Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication

Do you like writing and design? Are you someone who pays attention to detail? Are you interested in technology or science? If so, a major in technical communication is right for you.

What do technical communicators do?

Technical communicators work to make technical (including scientific and business) information understandable. With a major in technical communication, you prepare yourself for a variety of careers, such as these:

  • Editor
  • Social media writer
  • Information architect
  • Grant and proposal writer
  • Usability researcher
  • Website designer

But you aren’t limited to these career paths. A major in technical communication means that you know how to solve communication problems. You know how to develop, revise, organize, and edit information so that others—often nonexperts—can understand it and use it. With these knowledge and skills, you have a world of career options available to you.

What is the technical communication program like?

The curriculum gives you a strong liberal-arts foundation, and you’ll learn how to apply that knowledge to diverse communication situations, such as building and testing a website or writing a grant proposal for a nonprofit organization. That is, while you build conceptual knowledge, you’ll also engage in hands-on learning to develop your skills. In the program, you’ll learn to use a variety of software programs, such as Adobe InDesign.

The program features an internship program, and working as an intern is strongly encouraged because you’ll develop skills you cannot learn in a classroom. You can intern on or off campus. Students have worked as interns at diverse locales, including John Deere, Workiva, the College of Engineering, Ames Historical Society. The internship possibilities are vast.

In the program, you’ll also take six credits in a related technical, scientific, or design field. These courses ensure that you have a specialty to which you can apply your communications. You will design your concentration to meet your career goals in consultation with your advisor. (If you have a second major or if you minor in technical communication, you won’t need to take these six credits.)

What classes will I take?

Beyond your general education courses, you’ll take courses such as these:

  • ENGL 309: Report and Proposal Writing
  • ENGL 310: Rhetorical Analysis
  • ENGL 313: Rhetorical Website Design
  • ENGL 415: Business and Technical Editing
  • ENGL 416: Visual Aspects of Business and Technical Communication
  • ENGL 505: User Experience Architecture and Testing
  • ENGL 529: Content Management
  • ENGL 549: Multimedia and Interaction Design

And you’ll have the opportunity to take other upper-level courses as well.

Who should I contact about a major in technical communication?

For more information about this fast-growing major, contact Samantha Robinson-Adams, the advisor for the program. You can reach her at or 515-294-5206. Or, you can see her face-to-face in Ross Hall 307. She will be happy to guide you through a four-year plan, describe courses in further detail, and discuss potential career opportunities!