Scientific and Technical Communication—BA,BS

A Place For Opportunity

Scientific and technical communicators manage communication processes – developing and streamlining document content and design within various organizations, from government to business. At Michigan Tech, you are trained to address complex research questions from multiple perspectives, while gaining real-world experiences in making scientific, technical, and practical knowledge accessible to any audience.
Your STC degree means entering a high-demand field – #4 in Best in Creative and Media Jobs by US News & World Report in 2022. This means plenty of choice about what field you enter: from research and development (R&D) or engineering to user experience, marketing, public relations, or media development.

Watch STC at Michigan Tech video
Preview image for STC at Michigan Tech video

STC at Michigan Tech

A Place for Research and Engagement

At an engineering-based university like Michigan Tech, STC students have a unique opportunity to work directly with their engineering peers. You can join a research group, participate in an enterprise, or engage in senior design projects – leading the communication effort, while learning to collaborate and gaining confidence in developing the right message for your audience. Our students lead.

A Place You Make An Impact

Our graduates are prepared to succeed both here and in their careers through the coursework and extracurricular opportunities available. We instill a growth mindset that challenges our students to reflect on every experience and adapt. Don’t just take our word for it. Hear it from our students.

"I'm definitely thankful for having studied STC at Michigan Tech, just because it was foundational to who I am and my career today and where I am just [in] my life today."

Image of Michigan Tech alumnus Kirsti Wall de Cordero
Kirsti Wall de Cordero '20
BA Scientific and Technical Communication

A Place for Growth

We support our students, ensuring you have the opportunity to gain real-world experiences while on campus:

  • Utilize our network for co-op and internships with domestic and international businesses and organizations
  • Attend national conference and summits with scholarship funds
  • Meet with the STC Advisory Board
  • Enhance your resume, portfolio, and interview skills through workshops
  • Contact our Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Maria Bergstrom, to learn more.

A Place for Involvement

Join the Society for Technical Communication. Our student chapter helps you develop your communication skills on a professional and academic level, using real-world projects across the community. Through your involvement, you can assist in designing, editing, and proofing promotional materials, outreach, research papers, presentations, and reports. You’ll collaborate with others in STC, while learning to communicate across disciplines.

Get involved in Cin-Optic Enterprise; get real-world experience.

Get an internship. Read about student internship experiences.

What Do Scientific and Technical Communicators Do?

  • Produce everything from newsletters to brochures to marketing materials for a variety of organizations and businesses
  • Write and edit manuals, design websites, produce videos, and other multimedia projects for various industries, such as the automobile, computer, aeronautical, medical, and environmental industries
  • Work with engineers, researchers, and scientists in producing reports and articles for publication in specialized technical, medical, or other trade journals
  • Write grants to help non-profit organizations fund useful projects
  • Publish computer documentation, and write digital help files for complex software packages
  • Translate technical and scientific information into other languages
  • Produce sales, marketing, and public relations campaigns
  • Compose and conduct internal training programs
  • Consult for industry on risk communication, and internal and external communications issues
  • Teach Scientific and Technical Communication at the university level (with an advanced degree related to STC)
  • 100%
    STC students with internship experience before graduation
  • #4

    best creative & media jobs, US News & World Report

The degree stood out to me because it helped me translate between people who use technology and people who create it. STC is a degree that incorporates both the creative aspects of learning and the technical aspects of learning. At Michigan Tech, where you're surrounded by engineers and accredited programs, you get the additional experience of working with technical people in a creative way.

Image of Scientific and Technical Communication alumnus Megan Happel
Megan Happel '22
BS Scientific and Technical Communication

Which Is Better For Me, a BA or BS?

Though the degree itself takes its name from the larger rubric of "Scientific and Technical Communication," students may choose between two 120-credit streams within the degree. BS majors tend to take more math and science courses. BA majors typically take more design and multimedia courses. However, BS and BA majors have writing and design requirements, providing a strong foundation in design literacies. BS and BA majors complete an emphasis area (a series of classes taken in a different field of study in order to increase their knowledge of the fields they intend to work in). What students learn in their emphasis area helps them become better, more savvy technical communicators. Increasingly, employers are on the lookout for technical communicators who can show experience in a technical area. BS and BA majors select emphasis courses from any academic program at Michigan Tech.

Major Requirements

  • Major Electives: 24-47 credits in Science Communication, Business Communication, Digital Rhetorics and Design, and/or Rhetoric and Writing
  • Modern Languages requirement: 6 credits
  • Free Electives: 5-20 credits
  • General Education Courses: 39 credits
  • Senior Portfolio and Presentation
  • For specific information about degree requirements, please contact Humanities Undergraduate Advisor, Maria Bergstrom.

Senior Portfolio Presentation

All graduating seniors put together a professional portfolio of written, visual, digital, and design work that highlights their accomplishments in the program and represents them as a professional communicator. The portfolio and an accompanying presentation is required for graduation.

Portfolio Examples

Megan Happell '22

Julia Barnes '22

Your portfolio exhibits different types of projects you have worked on both in the classroom and in the workplace throughout your time as an STC student. Great thing is you are able to keep your portfolio afterwards or donate it to the department archives!

Your senior presentation is a 20-30-minute public and recorded presentation of your professional identity as documented in your work. The portfolio is not the subject of your presentation as much as it may provide a means for you to represent your professional identity. Your purpose is to showcase your best work and expertise as a professional communicator. You may use your portfolio, electronic projection, posters, or other appropriate means to accomplish this purpose.

Courses

  • Introduction to the Field of Scientific and Technical Communication
  • Introduction to Digital Media
  • Graphic and Information Design
  • Public Speaking and Multimedia
  • Professional Development
  • Technical and Professional Communication
  • Grammar and Usage in Society (or) Editing
  • Usability and Instructions Writing
  • Advanced Practicum in STC

Learning Objectives

Disciplinary knowledge

  • Understand the social responsibilities that attend their critical and creative work as professional communicators
  • Demonstrate the abilities to write, speak, and design for a range of audiences, representing diverse stakeholders, with competing and sometimes conflicting interests

Communication

  • Be able to communicate using a variety of media and genres
  • Be able to communicate to diverse audiences with a range of needs

Social Responsibility and Ethical Reasoning

  • Be prepared to engage in problem solving that results in sustainable designs for communication products
  • Understand personal accountability for the impact of products on particular communities

Global Literacy

  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in cross-cultural contexts
  • Demonstrate basic literacy in a modern language and understand its cultural significance

Critical and Creative Thinking

  • Demonstrate the ability to consider issues from multiple perspectives
  • Demonstrate abilities to evaluate and synthesize information from a variety of sources in order to advance innovative communication solutions

Information Literacy

  • Be prepared to use multiple research methods to solve a range of rhetorical problems
  • Understand how to access, evaluate, and use information ethically and legally to accomplish a specific purpose, with a specific audience in mind

Technology

  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of current technology that supports professional practices in the field
  • Demonstrate the ability to learn new and emerging technologies

Knowledge of the Physical and Natural World

  • Understand scientific principles relevant to the field
  • Understand personal responsibility for sustaining the physical and natural environments in which they work