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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Master’s (MA) Degree

Page address: http://english.mnsu.edu/techcomm/tcma.html

The graduate program in technical communication prepares students to be professional information developers, technical or professional writers, and editors who are skilled at using the written and spoken word, along with visuals, to effectively inform and instruct a wide range of audiences. Graduates typically pursue work in industry, teaching opportunities, or doctoral studies. All coursework for the Master of Arts in English: Technical Communication Option may be completed in residence or online. Students who are 100% online learners pay resident (in-state) online tuition.

The core curriculum includes a combination of practical, skills-oriented coursework (such as manuals writing, web design, and technical editing) and theory-based coursework (such as technical and scientific literature and rhetorical theory courses, including visual rhetoric). All courses must be in the English department with the exception of courses approved by the technical communication faculty.

Students who are graduate or teaching assistants or who work full time typically complete the degree in two years.

Up IconAdmission Requirements

Applicants must submit a one-page personal statement (to the tech comm program director and the director of English graduate studies), describing their background and interests in technical communication. Entrance requirements include at least 28 quarter or 18 semester hours in one or more of the following areas: literature, linguistics, speech, or mass communications.

The GRE is not required as part of the admissions material for this program.

Candidates whose native language is not English must have a TOEFL score of 550 or above.

Application information (including an online application form) is available from the College of Graduate Studies and Research.

Up IconProgram Requirements

Completion of the degree requires designated coursework, an internship, and a thesis, an alternate plan paper, or the capstone course—all of which include a public presentation. At least 50% of the credits, excluding thesis or APP credits, must be at the 600 level.

Designated coursework:

  • Thesis Plan: 30 credits
  • Alternate Paper Plan: 34 credits
  • Capstone Course: 34 credits

Required Courses: 14 credits

Course # Course Title
Credits
ENG 575 Editing Technical Publications
4
ENG 576
     or
ENG 577
Online Documentation

Technical Documentation, Policies and Procedures
4
ENG 673 Research and Theory for Technical Communicators
3
ENG 679 Rhetorical Theory Applied to Technical Documents
3

Elective Courses: 9-16 credits

Course # Course Title
Credits
ENG 567 International Technical Communication
1-4
ENG 568 Document Design & Usability
4
ENG 569 Project Management in Technical Communication
4
ENG 571 Visual Technical Communication
4
ENG 572 Topics in Technical Communication*
1-4
ENG 573 Desktop Publishing
4
ENG 574 Researching and Writing Technical Reports
4
ENG 576
     or
ENG 577
Online Documentation

Technical Documentation, Policies and Procedures
4
ENG 674 Topics in Technical Communication*
1-3
ENG 676 Instructional Design for Technical Communicators
3
ENG 678 Technical and Scientific Prose
3
ENG 680 Proposals
3

*May be repeated under various topics.

Internship: 3 credits

Course # Course Title
Credits
ENG 698 Internship*
3-6

*Those with industry experience may petition to substitute 600-level elective credits in technical communication for the Internship (Eng 698) requirement.

Thesis, Alternate Plan Paper, or Capstone Course

Course # Course Title
Credits
ENG 699 Thesis
3-4
ENG 694 Alternate Plan Paper
1-2
ENG 696 Capstone in Technical Communication
3

At least 50% of the credits for the degree, exclusive of thesis or APP credits, must be 600-level credits.

Up IconTechnical Communication Program Director

For more information about the technical communication program, please contact

Dr. Gretchen Perbix
English Department
Minnesota State University, Mankato
230 Armstrong Hall
Mankato, MN 56001
Telephone: (507) 389-5506
E-mail: gretchen.perbix@mnsu.edu

Up IconEnglish Department Graduate Director

For more information about the English Department graduate programs at the Minnesota State University, Mankato, please contact

Professor Melissa Purdue
Director of English Graduate Studies
Department of English
Minnesota State University, Mankato
230 Armstrong Hall
Mankato, MN  56001
Telephone: (507) 389-5510
E-mail: melissa.purdue@mnsu.edu

Up IconInternships

The Mankato region is home to growing software, medical, and publishing industries as well as to a number of manufacturers and agribusinesses; MSU, city and county government, and new business-education partnerships provide additional internship possibilities. Students and graduates also find internships and employment in the Twin Cities (70 miles north) and Rochester (75 miles east).

Up IconTransfer Credits and Credit by Exam

Students may transfer a limited number of credits into their graduate program in accordance with the policy on transfer credits in the Graduate Bulletin. Contact the program director for procedural details.

Students who possess professional expertise may be eligible to 'test out' of classes in accordance with the policy on credit by examination in the Graduate Bulletin. Students may earn up to 6 credits at a substantial savings. Contact the program director or the course instructor for procedural details.

Up IconSociety for Technical Communication (STC)

Minnesota State University, Mankato has an award-winning MSU Student Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) that offers a number of opportunities for professional growth:

  • chapter activities and opportunities to exchange ideas with other technical communication professionals
  • a scholarly journal, Technical Communication, newsletters (Intercom, the national newsletter; Interchange, the national student newsletter, and Techniques, our student chapter's newsletter), and STC publications (reference materials, manuals, anthologies, and several others)
  • annual national, regional, and local conferences, seminars, and programs
  • employment information, scholarships, and research grants
  • MSU student chapter newsletter, Techniques, which affords opportunities to write for publication and to acquire editing and publishing experience
  • local, regional and national competitions and awards

MSU Technical Communication students may find the Twin Cities STC Chapter particularly useful for their professional advancement.

Up IconCareers in Technical Communication

Graduates have numerous career options open to them of which technical writing and editing for the computer industry, grant writing, governmental and corporate publishing, environmental writing, as well as publication information, are but a few. Candidates choosing the Technical Communication Option in English will find the degree appropriate preparation for careers in independent consulting, government and business writing, and technical and scientific writing and editing.

Up IconComputer Facilities

Minnesota State Mankato is a leader in wireless communication, offers state-of-the-art computer classroom facilities, and provides the largest campus computer lab in the region.

In addition to providing computer classrooms and workstations for individual use, the Academic Computer Center (ACC) provides specialized software (through MavAPPs) for 100% online learners. Furthermore, Minnesota State Mankato students receive free access to software tutorials through Atomic Learning.

All students receive email accounts and server space (MavDisk) as well as access to the campus learning management system (D2L). The entire campus is served by MavNet, a wireless network. Students who are 100% online learners should have DSL or cable access to the Internet.

Up IconFinancial Assistance

The Department of English employs about 40 teaching and research assistants at stipends of approximately $9000 over two semesters.  Assistants receive full tuition remission for up to 18 credits over the academic year (two semesters). All graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of six credits per semester. Assistants are provided office space and have faculty library privileges.

Teaching Assistants in the English Department typically teach freshman composition. The TA Director provides a supportive atmosphere where assistants learn composition theory and pedagogy. In addition, assistants are trained in the latest methods of computer-assisted writing instruction. For more information, visit the English Graduate Assistantships web page.

Other assistantships are available from Student Affairs, Learning Center, Memorial Library, and Residential Life offices of the University. For a list of available graduate assistantships, visit the Human Resources Job Posting web page on the College of Graduate Studies web site.

Although the vast majority of graduate assistantships are awarded to students studying in residence, MSU has provided a small but growing number of assistantships to 100% online learners.

For information about other types of financial assistance, students should consult Student Financial Services.