About

Writing is a fundamental aspect of communication in many settings such as at school, in the office and in the community. While taking the Certificate in Professional Communication - Technical and Professional Writing (CPC-TPW), you will explore how to effectively adapt technical information for both expert and general audiences. You will learn to analyze the purpose of your writing, consider for whom you are writing and gain technical skills to construct and edit your work more effectively.


Quick facts
  • Part-time or full-time four-month certificate program
  • Previous post-secondary study required
  • In-person classes at USask's main campus in Saskatoon
  • Can be completed concurrently alongside degree programs

What you will learn

You will develop the writing and editing skills you need to communicate clearly and effectively with the public and in academic, professional and technical contexts. You will be equipped with tools to analyze your purpose and audience before you begin writing. You will learn the composition, editing and technical skills needed to craft well-written material, whether your task involves a few sentences or a full report. You will also learn how to summarize technical and scientific information and adapt it for a general audience. The program consists of three courses (9 credit units) offered by the Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development in the College of Engineering.

Many of the courses in the certificate program can also be used to satisfy degree requirements. Please speak with an academic advisor to see what options may be available to you if you are completing this program concurrently with another degree program.

Here are just a few of the classes you might take while you complete this certificate:

RCM 407: Rhetorical Editing

Is an exploration of the structure of present-day English as spoken and written in contemporary Canada, with an emphasis on the idea of "standard" English in a professional context. Students will acquire the necessary technical vocabulary to discuss and critique issues of acceptable style and usage in their speech and writing, particularly with respect to word formation, sentence structure, and the often difficult relationship between sound and spelling. The course will provide students with an awareness of the linguistic options available to them in the practice of clear and effective communication.

RCM 408: Rhetorical Composition Writing for the Public

The written word is the basic currency of both the academic and industrial economies. Not only must professionals write reports and proposals for communities of their peers, but they must also communicate often with non-specialist audiences. This course equips students with classical and contemporary rhetorical principles in order to help them appreciate the purpose, audience, and constraints of the rhetorical situation. It then provides them with various contexts for practicing descriptive, expository, narrative, and persuasive elements of academic, professional, and technical writing, all of which types they may expect to encounter during the course of their careers as students and professionals.

RCM 410: Rhetoric of Science and Technology

Rhetoric of science is a discipline that explores the persuasive elements of scientific discourse. Initially inspired by Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, rhetoricians of science investigate the communicative processes through which scientific facts are determined and disseminated among scientists, government agencies, and the general public. In this course, students not only explore the genres and conventions that are used to communicate scientific knowledge among various audiences, but they also have the opportunity to reflect on and enhance their own ability to communicate science. Readings will include selections from foundational theorists and rhetoricians of science, as well as journalists and science fiction authors. Case studies drawn from contemporary, and possibly historical, scientific discussions and controversies will complement more theoretical readings.

The Course and Program Catalogue has the complete and official listing of required classes and their descriptions for this program.

  • It takes only three classes to earn this certificate and you can highlight it as an official credential on your resume.
  • At the Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development, we offer three specialized certificates in professional communication that can help you best match your goals: persuasive communication, technical and professional writing, and leadership and negotiation.
  • Our faculty equip students with skills that answer industry’s demand for employees who are effective at communicating with their colleagues, managers and others, including clients, government and the general public.
  • We provide small class sizes, personal attention and feedback from faculty and opportunities to hone your skills in class.
  • Our faculty are recognized experts in professional communication who have offered certificates in this area since 2007.

Careers

The Certificate in Professional Communication – Technical and Professional Writing provides must-have skills for technical professionals who communicate their work to wider audiences, including members of the public, industry, colleagues, government, community-based organizations or other stakeholders. In this course you will fine-tune your writing and editing skills, learn how to identify your audience and tailor your message to ensure your communication is as effective as possible.   

Tuition estimates

Note: if you are taking this certificate concurrently with a degree program, there will be no additional student fees. Tuition will still be assessed for each course. With proper program planning, you will use the communication classes towards your degree and you will already be paying student fees as part of your studies.

Canadian students International students
Tuition $811.80 per class $2,922.48 per class
Student fees $1,050 per year $1,050 per year

Tuition will vary depending on the type and number of classes you take in a year. This estimate reflects a typical amount you could expect to pay per class (2022-2023 Canadian dollar rates).
Student fees are used to fund specific student benefits, including health, vision and dental coverage, a bus pass, recreational programs and fitness centre access. This estimate reflects the price you would pay if you are a full-time student.
The cost of books and supplies varies widely depending on the courses you choose. It is recommended that you budget between $150-$250 for each class.

Program options

USask College of Engineering building

The Certificate in Professional Communication – Technical and Professional Writing is offered by the Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development in the College of Engineering. You may earn the certificate on its own, concurrently with a degree program from this college or others, or after completing a degree.

If you are already enrolled at USask, consult an academic advisor regarding enrolling in this program.

The Course and Program Catalogue has the complete and official listing of required classes and their descriptions for this program.

Admission requirements and deadlines

Admission requirements

All applicants to the Certificate in Professional Communication must meet the following requirements in order to be considered for admission:

  1. Completed at least 60 credit units of post-secondary coursework
  2. 60% average in the most recent 18 credit units of completed coursework
  3. Completion of RCM 200 Effective Professional Communication (formerly RCM 300), or an approved equivalent
  4. Proficiency in English

Applicants must have completed RCM 300.3 or an approved equivalent in order to be eligible for admission into the certificate program. Approved equivalencies include a minimum of six credit units in:

  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level ANTH
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level ARTH
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level CMRS
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level DRAM
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level ENG
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level HIST
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level INDG
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level IS
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level LING
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level PHIL
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level POLS
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level PSY
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level RLST
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level SOC
  • 100, 200, 300, or 400-level WGST
  • Select CLAS Courses: CLAS 110.3, CLAS 111.3, CLAS 203.3, CLAS 220.3, CLAS 225.3, CLAS 228.3, CLAS 240.3, CLAS 242.3, CLAS 252.3, CLAS 259.3, CLAS 298.3, CLAS 299.3, CLAS 398.3, CLAS 399.3, CLAS 499.6

Deadlines

Start term Application deadline
2022 Fall Term (September) June 30, 2022

Ready to apply?

Both external applicants and current USask students must complete the online application form by the application deadline.

For applicants new to USask, a non-refundable application fee of $90 CDN is required before your application will be processed. Current USask students do not need to pay an application fee.

Explore related programs

If you are looking for graduate-level (master's or PhD) programs, please consult our graduate students' website.

Questions?

Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development
College of Engineering
graham.school@usask.ca