researching and Writing Technical Reports
  • ENG 477/577 Documentation, Policies, and Procedures
  • ENG 476/576 Online Documentation
  • ENG 676 Instructional Design for Technical Communicators
  • ENG 480/580/680 Proposals
Visit the Technical Communication program's website for a full list of course descriptions.

Course Requirements

You will be required to take several courses within, and sometimes outside of, the Technical Communication program. We offer four options for your studies:



Registering for Classes

You should think about registering for classes as soon as possible. Our courses fill quickly and it's often easier to switch classes later than to wait and discover that everything you want is full. The online registration system lists courses that are currently being offered, but you can plan your program of study a bit more fully using the Technical Communication Program's course schedule (http://english.mnsu.edu/techcomm/tcschedule.html). This page lists the courses that we hope to offer over the next year, so it should help you plan much of your degree program.

For information on registration, navigate to the registration page (http://www.mnsu.edu/registrar/registration.html) and use your Tech ID number to establish an e-service account. It's fairly straight forward, but if you encounter problems, you can view an online video or email the registration help desk (registration@mnsu.edu) for assistance. 

If you would like information on financial aid or have other questions, you will find many of the answers at http://www.mnsu.edu/campushub/.

Completing a Graduate Degree

When you enter the MATC program, you will be assigned an advisor, a full-time member of the faculty who is available to answer questions, advise your plan of study, and guide you through the program. When you begin working on your capstone project, you may find that you would like to be advised by another faculty member. Making the switch is as easy. First, contact the person you would like to work with and ask him/her if she would consider being your advisor. Share a copy of your capstone project prospectus so that he/she can evaluate whether your topic is a good fit with his/her research and teaching interests. When the faculty agrees to work with you, fill out the Change of Advisor form and email it to your new advisor for signatures.