In all careers, we are called upon to write carefully, thoughtfully, and precisely. In scientific and technical fields, this is of the utmost importance, because communicating difficult-to-understand material requires more than content-knowledge, but rhetorical strategies and the ability to make your writing count. Scientific and technical communication involves valuable tactics that do more than state “just the facts,” but provide nuanced and powerful representations of information and values through rhetorical analysis, user-centered design, and the visual representation of data. Students who complete the Undergraduate Certificate in Scientific, Technical, and Professional Communication (STPC) will be able to communicate their work and the work of others through effective written, oral, and multimedia communication.

The School of Writing, Literature and Film and the School of Arts and Communication support the STPC with courses like Writing for Media, Interpersonal Communication, and New Media Futures. Taking two required courses for the certificate (Science Writing and Technical Writing), you’ll then choose 12 credits from a list of core courses, take a Writing Intensive Course, and then choose 8 more credits from a list of electives. Capping off your experience will be a one-credit portfolio course, where you’ll edit and collect your work to show off your writing and communication skills.

Learning Outcomes

  • Collaborate as a team member on a complex writing and communication project involving several partners and multiple skills, resolving difficulties and differences of opinion.
  • Publish in multiple modes, including print, image, video, audio, etc.; generate material appropriate for unique contexts and audiences; produce ethical, public-oriented and user-centered communication.
  • Produce known genres and adapt them for unique contexts; understand both structural and cultural aspects of different genres commonly used in professional and public settings.
  • Write clear, correct, and stylistically effective prose; edit writing for unique contexts.
  • Critique public communication; assess and articulate complex information from subject matter experts to a broader public; analyze and incorporate the needs and well-being of the public.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of different messages across media types; adapt messages to different audiences and contexts; employ strategies for persuasion, at appropriate times, for a range of purposes.
  • Demonstrate understanding of how communication differs among cultures; identify challenges that arise from these differences; address those challenges ethically, creatively, and effectively.
  • Synthesize technical and scientific communication education in a portfolio of professional work; articulate decisions related to portfolio material selection.


On the Wing Marbled Murrelets by Rachael Vega

Credit Requirements

Required Courses (6 credits)
  • WR 327. *Technical Writing (3)
  • WR 362. *Science Writing (3)
Core Courses (12 credits)

Select at least 12 credits from below:

  • COMM 218. *Interpersonal Communication (3)
  • COMM 316. Advanced Persuasion (3)
  • COMM 322. Small-Group Problem Solving (3)
  • COMM 324. Communication in Organizations (3)
  • COMM 326. Intercultural Communication (3)
  • NMC 240. Survey of Social Media (3)
  • NMC 260. New Media Futures (3)
  • WR 201. *Writing for Media (3)
  • WR 214. *Writing in Business (3)
  • WR 303. *Writing for the Web (3)
  • WR 330. *Understanding Grammar (3)
Electives (Up to 8 credits)

Select up to 8 credits from below:

  • AG 351. *Communicating Agriculture to the Public (3)
  • COMM 402. Independent Study (1–2)
  • COMM 414. Communication Research Methods (3)
  • COMM 416. Ethnography of Communication (3)
  • COMM 426. Intercultural Communication: Theories and Issues (3)
  • COMM 437. Health Communication (3)
  • COMM 454. Advanced Argumentation (3)
  • COMM 464. Rhetorical Criticism (3)
  • FES 493. Environmental Interpretation (4)
  • WR 402. Independent Study (1–2)
  • WR 414. Advertising and Public Relations Writing (4)
  • WR 448. Magazine Article Writing (4)
  • WR 462. Environmental Writing (4)
  • WR 466. Professional Writing (4)
  • WR 493. ^The Rhetorical Tradition and the Teaching of Writing (4)
  • WR 495. ^Introduction to Literacy Studies (4)
  • WR 497. Digital Literacy and Culture (4)
Writing Intensive Course (3–4 credits)

Complete one WIC course of 3 to 4 credits, preferably from the primary discipline and major program of study.

Capstone Portfolio (1 credit)
  • COMM 435. Scientific, Technical & Professional Communication Capstone (1)
  • WR 435 Scientific, Technical & Professional Communication Capstone (1)


  • * Baccalaureate Core Course
  • ^ Writing Intensive Course (WIC)

Major Code: C750

For more information about the certificate, please contact Ehren Pflugfelder at

For questions regarding course overrides or adding courses not listed above to the certificate, contact Liddy Detar,