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Institute of Technical and Scientific Communication

Mission Statement

Admission Requirements

Goals

Degree and Major Requirements

Career Opportunities
Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

Online Publication Concentration
Minor Requirements




Dr. Alice I. Philbin, Director

Phone: (540) 568-8018
E-mail: tsc-program@jmu.edu
Web site: http://www.jmu.edu/tsc/index.htm

Professors
M. Hawthorne, A. Philbin

Associate Professors
E. Pass

Instructors
C. Allen, L. Bednar



Mission Statement

The B.A. and B.S. degree programs in technical and scientific communication offer students instruction in the study of communication in fields traditionally associated with technical or scientific content, such as biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, nursing and physics. The degree programs also provide instruction in components of professional communication that are applicable to technical and scientific communication, such as document design and production, publications management, organizational and managerial communication, rhetoric and communication studies.
The range of courses in technical and scientific communication provides B.A. and B.S. students with advanced communication skills and training that enable them to build productive careers in business, industry, government or academia. The undergraduate programs also introduce students to current communication technologies such as desktop publishing and web page construction that not only enable them to produce documents of professional quality during their studies but also train them in the technological tools that they will use throughout their careers. In addition, students learn the kinds of research, analytical and reasoning skills that will allow them to become leaders in technical and scientific communication. Finally, courses in international technical communication including linguistic theory and application in technical and scientific communication, technical translation, international publication management and document internationalization prepare TSC majors for the global market within the field.
The B.A. and B.S. programs emphasize scholarly, humanistic and social scientific perspectives on the function and application of technical and scientific communication. The central mission of both the B.A. and B.S. degrees, then, is to enable program graduates to grow as professionals and, ultimately, to contribute to the developing field of technical and scientific communication. Finally, in addition to offering students the rhetorical tools with which to excel in the professions as technical communicators, the B.A. and B.S. programs also prepare graduates for academic studies at the master’s level.


Goals and Objectives

The central objectives of the programs are to help students

  • Develop into accomplished writers and editors in the field.
  • Learn how to solve communication problems, whether in written or graphic form.
  • Enhance their understanding of how and why communication works.
  • Develop criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of technical and scientific communication.
  • Apply communication technologies that enhance their ability to design and produce paper and electronic documents of professional quality both in terms of writing and graphics.
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their communication management.
  • Develop advanced research and analytical skills.
  • Create for themselves a concentration or cognate area of study within the technical or scientific field in which they intend to work as professional technical communicators.

Career Opportunities

The TSC B.A. and B.S. degrees are designed primarily for students seeking specialized education in technical communication theory and its application in work-world contexts. They combine work in theory, writing, text design and analysis of communication systems and contexts to help students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to begin careers in technical or scientific communication. The TSC programs are designed to prepare students for a range of communication careers in the field - primarily those dealing with technology and science. According to state and federal labor statistics, technical communicators can expect to enjoy one of the fastest expanding career markets through the year 2005. TSC graduates obtain writing, editing or production positions at an average entering salary of $40,000 with a variety of business and industry employers, most notably the computer hardware and software industry, law firms, health-care providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, engineering companies, publishing houses, environmental concerns, political organizations and technical translation groups of multinational corporations.


Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

The technical or scientific communication internship serves as a capstone experience for B.A. and B.S. students. It requires students to call upon the preparation that they received from their TSC course work to design, write, edit and produce professional documents for internship providers in academia, business, industry and government. The internship is also a useful transition for students as they close their formal academic training to enter professions in technical or scientific communication. The B.A. and B.S. programs offer 15-week internships with local and regional providers affiliated with the TSC program in such fields as telecommunications, writing and editing for publications, graphic design, production and printing, computer software documentation, medical writing, legal writing and government writing. Internships are offered on a competitive basis. To apply for an internship, students

  • Should hold senior standing at the time of the internship.
  • Must submit a TSC internship application.
  • Must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in TSC course work.
  • Must have completed 15 hours of TSC writing course work (including TSC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication or TSC 220. Technical and Scientific Communication for Nonnative Speakers of English, TSC 230. Bibliographic Research in Technical and Scientific Communication and TSC 240. Technical and Scientific Editing).
  • Must provide writing samples from university course work or the work world.

Applicants should submit a completed dossier of the TSC internship application, writing samples and transcript to the TSC director the semester before the semester during which they hope to take the internship.


Admission Requirements

To be admitted into the TSC B.A. or B.S. program, students must first satisfy all university general admission requirements. In addition, applicants to the program must submit to the director of the TSC Institute an application dossier that contains the following material:

  • A completed TSC application form.
  • A copy of the student's record of progress.
  • A background and goals statement of no more than 500 words that explains how the B.A. or B.S. program would prepare the student for his or her anticipated career.

Students' SAT verbal, quantitative and analytical scores are considered in the admission process. Nonnative speakers of English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language and receive a score of at least 550. Applicants may use letters of recommendation and writing samples to support an application for financial aid.


Degree and Major Requirements

Students in either program must successfully complete a minimum of 39 credit hours of undergraduate course work, which includes three core classes (nine credit hours) in Technical and Scientific Communication, nine credit hours of course work in a cognate area, and 21 hours of TSC electives, of which 15 must be at the 300-400 level. In core courses (TSC 210 (TSC 220), TSC 230, and TSC 240) the student must make a C or better. If the student does not, he or she may not register for future TSC courses until a grade of C or better is earned in the core course(s). Of the TSC electives taken, only two courses may be outside the TSC department; the remaining must be TSC courses. B.A. and B.S. majors are required to complete a TSC internship. The B.A. and B.S. programs in TSC are highly interdisciplinary and encourage students to take courses in a variety of fields. Many program electives are offered in departments, schools or programs outside the institute, such as the School of Communication Studies, School of Media Arts and Design, Department of English, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Department of Computer Information Systems and Operations Management, Department of Management, Department of Mathematics, Computer Science Program and Integrated Science and Technology Program. Students should check prerequisites for upper-level electives offered in other departments and schools. Students should also work with department advisers to design a program that fits their unique educational needs and career aspirations. Requirements of the TSC degree might mean that some students will take courses beyond the 120-hour university requirement for B.A. and B.S. degrees.

Bachelor of Arts in Technical and Scientific Communication

B.A. degree students are required to complete CHEM 131-131L, 132-132L before enrolling in required geology courses numbered 300 and higher.

Degree Requirements

Required courses

Credit Hours

General Education1

41-44

Foreign Language classes (Intermediate level required)2

0-14

Philosophy course (In addition to General Education courses)

3

University electives

14-28

Major requirements (listed below)

39


 

120

1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level of the student’s chosen language (typically 232), or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Language’s placement test.

Major Requirements

Core Courses

Credit Hours

Choose one of the following:

3

TSC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication
TSC 220. Technical and Scientific Communication
for Nonnative Speakers of English

 

TSC 230. Bibliographic Research in Technical and
Scientific Communication1

3

TSC 240. Technical and Scientific Editing

3

TSC 495. Internship in Technical and Scientific Communication

3

Electives

18

TSC Genres

 

TSC 350. Science and Technology in Literature
TSC 410. Government Writing
TSC 420. Legal Writing
TSC 430. Medical Writing
TSC 440. Proposal Writing
TSC 450. Computer User Documentation

 

Rhetorical Theory

 

ENG 420. English Grammar
PHIL 250. Introduction to Symbolic Logic
PHIL 310. Symbolic Logic
SCOM 341. Persuasion
SCOM 342. Argument and Advocacy
TSC 310. Rhetorical Analysis
TSC 481. Beginning Web Theory and Design
TSC 482. Advanced Web Theory and Design

 

Organizational Context

 

Oral Communication

 

SCOM 358. Business and Professional Communication Studies
TSC 360. Instructional Design and Training

 

Communication within Organizations

 

SCOM 248. Intercultural Communication
SCOM 270. Introduction to Health Communication
SCOM 350. Organizational Communication
SCOM 353. American Political Culture and Communication
SCOM 431. Legal Communication

 

Mediation and Negotiation

 

MGT 481. Negotiation Behavior
SCOM 331. Communication and Conflict
SCOM 332. Mediation

 

Communication Ethics and Law

 

SMAD 330. Multimedia Law
SMAD 370. Mass Communication Law
SMAD 471. Media Ethics
TSC 250. Ethical and Legal Issues in Technical and
Scientific Communication

 

Communication Technologies

 

TSC 460. Beginning Topics in Electronic and Online Publication
TSC 461. Intermediate Topics in Electronic and Online Publication
TSC 462. Advanced Topics in Electronic and Online Publication
CIS 301. Information Technology Tools and Methods
CIS 304. Information Technology
SCOM 361. Public Relations II: Visual Research Methods

 

Research Methods

 

COB 291. Introduction to Management Science
GISAT 141. Analytical Methods I
ISAT 142. Analytical Methods II
MATH 325. Survey Sampling Methods
SCOM 280. Introduction to Communication Research
SCOM 383. Communication Research Methodologies
SCOM 386. Communication Survey Research

 

Special Topics in TSC

 

TSC 480. Special Topics in Technical and
Scientific Professional Communication
TSC 490. Advanced Independent Study in
Technical and Scientific Communication

 

Cognate Course Work

9

Courses chosen from a cognate area

 


 

39

1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.

B.A. Cognate

All B.A. majors must complete nine hours of lower-level course work in one or more scientific and/or technical programs. These nine credits may not be double counted toward either the General Education requirements or the TSC major requirements. Six of these nine hours must be at the 300 or 400 level. The programs include: anthropology, industrial design (art), biology, chemistry, communication sciences and disorders, communication studies, computer science, economics, geographic sciences, geology, health sciences, integrated science and technology, kinesiology, mathematics, media arts and design, military science, music industry, physics, psychology, public administration, sociology, and statistics. COB 204 and Computer Information Systems are also recognized as a cognate course areas. The cognate provides students with an understanding of fundamental terminology, theory and processes of a chosen technical or scientific discipline. While these students might not intend to work in professions that are highly technical or scientific, the working knowledge of a chosen cognate area allows them to converse at an introductory level in a technical or scientific discipline and enables them to build on this foundation should they later wish to seek mastery of a technical or scientific field.

Recommended Schedule for B.A. Majors

Students are encouraged to begin their TSC course work as soon as possible in their degree plans. The following sample program of study illustrates how a TSC major might earn a B.A. degree.

>

First Year
First Semester

Credit Hours

Foreign Language course 1

3-4

General Education Cluster One

9

General Education Cluster Three

3


 

15-16

1 Completion of an intermediate level foreign language is required for the B.A. degree (usually 6 hours if begun at the intermediate level) unless the language requirement is satisfied by an exemption test. In that case, university electives may be substituted for additional hours indicated as foreign language courses.

 

First Year
Second Semester

Credit Hours

Foreign Language course

3-4

TSC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication

3

General Education Cluster Three

3

General Education courses

6


 

15-16


Second Year
First Semester

Credit Hours

Foreign Language course

0-3

TSC 230. Bibliographic Research in Technical and
Scientific Communication

3

TSC 240. Technical and Scientific Editing

3

General Education Cluster Three

4

B.A. Degree Philosophy course

3

General Education courses

0-3


 

16

 

Second Year
Second Semester

Credit Hours

Foreign Language course

0-3

TSC Electives

6

General Education course

3

University elective course

3-6


 

15


Third Year
First Semester

Credit Hours

TSC Electives

6

B.A. cognate elective

3

General Education courses

6


 

15

 

Third Year
Second Semester

Credit Hours

TSC Electives

6

B.A. cognate elective

3

General Education courses

3-6

University electives

0-3


 

15


Fourth Year
First Semester

Credit Hours

TSC Electives

6

B.A. cognate elective

3

University Electives

6


 

15

 

Fourth Year
Second Semester

Credit Hours

TSC Electives

3-6

TSC 495. Internship

0-3

University electives


3-8

 
 

12-14

Bachelor of Science in Technical and Scientific Communication

Degree Requirements

Required courses

Credit Hours

General Education1

41

Quantitative requirement2

3

Scientific Literacy requirement2

3-4

University electives

24-25

Major requirements (listed below)

39


 

120

1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 In addition to course work taken to fulfill General Education requirement.

Degree Requirements

Core Courses

Credit Hours

Choose one of the following:

3

TSC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication
TSC 220. Technical and Scientific Communication
for Nonnative Speakers of English

 

TSC 230. Bibliographic Research in Technical and
Scientific Communication1

3

TSC 240. Technical and Scientific Editing

3

TSC 495. Internship in Technical and Scientific Communication

3

Electives

18

TSC Genres

 

TSC 350. Science and Technology in Literature
TSC 410. Government Writing
TSC 420. Legal Writing
TSC 430. Medical Writing
TSC 440. Proposal Writing
TSC 450. Computer User Documentation

 

Organizational Context

 

Oral Communication

 

SCOM 358. Business and Professional Communication Studies
TSC 360. Instructional Design and Training

 

Communication within Organizations

 

SCOM 248. Intercultural Communication
SCOM 270. Introduction to Health Communication
SCOM 350. Organizational Communication
SCOM 353. American Political Culture and Communication
SCOM 431. Legal Communication

 

Mediation and Negotiation

 

MGT 481. Negotiation Behavior
SCOM 331. Communication and Conflict
SCOM 332. Mediation

 

Communication Ethics and Law

 

SMAD 330. Multimedia Law
SMAD 370. Mass Communication Law
SMAD 471. Media Ethics
TSC 250. Ethical and Legal Issues in Technical and
Scientific Communication

 

Communication Technologies

 

TSC 460. Beginning Topics in Electronic and Online Publication
TSC 461. Intermediate Topics in Electronic and Online Publication
TSC 462. Advanced Topics in Electronic and Online Publication
TSC 481. Beginning Web Theory and Design
TSC 482. Advanced Web Theory and Design
CIS 301. Information Technology Tools and Methods
CIS 304. Information Technology
SCOM 361. Public Relations II: Visual Research Methods

 

Special Topics in TSC

 

TSC 480. Special Topics in Technical and
Scientific Professional Communication
TSC 490. Advanced Independent Study in
Technical and Scientific Communication

 

Cognate Course Work

9

Courses chosen from a cognate area

 


 

39

1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.

B.S. Cognate

The cognate provides B.S. students with a deeper understanding of the terminology, theory, and processes of a chosen technical or scientific discipline than does the B.A. concentration area. B.S. students normally expect to work in professions that are highly technical or scientific and in which an advanced understanding of the discipline is essential. B.S. students must complete at least nine hours of course work from one or more scientific and/or technical programs available at JMU. Six of these nine hours must be at the 300 or 400 level. These 12 credits may not be double counted toward General Education requirements. The programs students may choose from include anthropology, industrial design (art), biology, chemistry, communication sciences and disorders, communication studies, computer science, economics, geographic sciences, geology, health sciences, integrated science and technology, kinesiology, mathematics, media arts and design, military science, music industry, physics, psychology, public administration, sociology, and statistics. COB 204 and Computer Information Systems are also recognized as cognate course areas. Students who double-major in TSC and a major that can serve as a cognate automatically satisfy the TSC cognate requirement.

Recommended Schedule for B.S. Majors

First Year
First Semester

Credit Hours

General Education Cluster One

9

General Education Cluster Three

3-6

General Education courses

0-3


 

15

 

 

First Year
Second Semester

Credit Hours

TSC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication

3

General Education Cluster Three

3-4

Genera Education courses

9


 

15-16

 

Second Year
First Semester

Credit Hours

TSC 230. Bibliographic Research in Technical
and Scientific Communication

3

TSC 240. Technical and Scientific Editing

3

General Education Cluster Three

0-4

General Education courses

6-9


 

15-16

 

 

Second Year
Second Semester

Credit Hours

TSC Electives

6

B.S. cognate elective

3

B.S. Math requirement

3

General Education course

3


 

15


Third Year
First Semester

Credit Hours

TSC Electives

3

B.S. cognate elective

3-6

B.S. degree natural or social science1

0-3

University elective

3-6

General Education course

3


   

15

 

Third Year
Second Semester

Credit Hours

TSC Electives

3

B.S. cognate elective

3

University electives

9


   

15


Fourth Year
First Semester

Credit Hours

TSC Electives

3

B.S. cognate elective

0-3

University elective

6-9


   

15

 

Fourth Year
Second Semester

Credit Hours

TSC Electives

3

B.S. cognate elective

0-3

University electives

7-9


   

13- 15

1 Completion of the B.S. degree requires a student to complete either a natural science or a social science course in addition to those required for the General Education program. A student may double-count this course as one of the courses needed for the cognate with approval by the TSC Director.


Online Publication Concentration

This concentration prepares students to work in a variety of Web-based environments in business, information technology industries and non-profit institutions. Employers of TSC graduates tend to expect them to develop the same information for both print and online sources. This concentration prepares students for employers with this expectation.
Students learn theories of hypertext and navigation as they apply to technical communication in an electronic environment. They also learn single-sourcing techniques. Graduates will be able to evaluate, revise, negotiate, manage, sustain, and reorganize large Web sites. They learn the differences in design and layout principles between print and online documents. They develop competence in: designing, writing, coding, and producing online Web documents. They also compare industry-standard authoring tools and programs and learn to write and edit authoring programs and online databasing. In sum, students learn the importance of the integration of all the elements of an effective electronic technical communication document.
The concentration requires a minimum of 15 hours of course work, counting toward the major but not toward a cognate. The following is a list of the courses from which to choose:

TSC 450. Computer User Documentation
TSC 460. Beginning Topics in Electronic and Online Publication
TSC 461. Intermediate Topics in Electronic and Online Publication
TSC 462. Advanced Topics in Electronic and Online Publication
TSC 481. Beginning Web Theory and Design
TSC 482. Advanced Web Theory and Design

Students are encouraged to begin their TSC course work as soon as possible in their degree plans. The following sample program of study illustrates how a TSC major might earn a B.S. degree.


Minor Requirements

Technical and Scientific Communication Minor

The minimum requirement for a TSC minor is 18 credit hours. Nine of the 18 hours must be TSC core courses (TSC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication or TSC 220. Technical and Scientific Communication for Nonnative Speakers of English, TSC 230. Bibliographic Research in Technical and Scientific Communication and TSC 240. Technical and Scientific Editing). The remaining nine hours may be from any upper-level TSC elective. In core courses (TSC 210 (TSC 220), TSC 230, and TSC 240) the student must make a C or better. If the student does not, he or she may not register for future TSC courses until a grade of C or better is earned in the core course(s). Students majoring in disciplines within the School of Media Arts and Design or the School of Communication Studies can count no more than three hours of SMAD or SCOM course work toward the TSC minor.

 
 

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