Master of Science in Technical Communication

Campus Locations Online
Also available 100% Online Yes
Other Format(s)
Credits Required for Graduation 46
Entry Terms Fall Quarter, Winter Quarter, Spring Quarter, Summer Quarter
Meets International Visa Requirements No


Technical communication is a well-established field with a broad range of career opportunities. There is an ongoing need for expert communications professionals who can convey technical information to various types of audiences. In response, Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies offers the Master of Science in Technical Communication.

This online master’s degree is designed to improve your technical communication skills needed in today’s diverse workplace and provide you the opportunity to use those skills across a variety of disciplines and professions. With three concentrations to choose from, this graduate degree in technical communication can help advance your career in technical communication as a technical writer, usability expert, content strategist, or technical trainer.

Program Objectives

  • Strengthen your ability to write clear and accurate technical information
  • Learn how to create end-user and developer documentation
  • Build on your editing skills to effectively edit both your work and the work of others
  • Understand the legal, ethical, and cultural issues pertaining to technical communication
  • Become familiar with the latest tools in the technical communication workplace
  • Discover how to design and create technical information for specific audiences
  • Acquire usability, user experience, instructional design, and content strategy techniques that are often required in this increasingly diverse field
  • Learn the nature and practical application of working within globally dispersed teams 

Career Outlook

As companies diversify the way they convey technical and scientific information, people with exceptional writing and communications skills as well as a strong technical inquisitiveness and background enjoy solid job prospects. According to a study by the American Association of American Colleges and Universities, 89 percent of prospective employers value effective written and oral communication skills more than any other skill.

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employment of technical writers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations, primarily due to the continuing expansion of scientific and technical information as well as the growing presence of customer service and web-based product support networks.

Interested in Learning More?

- MS in Technical Communications Overview

- Industry Trends and Career Outlook in Communications and Digital Media

- Communications with a Cutting Edge: Virtual Meetings




Please note: Students who started this program prior to Fall 2017 should follow the curriculum reflected on their DegreeWorks audits via the self-service tab of their myNEU portal.  Please consult your advisor with any questions.


Required Courses (20 q.h.)

Complete all of the following courses:

TCC 6100 Introduction to Technical and Professional Writing 4 q.h.
TCC 6102 Editing Technical Content 4 q.h.
TCC 6110 Information Architecture 4 q.h.
TCC 6120 Usability 4 q.h. 
TCC 6850 Technical Communications Capstone Project* 4 q.h.

*Should be taken as final course in the program.

Concentrations (16-18 q.h.)

If students prefer to focus their studies on a particular concentration, they may select 16-18 q.h. from one of the concentrations below, and complement their studies with 8-10 q.h. of elective courses (listed at the end of the curriculum), to meet the minimum 46-q.h. degree requirement.

Students are not required to complete a concentration. Any combination of 26 q.h. from concentration and elective courses will satisfy degree requirements.


Computer Industry Writing Concentration (16 q.h.)

Choose four of the following courses

TCC 6430 Writing for the Computer Industry 4 q.h.
TCC 6440 Advanced Writing for the Computer Industry 4 q.h.
TCC 6400 Structured Documentation 4 q.h.
TCC 6450 Managing Technical Publications 4 q.h.
TCC 6410 Online Documentation  4 q.h. 


Social Media and Online Communities Concentration (17-18 q.h.)

TCC 6710 Content Strategy 4 q.h.

Choose four of the following courses:

CMN 6035 Legal, Policy, and Ethical Issues in the Digital Era 3 q.h.
CMN 6045 Leveraging Digital Technologies: Strategy, Assessment, and Governance 3 q.h.
CMN 6065 Implementation and Management of Social Media Channels and Online Communities 3 q.h.
DGM 6285 Interactive Marketing Fundamentals  4 q.h. 
DGM 6290 Social Media and Brand Strategy Implementation 4 q.h.

Usability/User Experience Concentration (16 q.h.)

Choose any combination of the following courses to complete 16 q.h.:

TCC 6710 Content Strategy 4 q.h.
TCC 6470 Web Accessibility for Technical Communicators 4 q.h.
TCC 6490 Usability Testing for Technical Communications 4 q.h. 
DGM 6268 Usable Design for Mobile Digital Media 4 q.h.
TCC 6610 Prototyping 2 q.h.
TCC 6620 Collecting User Data 2 q.h.
TCC 6420 Information Design for the Web 4 q.h. 

Open Electives (8-10 q.h.)

Choose a combination of 8-10 q.h. of electives from the list below and any concentration courses above:

TCC 6200 Ethics in Technical Communications 4 q.h. 
TCC 6480 Instructional Design for Technical Communicators 4 q.h.
TCC 6630 Introduction to XML 2 q.h.
TCC 6640 Wiki-Based Documentation 2 q.h.
TCC 6495 Document Design 2 q.h. 

Required minimum credit hours: 46 q.h.

Admissions Requirements

Below are the official Admissions Requirements for this program.

  • Online application
  • Statement of purpose (500-1000 words): identifying your educational goals and expectations from the program; please be aware that the University's academic policy on plagiarism applies to applicant's statement of purpose
  • Professional resume: Current resume that displays job responsibilities, relevant experience, and education history
  • Two letters of recommendation: from individual(s) with either academic or professional knowledge of your capabilities, such as a faculty member, current employer, mentor, or colleague
  • Official undergraduate degree documentation
  • Proof of English language proficiency: ONLY for students for whom English is not their primary language: English language proficiency guidelines
  • Website Transcript Copy: To submit and complete your application you are able to upload your unofficial transcript directly to your online application. It can be uploaded in PDF format directly to the online application. Please ensure that the scanned documents are readable and include all courses, grades, (i.e. marks, scores, etc.) and credits completed to date. The scanned documents should also include information pertaining to the institution's grading scale. If accepted, you will additionally need to provide your official transcript. In order for a transcript to be "official," it must be in a sealed envelope from the transferring college or university.

For general admissions information and recommended admissions deadlines, Graduate Admissions.

All requirements must be received prior to review.


Estimated total tuition for this program is $31,786.00.

Tuition for individual courses is based on the number of quarter hours. Most courses are 3-6 quarter hours. See Graduate Tuition Rates for details.

Use our Tuition Calculator below to see if transfer credit or tuition reimbursement from your employer could reduce your total tuition.

Tuition Calculator

Degree Type


Please note: The estimated total tuition is based on tuition rates for Academic Year 2017-18 and does not include any fees or other expenses. Some courses and labs have tuition rates that may increase or decrease total tuition. Tuition and fees are subject to revision by the president and Board of Trustees at any time.

*A maximum of 9 quarter hours of graduate- or doctoral-level credit obtained at another institution may be awarded as Advanced Graduate Credit to the Doctor of Education program.

Student Profile

Who Will Your Classmates Be?

This program is designed for both existing technical communicators and people looking to move into the field of technical communication. Incoming students come from a variety of industries such as, computer and software fields, customer support, publishing, teaching, and various business fields. Graduates typically pursue careers as, technical writers, tool experts, content creators, content strategists, and usability/UX professionals. An undergraduate degree is required.

Leah S.

Technical Writer


About her classmates: “My classmates came from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and locations. I learned what 'technical communicator' meant in different industries and got a better sense of all the different roles a technical communicator could have. Being able to discuss ideas, solutions, or just anecdotes with my classmates was extremely beneficial and, in some cases, was just as valuable as the course material itself.”

About the coursework: “Enrolling in a program that's 100% online meant that I could plan around my schedule to get the work done. The amount of time committed was dependent on my week. Assignments included general discussion posts, copy editing, and research papers, as well as more challenging assignments such as redesigning an information architecture or using DITA to create an XML help system.”

Jason O.

Technical Writer


About his classmates: “The range in age, experience, and nationalities of my classmates enriched my experience immeasurably through their feedback, criticism, and encouragement. Their points of view represented a great reflection of what I encounter on a daily basis.”

His experience after graduating: “The Master of Science in Technical Communication program focused my career direction, while utilizing my previous experiences. I now have a great job in my chosen career field, which is a direct result of the degree that I earned at the College of Professional Studies.”


Learning Outcomes

Program Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Specialized Knowledge
    Assess methods of managing technical information, describe the major methodologies and/or practices employed, and implement those methods and practices through a variety of tools and projects.
  2. Broad and Integrative Knowledge
    Create discrete projects using interdisciplinary approaches in the workplace, incorporate multiple resources, fully document the sources, and articulate in writing how these elements influenced the resulting project.
  3. Applied and Collaborative Learning
    Create, design, implement, and research usability issues in technical communication, as well as articulate the rationales for using various methodologies to create user assistance tailored to an appropriate audience.
  4. Civic and Global Learning
    Create sustained arguments and reflections regarding the major legal, ethical, and intercultural issues in the technical communications field and articulate the challenges of facing those issues in the workplace.
  5. Experiential Learning
    Synthesize and transfer learning to new, complex situations within course work or beyond the classroom.

Talk to an Enrollment Coach

We can walk you through your program options and the application process.


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Next Term Starts
  • Summer Graduate
    Jul 10, 2017 (4-, 6-, and 8-week classes)
    Aug 7, 2017 (4-week classes)
  • Fall Undergraduate
    Sep 4, 2017 (7.5- and 15-week classes)
    Oct 25, 2017 (7.5-week classes)
  • Fall Graduate
    Sep 18, 2017 (6- and 12-week classes)
    Oct 30, 2017 (6-week classes)

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