Professional & Technical Writing minor & certificate

About

In the Professional and Technical Writing Minor and Certificate, students hone skills in effective and ethical written communication for professional and technical contexts:

  • Communicating an organization's goals and objectives to a range of stakeholders, 
  • Explaining technical and specialized topics, 
  • Designing and delivering information in a way that meets the needs of specific users and organizations, and 
  • Using a range of technologies to complete written communication projects.

Course-embedded client service projects and an internship (required for the minor and optional for the certificate) allow students to connect their education to their desired career paths. 

The minor and certificate are relevant for students from a variety of academic backgrounds and with a range of career objectives, including (but not limited to) the following: 

  • Social Media & Digital Marketer
  • Grant & Proposal Writer
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Instructional Designer & Corporate Trainer
  • User Experience Designer
  • Technical Writer
  • Corporate Blogger
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Government Communications Officer
  • Healthcare Communications Specialist
  • Scientific Communicator
  • Brand Strategist
  • Search Engine Optimization Specialist
  • Web Content Writer
  • Project Management Specialist
  • Non-Profit Communications Specialist

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Minor Requirements

See the requirements for this minor

Use this printable checklist for advising (double-check requirements with your advisor and WINGS)

Questions? Please contact Dr. Lindsay Steiner (lsteiner@uwlax.edu) or Dr. Chris McCracken (cmccracken@uwlax.edu). 

See the requirements for this certificate

Use this printable checklist for advising (double-check requirements with your advisor and WINGS)

Requirements may be different depending on your course catalog year (this is the year you started at UWL). Check the requirements in your WINGS Advising Report, and talk to your PTW minor advisor for details. 

Questions? Please contact Dr. Lindsay Steiner (lsteiner@uwlax.edu) or Dr. Chris McCracken (cmccracken@uwlax.edu). 

Internships

The Professional & Technical Writing Minor requires a practicum (internship) requirement (3 credits) as a capstone to the student’s experience--ENG 452 (optional for students taking the certificate). 

Approximately 7-10 hours per week during fall or spring semester, students will be participating in a PTW writing internship experience. In that same semester, students will have a corresponding online class to discuss readings/resources and internship experiences, and build the professional portfolio that will come out of the course—all with the goal of developing further students’ understanding of what it means to write in professional settings and for technical contexts. 

You should plan to spend approximately 105-150 hours (7-10 hours/week) at your internship site over the course of the semester. Internships are completed in fall or spring semester, as we are currently unable to offer ENG 452 during summer. However, students are encouraged to do more than one internship and may do an internship without credit during summer to gain additional experience.

Make sure that the internship has a professional supervisor (not another student) with whom you can report to at least once a week. They should regularly delegate work to you and do informal/formal performance reviews/evaluations. Supervisors will do a minimum of two formal evaluations emailed by Career Services (midterm and end-of-semester). 

 

Types of internships appropriate to the PTW minor or certificate:

The PTW internship should be focused on organizationally-situated authorship where the intern is 1) writing within an organization about that organization (e.g. public relations, corporate communications, nonprofit writing, web content writing/strategy, social media writing, grant writing, and so on for an organization or business) or 2) writing about a process/tool/procedure to assist users (technical writing and scientific writing). Sometimes an internship will include a combination of those two areas. 

These types of internships are, for the most part, organizations external to UWL, and are experiences that directly relate to the core courses in the PTW minor. Occasionally, there are one or two internship opportunities with UWL departments/offices that focus on the work described above and connected to the PTW core courses.

These are just a few of the organizations where PTW students have had internship experiences: 

  • Friends of the Marsh 
  • La Crosse Chamber of Commerce 
  • Aptiv
  • Vendi Advertising
  • Great Rivers United Way
  • Children's Museum of La Crosse 
  • La Crosse Historical Society 
  • Apex Missions 
  • Kaplan
  • Downtown Mainstreet, Inc. 

 

  • Allergychoices
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Gundersen Corporate Communications
  • GROW La Crosse
  • La Crosse Area YMCA
  • 7 Rivers Alliance
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the 7 Rivers Region
  • Zen and Pow Studio
  • WisCorps

 

How to plan for the ENG 452 practicum/internship:

  • Plan to complete the ENG 452 practicum/internship after you've completed a few courses in the minor.
  • Start looking and applying for internships at least early/midway through the semester before you plan to take ENG 452.
  • For spring semester internships, you should be searching/applying by midway through fall semester (usually starting in October). For fall semester internships, begin searching/applying midway through spring semester (usually starting in March or April). Some opportunities are posted earlier, some later.
  • Start with HandshakeIndeed.com, and Idealist.org. You may also find opportunities by talking with your PTW advisor and an advisor at Career Services. The Professional & Technical Writing Facebook page also posts internship opportunities. We recommend you check with the PTW instructor teaching ENG 452 that internship opportunities you find work for ENG 452. 
  • You should also schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor in Career Services to help with your search. 
  • Once you have accepted an internship, submit an "experience request" using Handshake.
  • After you submit the Handshake experience request, the professor teaching ENG 452 will receive an email notification. You will then be given permission in WINGS to enroll in ENG 452. The course will automatically be listed as closed, as permissions are required for enrollment. Unless otherwise noted, the ENG 452 course component will occur online in Canvas.
  • You'll then need to start your internship during the first week of the semester in which you are enrolled in ENG 452. 

For more information, contact Dr. Lindsay Steiner at lsteiner@uwlax.edu or Dr. Chris McCracken at cmccracken@uwlax.edu. 

Professional & Technical Writing Speaker Series

What can you do with an English major, minor, or certificate? Join us to learn more! Each semester, professional and technical writers and UWL alumni with different backgrounds and experiences are invited to campus to speak with our students about their work.