With more than 45 undergraduate and 29 graduate students enrolled as majors, the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Technical Writing (TW) program continues to build its reputation as one of the most successful schools for Technical Communication education. UCF offers degrees at all education levels, from BA to MA and PhD. The undergraduate degree was established in 1986 and the graduate in 1992. The English department is also announcing a new PhD program in Texts and Technology that explores the relationship between technology and textuality in the present and future as well as in the past. This program links English studies with the Art and Film & Animation departments and with the dynamic computer and graphics industries of central Florida. If approved, the program will begin in 2001. In sum, more than 200 students have graduated from the program.
The nine TW faculty members teach 17 undergraduate and 11 graduate courses; students have the option of taking a number of partnered courses through other departments. Undergraduates must complete 12 semester hours of core requirements in math, natural sciences, and statistics. They must also complete at least 42 of their 120 semester hours in TW coursework. Students also choose two of three complementary “tracks”-creative writing, literature, and technical writing. Graduate students must take at least 21 credits in graduate-level TW courses and six advised electives. Two complementary areas are available-creative writing and business writing. Graduate students must also complete an additional core of four courses, an approved project, or a thesis to meet degree requirements. Faculty and students are active in a number of professional organizations including STC.
Program coordinator John Schell, PhD, comments:
UCF’s practical and theoretical Technical Writing program for both undergraduate and graduate is designed to fill the needs of central Florida industry. Being located in a high tech area allows the school to support the companies and the companies to support the school. The programs are successful. The students are successful.
The TW programs fare well for graduating students. The average entry-level salary for the graduates is $30,000-$40,000 per year, and 100% are employed in the industry upon graduation. Graduates have opportunities to work for the “big giants” such as Lucent Technologies, Lockheed Martin Marietta, Siemen’s, Harriscorp, and Xerox Oracle, as well as dozens of smaller software companies. The department itself maintains a current list of job openings with little need for formal recruiting practices. Along this line, the internship program is closing down because, once again, it is not necessary when companies make job offers instead.
UCF’s technical writing prepares the students to fill the communication needs of the business and scientific community. Students learn how to apply the principles of written, spoken, and visual communication to a wide variety of situations, using state-of-the-art software and hardware in the newly improved Technical Writing Computer Laboratory.
The UCF program maintains a comprehensive website of the programs described above at www.pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~english/. Links will take visitors to course descriptions, faculty information, and other technical writing websites.
For more information on the UCF technical writing programs and recruiting programs, contact:
Technical Writing Program Coordinator
Department of English
University of Central Florida
P.O. Box 161346
Orlando, FL 32816-1346