Professional and Technical Communication Concentration

In the PTC concentration, you'll focus on written, oral, visual, and digital communication in technical, scientific, professional, and business fields.  This concentration produces graduates who enter the workforce as leaders who can research and innovate communication solutions in a fast-changing world.

At Tennessee Tech, we offer a B.A. in English with a concentration in PTC and an M.A. in English (PTC).

Students from any major can complete our Certificate in Technical Writing and Communication to enhance their disciplinary skills.

We invite current Tennessee Tech undergraduate English Majors to consider our B.A./M.A. Fast Track Program in English.

> Core Competencies
> Course Progression
> Experiential Opportunities
> Scholarships and Support
> Accomplished Faculty and Alumni

Core Competencies

Many PTC courses are project based and include opportunities for peer feedback as you write, design, and present a variety of documents through technological media. You'll also choose from a range of internship options to further develop communication knowledge for industry.

  • Audience Awareness. Our students learn persuasive communication strategies that are grounded in ethical, social justice, and usability principles, addressing the needs of multiple audiences.
  • Visual Rhetoric and Digital Design. Through a variety of genres, such as digital presentations, web pages, reports, instructions, and grant proposals, students apply rhetoric and design principles to create user friendly, readable, and well-formatted documents.
  • Collaboration with Stakeholders. Through internships, students collaborate with professional stakeholders and audiences to address communication needs and problems through written, oral, and/or digital genres. Internships also provide valuable networking opportunities that often lead to jobs following graduation. 
  • Community Engaged Research. PTC scholars must support their projects with outside research and sometimes conduct their own. In our program, they learn to search for, sort through, and engage with scholarly secondary sources and to direct their own primary research. 

Skills like these transfer to jobs in county government, directing nonprofit initiatives, business branding and advertising, editing, content development, technical writing, and grant writing. 


Course Progression

In our concentration, you'll develop marketable, practical writing skills through courses with a progressive level of depth and detail.  Check out our course options:

PC 2500: Communicating in the Professions

Overview of skills and principles related to oral communications in various professions.

PC 3250: Professional Communication I 

The preparation of effective technical and professional reports; the preparation and delivery of effective oral reports.

PC 3500: Rhetoric and the Internet

Instruction in web site analysis and document design, including background in rhetorical theory and principles. 

PC 3700: Information Design in the Professions

Practical experience in the field of information design: a specialized field in which complex information is presented clearly and efficiently to its intended audience.

PC 3750: Ethics in the Professions

Overview of multidisciplinary ethical issues that affect all disciplines, including privacy, social responsibility, informed consent, morality, responsibility, and professional codes of ethics. 

PC 4850(5850): Internship

Part-time or full-time employment in a business, industrial, or institutional communications setting related to student academic and career goals. 

PC 4940(5940): Technical Editing

Principles and practices of technical editing.

PC 4950(5950): Topics in Professional and Technical Communication

In-depth study of topics relevant to the field of Professional and Technical Communication. 

PC 4970(5970): Professional Communication II 

A continuation of PC 3250 with emphasis on more complex reports.

PC 4990: Business and Grant Proposal Writing

Theory and practical experience developing business and grant proposals.


Experiential Opportunities

Students seated and collaboratively working on a writing projectOur students partner with Rural Reimagined to revise web content and develop social media marketing campaigns for local area businesses.

Many PTC classes feature a community-engaged research or service-learning component, and internships may stretch off-campus to companies like Averitt, Revamp Marketing, and The Biz Foundry.

Students have written grants for these community organizations:  A.A.R.F. (All About Rescue and Fixin’ Inc.), Bryan Symphony Orchestra, Cookeville Children’s Museum, Food to the Rescue, Genesis House, Ghostlight Books, Good Neighbors Theatre, Inc., Highlands Residential Services, Midsouth Youth Theatre & Arts, Northeast Elementary School, Pickett County Cheerleading, SeedFork of the Highlands, Tennessee Tech University Food Pantry, The Biz Foundry, and The Bridge House.

You may even develop a one-on-one research project with faculty members, allowing you to build experience, confidence, and a professional image.

We encourage students in our concentration to join the English Club to network with their fellow English majors.


Scholarships and Support

We offer scholarships to provide financial support for PTC students, such as:

  • Kay G. Ballew Scholarship
  • McGill and Maxine Deberry Vaden Scholarship
  • William W. Jenkins Professional Communication Scholarship 

PTC scholars have been published in numerous professional journals and may go on to acquire higher education through M.A. and Ph.D. programs. Recently, an alumna of our program was recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship.


Accomplished Faculty and Alumni

Our faculty specialists in PTC include Mr. William Fisk, Dr. Kristin Pickering, and Dr. Mari Ramler

Our alumni work for the following companies and organizations, among many others:

  • Tennessee Wildlife Federation
  • Upper Cumberland Development District
  • Tennessee Whiskey Trail
  • Foxtrot Branding
  • Website Content Writer for NASA

Experience Tech For Yourself

Visit us to see what sets us apart.

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Student gestures to a slide while making a class presentation
PTC students complete projects, presentations, and internships to develop professional writing skills.