Technical Writing and Communication
Certificate Program

Technical Writing and Communication

Clarity of word and presentation

Enroll in Certificate View Individual Courses

Certificate Description

Transform jargon into clear communication.

In addition to sharpening your grammar and writing style, our Technical Writing and Communication students learn to translate complex ideas into readable materials such as technical manuals, medical papers and business communications. You will focus on five areas: Technical Communication Fundamentals; Advanced Topics in Communication; Project Leadership; Tools and Technologies; and Engineering Communication. This certificate program offers the latest approaches to information architecture, business communications, and web content management.

Technical Writing and Communication certificate program objectives

  • Apply technical writing strategies to various types of technical information
  • Write test cases and work collaboratively on iterative development
  • Develop information and project plans for technical documentation
  • Understand human factors and the psychology of users
  • Decode information architecture and design

Required Credits: Total Required: 10 courses/14.5–18.0 units: Take 7 core courses (12 units) and 3 elective credit courses (2.5–6 units). End with certificate of completion review.
Duration: A full-time student can complete the certificate in 6–12 months.


Course Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
1. Technical Communications Fundamentals
Developing Technical Information from Plan to Completion 2.0
Grammar and Style for Technical Communicators 3.0
Technical Communication: An Introduction to the Profession 1.5
Technical Writers' Workshop 1.0
Writing Successful Instructions, Procedures and Policies 1.5
2. Advanced Topics in Communications
Final Project: Preparing Your Job Search 1.5
Information Architecture and Design Basics 1.5
3. Elective Courses (choose three)
Human Factors for Technical Communicators 2.0
Minimalist Design for Documentation 0.5
Usability Testing Documentation 1.5
4. Required Certificate Review
Technical Writing Certificate Completion Fee None

Certificate Inquiry Form

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Speak to a student services representative.

Call (408) 861-3860


Advisory Board

Andrea L. Ames, chair

ANDREA L. AMES, M.S., a senior technical staff member and information experience strategist and architect at IBM, specializes in user-centered information usability, strategy, architecture, and design. Her specialty is architecting and designing information for software user interfaces, such as labels, embedded instructional text, and hover help, as well as driving the interfaces using her information to be as easy to explain as possible before developing traditional documentation. She is a fellow and past president (2004-05) of the Society for Technical Communication and a distinguished engineer of the Association for Computing Machinery. She teaches at the university level, has taught at UCSC Extension since 1998, and is in demand as a conference speaker internationally.

Declaring Candidacy

You can enroll in a certificate program any time during your studies.

Once you create your student account, you can enroll in a certificate program. Although you can enroll in a program at any time, the benefit of enrolling early is that it locks in your certificate requirements. This means that even if program requirements change, the requirements to complete your certificate will remain the same for you.

  • You must enroll in the certificate program before enrolling in the Certificate Completion Review.

You have a total of five years to complete all necessary courses in a certificate program.

All the necessary units in a certificate must be completed within a five-year window. The clock begins on the first day of your first course in the certificate program. For example, if you started a course on Sept. 5, 2017, you would have to complete all of the required units in this certificate by Sept. 4, 2022.

  • Enrolling in a certificate program does not trigger the beginning of the five-year window. It begins the first day of the first course that applies to a certificate program.
  • The Certificate Completion Review process does not have to occur within the five-year timeframe.

Grade Requirements

Please note that only letter grades of C- or higher may be applied to a certificate, and in some programs, students may have more stringent requirements. Students in most employer- and government-sponsored payment programs, such as workforce development, as well as international students on F-1 visas, need to maintain a B average to meet their requirements. Personal Financial Planning students have additional grade requirements for individual courses to attain a certificate.

See Grading and Credits Policy for further information.

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