Technical Writing Bachelor's Degree

Technical writers transform complex information into an easy-to-understand form. Bachelor's degree programs in this field cover writing and formatting techniques along with issues related to technology. Programs are available on-campus and online. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Learn in a Bachelor's Degree Program in Technical Writing?

Bachelor's degree programs in technical writing are available as both on-campus and online programs; they may also be called technical communications programs. Coursework in bachelor's degree programs in technical writing combines training in composition, rhetoric and possibly a technical area of your choice. For example, you could specialize in areas of study such as medical communication, scientific writing or engineering communication.

Available Specializations Medical, scientific, or engineering communication
Common Technical Writing Tasks Operating instructions, assembly instructions, technical manuals
Possible Courses Style, formatting documents, rhetoric
Online Program Duration Two to seven years, depending on completed prerequisites

What Is a Technical Writer?

As a technical writer, it is your responsibility to translate complex technical information into writing that is easy to understand. Usually, technical writers work in science- or technology-related fields. For example, you could write operating instructions, technical brochures, assembly instructions or technical manuals. Technical writers must often have an in-depth knowledge of their field; you may also need to work with technical professionals to gather information. Scientists, engineers and computer programmers are people with whom you might collaborate.

What Courses Will I Take?

Courses at the bachelor's level focus on different aspects of writing and technology issues that are relevant to technical writers. Some programs may also allow you to enroll in a combined degree program, enabling you to complete graduate-level courses and earn both a bachelor's degree and master's degree in five years. Common course topics include:

  • Writing style
  • Document formatting
  • Rhetorical analysis
  • Software documentation
  • Multimedia writing
  • Rhetorical grammar
  • Data mining
  • Principles of computation
  • Medical ethics

How Do Online Programs Work?

Technical writing bachelor's degree programs can be found as fully online programs. These programs typically include the same courses as their on-campus counterparts, but can be completed in 2-7 years, instead of the standard four years, depending on what prerequisites you have completed at the time of enrollment. Online programs typically present the course material through online learning systems, such as Blackboard, as you communicate with classmates and professors through e-mail and discussion boards. Tests are typically given online as well.

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