Chatham University

Master of Professional Writing – Technical Writing Concentration

As everyday practices and corporate technologies grow ever more complex, there is a growing need for technical writers who can cut through the jargon and extract the essence of ideas. Through a combination of writing and design skills, technical writing takes complex technical information and presents it simply for multiple audiences. Technical writers are employed in a wide variety of fields, including science, technology, medicine, robotics, sustainability, education, and finance. Because of the high demand for jobs, employers are able to be very specific in their requirements for employees, and technical writers with specialty training gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

The MPW Technical Writing concentration introduces key skills in Technical Writing and Editing, and then allows students to apply these fundamental skills in content courses such as Science & Environmental Writing and Grant Writing. Because so many technical writers train others in best practices, the program's Teaching Technical Writing course helps students develop as facilitators of learning for the craft of technical writing. In the final semester, students will have the opportunity to develop a professional portfolio and work on real projects for local clients.

Concentration requirements

The Technical Writing Concentration required a total of 10 courses:
2 core courses – click course for description
PWR601 Introduction to Professional Writing

This foundational course is designed as an introduction to professional writing genres, models, standards, and formats of the online Master of Professional Writing degree. The course features practical writing and editing experience in a collaborative work environment. The class will establish a basic level of writing skills among MPW students and will begin with the development, or enhancement, of students' skills in analysis, synthesis, summarizing, and expository writing. In the latter part of the course, students focus on the techniques that make professional writing flow and hold the reader's interest. A workshop approach helps beginning writers learn to craft their work so that it reads smoothly and communicates effectively. Topics include creating leads that command interest, developing a story idea without floundering, making graceful and unobtrusive transitions, enriching the theme, and perfecting the ruthless art of self-editing. Students write short essays and critique their own published work.

3 Credits
PWR699 Professional Writing Portfolio

This course must be taken as each student's last course in the MPW program. This capstone course is a self-directed, guided independent practicum in which the student will produce a written project to the specifications of a "client" in one of the disciplinary areas of study. At the same time, students will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop-style program in which they will analyze the editorial and communication interests of various consumers of writing services (corporate communication offices, magazines, online venues, etc.). The workshop will explore many areas of the business of being a writer and cover copyright and contracts, cover and query letters, standard business practices - and strategies for success.

3 Credits

5 concentration courses – click course for description
PWR606 Grant Writing

This course focuses on teaching the conventions and fundamentals of writing successful grants for nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies.

3 Credits
PWR616 Technical Writing

This course teaches students how to prepare letter reports and technical reports about subjects that require technical explanations, diagrams, charts, and jargon understood by technical readers. In addition, this course teaches students how to present technical information to technical readers so they understand the concepts and can apply them in their work.

3 Credits
PWR617 Teaching Technical Writing

This course prepares the student to seek technical writing training and teaching positions, as well as pursue subsequent doctoral studies in professional writing. Topics covered include best-practices in teaching, as well as developing course objectives and syllabi. Professional journal publishing and curriculum vita preparation will also be presented.

3 Credits
PWR632 Science and Environmental Writing

This course focuses on the practice of writing about science, environment, medicine, and technology for audiences ranging from the general public to scientists and engineers. It starts with basic science writing for lay audiences, emphasizing organization and clear writing techniques and also explores problems of conveying highly complex technical information to multiple audiences, factors that influence science communication to the public, and interactions between scientists and journalists.

3 Credits
PWR694 Client Project

This required course for the Web Content Development concentration includes working on a client project for a real business customer. Students learn to develop statements of work, client agreements, and gain experience with direct application of web content development principles.

3 Credits

• 3 electives courses from the MPW curriculum.