MaconCatalog : The School of Engineering : Degree Programs : Technical Communication Management (M.S.)
 
Technical Communication Management (M.S.)
The Master of Science degree in Technical Communication Management is an innovative graduate degree that is designed for emerging and experienced professionals in technical communication who want to prepare themselves to assume leadership roles within technical communication organizations. It can build upon bachelor’s degree preparation in technical communication or a scientific or related discipline as well as upon work experience. The M.S. degree combines theory and research with best practice. It thus parallels the educational philosophy in the School of Engineering’s other graduate programs: to provide quality education to emerging and experienced professionals.
Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication Management
Students may choose to pursue a graduate certificate in Technical Communication Management (GCTCM) which requires completion of 5 courses from the TCM curriculum. Certificates can be completed in 1 to 2 years. Certificate students select from among the same classes as the Master of Science in Technical Communication Management (MSTCM) students; however, they may not count electives outside of the TCM program or the capstone research course, TCO 685, toward the certificate.
Admission requirements for the certificate are the same as those for admission to the MSTCM. Students must declare in their application materials whether they wish to pursue the GCTCM or the MSTCM. Students who are admitted to the GCTCM are not eligible for financial aid. However, at any point, GCTCM students with a 3.0 or better GPA may petition to transfer to the MSTCM degree. (NOTE: Students who have declared the MSTCM CANNOT petition to transfer to the GCTCM.) Students can earn the GCTCM or the MSTCM but not both.
Distance Learning
Because of the widespread use of communication technologies in the workplace, and because students are often working professionals, the Department of Technical Communication has made a firm commitment to distance learning for the M.S. program in Technical Communication Management. Careful attention to instructional design and student interaction provide effective educational experiences for distance education students. For more information, please see the MSTCM home page at http://engineering.mercer.edu/ms-tcm.
Online MSTCM Admissions
For those interested in completing the online MSTCM, it should be noted that Mercer University complies with applicable state and federal regulations pertaining to Distance Learning programs, and enrollment in these programs depends on the state laws where the student resides. Mercer University may not be able to offer these programs in your state. There are also special provisions for international applicants interested in the online MSTCM. Please contact the MUSE Graduate Office to discuss this as part of your application.
Degree Requirements
Admission: For full admission, the candidate will hold a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited institution, have at least a 3.2 undergraduate grade point average, and have industry experience. Proficiency in use of the computer is a prerequisite, since students will receive course materials and create projects on the web. Students should also be self-managed professionals and highly disciplined learners.
 
Curricular Requirements: Students will take six or more courses plus a capstone and up to three electives. The degree requires a total of 30 semester hours. Courses are designed to provide both breadth and depth of knowledge and experience in the key subject areas for technical communicators and managers.
The curriculum is as follows:
 
The curriculum is as follows:
TCO 602. Foundations in Technical Communication (3 hours)
TCO 605. Usability (3 hours)
TCO 620. Managing Multimedia (3 hours)
TCO 630. Managing People and Projects (3 hours)
TCO 651. Managing International Projects (3 hours)
TCO 670. Managing Instructional Systems (3 hours)
TCO 676. Visual Communication (3 hours)
TCO 680. Content Management (3 hours)
TCO 685. Project Research (3 hours)
Approved Electives* (3-9 hours)
Total Required: 30 semester hours
 
*Electives may consist of special topics courses, independent research topics, courses taken from Mercer’s MBA program or courses taken from another accredited graduate program; electives require approval of the program director.
 
Project Research, Special Courses
TCO 685. Project Research (3 hours)
TCO 691. Special Topics (var. 1-3 hours)
TCO 699. Independent Research (var. 1-3 hours)
 
Technical Communication Management Minor
Admission to the minor requires the approval of the technical communication management program director. Students approved for the minor complete a minimum of 9 semester hours. Students must perform to the same expectations as all other graduate students seeking the MS degree.
TCO Courses
TCO 602. Foundations in Technical Communication (3 hours)
(Proviso: This course must be taken as the first course in the program by students who have limited experience or education in technical communication.)
An introduction to the history, theory, and practice of technical communication. Students will begin with a study of such topics as rhetorical theory, history of the discipline and its evolution to contemporary practice, research methods in the field, and future directions. Students then move on to study major forms of the discipline such as reports, instructions, proposals, and online communication. Includes collaboration and peer review. Emphasizes audience, purpose, and effective document design in organizational contexts. (Every fall)
TCO 605. Usability (3 hours)
Designing and testing for usability of information products. Course includes study of human factors related to usability, user and task analysis, design of interfaces, and usability testing techniques. Class consists of lectures, seminars, and projects. (Every two years)
TCO 620. Managing Multimedia (3 hours)
A study of the theory and practice of the management of multimedia production, design, and implementation. Students conduct interviews with multimedia professionals, complete a comprehensive evaluation of three multimedia products, and create a persuasive report recommending a multimedia project at their organization. Class consists of weekly lectures and discussion, as well as offline participation in a discussion board. (Every two years)
TCO 630. Managing People and Projects (3 hours)
A study of the best current methods for establishing and managing technical communication organizations, including international and multi-cultural work teams. Topics include developing virtual teams, cross-disciplinary work teams, and international considerations. Class consists of lectures, seminars, and projects. (Every two years)
TCO 651. Managing International Projects (3 hours)
A study of how, in a global business environment, technical communication products must meet significant demands of different cultures and languages. Emphasizes strategies for managing the process to meet these demands. Explores how to balance business needs with culturally diverse users' needs. Investigates how cultural beliefs, attitudes, and values shape the communication process by examining the theory, research, and practices that technical communicators need to consider when internationalizing and localizing communication products. (Every two years)
TCO 670. Managing Instructional Systems (3 hours)
Prepares students to manage instructional systems through alignment with organizational strategic goals. Students will learn how to understand and define the goals of the organization, to align instructional strategies with those goals, and to measure the resulting instructional system’s performance. Students will develop an understanding of the underlying principles and theories on which instructional practices are based and how to adapt and apply these principles to an organization’s specific context. Specific emphasis will be given to the measurement and ROI of instructional systems in an organizational context. Students will learn how to lead and manage instructional systems in diverse settings through a review of relevant theories, implementation models and processes, evaluation strategies, and case studies. (Every two years)
TCO 676. Visual Communication (3 hours)
An exploration of the wide array of elements of visual communication and principles of communication design. Examines the reasons why the design of one document is considered more successful than the design of another. Provides the theoretical, practical, and management background needed to ensure that an organization's communication products, regardless of medium, comply with best practices of visual design. (Every two years)
TCO 680. Content Strategy (3 hours)
Prepares students to think strategically about an organization’s content assets to effectively manage that content throughout its life cycle. Students will learn how to understand and define the goals of the organization to align content strategies with those goals and to measure the performance of the content vis-à-vis those goals. Students will develop an understanding of the underlying principles and theories on which content strategy practices are based and how to adapt and apply these principles to an organization’s specific context. At the end of the course, students will demonstrate these abilities by analyzing a customer’s content and preparing a strategic content plan for that customer. (Every two years)
TCO 685. Project Research (3 hours)
Prerequisite: permission of the program director.
A capstone project in which students research, design, and prototype an information product for use in a particular work setting. Students demonstrate mastery of content, methods, and management skills acquired in the MSTCM program. The research team usually works with a client, with the instructor serving as the supervisor of the project team. (Not open to students who are minoring in technical communication.) Class consists of research, team projects, and production of deliverables. (Every year)
TCO 691. Special Topics (variable, 1-3 hours)
Topics of interest to technical communicators. May be repeated for up to 6 credits towards the master’s degree. (Every other year)
TCO 699. Independent Research (variable, 1-3 hours)
Students who wish to complete independent studies or research must submit proposals and gain approval of the technical communication management program director in order to count these credits towards the master’s degree. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.
(Occasionally)