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My confidence increased and my network expanded – definitely add this course to your professional development plan!

Perdita S., 2015

Technical Communication

This 5-month weeknight program teaches fundamental technical communication skills to those considering an entry level career in technical communications or those writers seeking to hone or diversify their current writing skills.  Developed and taught by practicing technical communication professionals, the program allows students to apply their knowledge to a final capstone project and to earn a certificate of completion.  The program addresses the following areas of study: essential skills (including editing and grammar), technical writing, information architecture and development, and gives a basic tools overview, much of which can be applied to nearly every industry.

Offered in a convenient evening and weekend format during a five month period once per year, the Certificate in Technical Communication is offered to those considering an entry level career in technical communications or those writers seeking to hone or diversify their current writing skills.

The Benefits of the Duke Program:

  • Established program created by technical communication professionals
  • Exposure to multiple instructors working in different areas of technical communications
  • Knowledge learned is applied to a final project required for program completion
  • Final project provides a “work product” to show potential employers of skills learned
  • Convenient evening and weekend hours
  • Certificate earned from Duke University Continuing Studies
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Curriculum & Course Details

Intro to Tech Comm  (one day)
Greg Eller

A one-day overview of careers in Technical Communications. Guest speakers will discuss various areas of the Tech Communication profession. Students will also have the opportunity to meet other fellow participants with whom they will be spending the next eight months. An overview of the program will be discussed, as well as expectations and requirements for completion.

Essential Skills Course (three weeks)
Susan Dakin

In this review of advanced writing and editing skills essential for all technical communicators, students will practice recognizing and solving the most common problems in technical writing, illustrated in sentences drawn from real-world technical and business documents.

Technical Writing Workshop (four weeks)
Jim Sheedy

Working individually or in small groups, students will contribute to class projects that are derived from their own interests and those of classmates. Students will work on projects at home and critique the projects during our weekly sessions. Students will learn how to sift through the details of their research to find the content that meets their reader's needs and their own writing objectives.
Information Architecture (three weeks)
Michael Harvey

This hands-on class provides strategies for analyzing, categorizing, and "chunking" information - the cutting edge of information structuring.

Managing the Information Development Process (four weeks)
Larry Kunz

Students will learn, and put into practice, the process for developing technical information from initial planning to final distribution. We will cover the best ways to plan, schedule, budget, track, and report status from a one-person project to a large team effort. We will also discuss new trends that are changing the process and the profession.

Tools Overview (three weeks)
Christina Mayr

This course will provide an overview of the most commonly used technical communication tools and how to select the best tools for a successful project.

Final Project Capstone Course (three weeks)
Greg Eller
Anne-Marie Grissino

Taking all the skills learned throughout the program, students will complete a final written project that will be reviewed by a small panel of instructors.

More information about each instructor can be found in the Instructors section below.

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  • Minimum of Associates degree (2 yr) recommended
  • "Statement of interest" in program submitted via email to wm60@duke.edu
    • Please note that this statement can be submitted after registering for the course and does not determine entry into program
  • Initial payment of $1200 received with registration
  • Fluency in English including reading and writing required
  • Computer literacy and adaptability
  • Access to a computer during the program
  • Valid email account

Admission is discretionary. Duke Continuing Studies Professional Certificate Programs requires students be a least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards. Students are not matriculated Duke University students and university student privileges do not apply to Continuing Studies students.

Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of, any student or applicant.

Certificate requirements

  • Maximum of 4 absences
  • Completion of all assignments within established timeframes
  • Final written capstone project submitted for review within established timeline
  • Program status deemed "complete" upon final project approval by panel of industry professionals
  • Tuition paid in full by December 1
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Schedule & Registration


Saturday, 9/10/16 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Wednesdays: 9/14/16 through 2/22/17 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm
Thursdays: 9/29/16, 10/27/16, and 11/17/16 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm

There is also a brief winter break from 12/15/16 through 1/3/17.

The fall 2017 program schedule will be available in spring 2017.


  • Registration will open on July 1, 2016.
  • Please review the admission requirements listed on this page.
  • Upon registering send your “statement of interest” in this program via email to Whitney Murphy at wm60@duke.edu.

Registration Methods

  1. Register Online using a credit card with our secure, real-time registration system.  Add the course to your shopping cart and follow the instructions for checking out.
  2. Register by Phone at 919-684-6259 or 1-866-edu-Duke during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm EST) to register.  Please note that loan applicants or students who plan to use the payment plan must call to register.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I earn the certificate of completion from Duke Continuing Studies?

Students who participate in and complete all activities/assignments, complete and receive instructor approval of final capstone project, adhere to attendance policy (four absences allowed), and pay tuition when due, will receive a certificate of completion from Duke Continuing Studies. .

Will I be certified as a technical writer when I complete this program?

On successful completion, students will receive a certificate acknowledging that they have met the requirements of the program.

This certificate was not designed to meet the requirements for certification as a Certified Professional Technical Communicator. For CPTC certification, students need to pass an exam developed and administered by APMG International on behalf of the Society for Technical Communication.

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Susan Dakin

Susan Dakin is an independent consultant in scientific and technical writing and editing, document design, and desktop publishing, with over thirty years of experience. She has taught writing classes for Duke Continuing Studies since 1982 and has presented well over 100 courses and workshops in scientific, technical, or business writing for companies, government agencies (including EPA and NIEHS), and other organizations. Dr. Dakin holds a Ph.D. in zoology from Duke and has written and edited documents in a wide range of disciplines in the life, environmental, and physical sciences and engineering, as well as on nontechnical subjects. She has special expertise in proposal writing and has served as proposal editor and coordinator for numerous large federal contract and grant proposals.

Gregory Eller

Gregory Eller is an information developer currently working for Lockheed Martin, on contract to the US Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park. Previously, Greg worked at IBM/Lenovo as a software engineer and team lead helping develop the ThinkVantage suite of software. He has degrees in journalism and theater, and has been writing professionally for nearly twenty years as a journalist, financial writer, and technical writer. After driving a NYC taxi cab for awhile and working as a campus minister, Greg spent a year teaching English in Brooklyn, NY to inner-city students at a vocational high school, and then two years trading Lira on Wall Street. Greg brings his broad range of work and social experience to his role as host of the Introduction to Technical Communication discussion.

Ann-Marie Grissino

Ann-Marie Grissino participates as an information engineer at NetApp. She has won awards for technical communication and e-learning authorship, is an invited guest speaker at conferences, and has written articles for the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and e-learning developers' journals. For 10 years, she was the manager of the regional STC Technical Communications Competition. She is an STC Fellow and has served as a judge for both international STC competitions and Brandon Hall e-learning and innovative technology competitions. Ann-Marie participated in the Technical Communication Delegation for the People to People Ambassador Program to China. Previously, Ann-Marie was president of Keypoint Consultants, Inc., an award-winning technical writing firm specializing in user documentation, e-learning, and online communication.

Michael Harvey

Michael Harvey is a Principal Technical Writer at SAS, serving as documentation project leader for risk management solutions.  Previously, Michael worked as a manager and a writer for EMC.  He has a BA in English and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in Experimental Psychology from Duke University.  Michael has served in various leadership positions for the Carolina chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and has presented at local and international STC conferences.  He was honored to be named an STC Fellow in 2011.  As an instructor for the Durham Technical Community College Technical Writing program in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Michael worked to overhaul the curriculum, emphasizing the importance of developing technical curiosity and acquiring technical expertise.  See his professional profile at LinkedIn.

Larry Kunz

Larry Kunz is a Senior Technical Writer with Extreme Networks, Inc. Having more than 30 years' experience as a writer, manager, and planner, he has managed both technical writing projects and marketing projects. He holds a Masters Certificate in Project Management from the George Washington University. He is a Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and in 2010 received the STC President's Award for leading the Society's strategic planning effort.

Christina Mayr

Christina Mayr is the Technical Editor & Content Manager for ExtremeNetworks. Christina manages the tools, templates, and internal workflows and also assists seven authors with publishing their content in a DITA environment. When not editing or managing content, she enjoys creating and researching innovative ways to help her company's customers get the content they need. A graduate of the East Carolina University Technical & Professional Communication Master's Program and very active in the STC Carolina Chapter, Christina has worked in central North Carolina in various sectors, including IT, health & safety, and manufacturing. Christina lives in Holly Springs with her husband and two cats, and enjoys, reading, traveling, and outdoor adventures.

Jim Sheedy

Jim Sheedy has been working in the software industry for over 25 years. He currently works as a Documentation Specialist for SAS Institute in Cary, North Carolina, where he documents the programming interfaces to SAS graphicscomponents. For over 15 years he has also worked for the North Carolina Writers' Network, promoting, coordinating, and teaching writing workshops onsite for North Carolina businesses.

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Tuition & Funding Sources



The cost of the comprehensive 5-month Technical Communication Certificate program is $2350 and includes any printed materials that may be distributed.

The payment plan listed below is an option for students who do not wish to pay in full at the time of initial registration. However, tuition balance must be paid in full prior to December 1 to avoid dismissal from the program. Registering for this program obligates you to full payment owed as you are reserving a seat for the entire term regardless of withdrawal during the program. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to pursue collection of outstanding monies.

Payment Plan

A two-part payment plan is available.

  • Payment #1 due at initial registration: $1200
  • Payment #2 due by December 1: $1150

Failure to make payments on time will result in immediate dismissal from the program. If you would like to set up this payment plan, please call (919) 684-6259 to register by phone.

You may qualify for a loan applicable to this program. Please see the funding sources below for more details.

Funding Sources

Our Professional Certificate programs are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal education loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs. Some of our programs may offer payment plans. Please see individual program web pages for those details.

No loans (Wells Fargo Graduate loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Undergraduate loan, etc.) can be construed to imply any degree-seeking status for students of Duke Continuing studies. Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-credit.

Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) will not certify (approve) loan amounts greater than the amount of the tuition regardless of the amount approved by the lending agency. DCS reserves the right to reject any loan which exceeds the tuition amount. DCS will not be responsible for refunding monies in excess of the tuition. Students needing to secure loan funding for books or other items in relation to the program are responsible for making separate loan arrangements with the funding agency. No loan funds will be refunded to the student.

Should a student choose to borrow less than the tuition amount, the balance must be paid prior to the close of the registration period.

Please note that DCS will not certify amounts that include separate fees for books, materials, etc.  Should you choose to borrow less than the amount of the program, you are responsible for paying the balance prior to the program start date.

Loan Options

Your local bank may offer other options for loans or a "line of credit" service. Contact your bank for more information on financing choices.

Other Funding Sources

The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan

To apply for this private student loan, visit Sallie Mae’s website, select the Undergraduate Student Loan and then click Apply Now.   The following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.

Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

To apply for this loan, visit Wells Fargo. Duke Continuing Studies will be required to certify your loan application for the Graduate Loan should you be approved by Wells Fargo.

You will need to enter the following information after clicking on Apply Now in the Before Starting Your Application section:

  • Find a loan for: Graduate School Expenses
  • I am a: Student
  • School state: North Carolina
  • School name: please type Duke University Continuing Education
  • Grade Level: Beyond 3rd Year Graduate
  • Field of Study: Undecided or select Other and type in the field of study
  • Citizenship: Select as appropriate

Duke Hospital Employees

Duke University Hospital employees may be eligible for support from the Employee Development Initiative (EDI), which helps employees pay for short-term career-related programs, workshops, and seminars. For more information, visit the Employee Development Initiative site or call Duke Hospital Human Resources at (919) 668-2170.

Workforce Investment Act

The WIA provides professional and basic skills training services to those who have been unable to find employment. Please keep in mind that this process can be lengthy, so plan to apply well in advance of the program start date.  For more information on eligibility, the application process, or to find your local Workforce Development Board, visit the NC JobLink Career Center website.


AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.

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Policies & Procedures

Refund Policy

Overnight programs have different cancellation policies. Please see program descriptions for details.

Refund and Change Requests must be in writing. To receive a refund, minus a processing fee for each course cancelled, we must receive your written cancellation request at least two weeks prior to the start of the program or course. Processing fees are:

  • $20 for course fees under $500
  • $100 for course fees $500 or more

To submit a cancellation request:
Email: learnmore@duke.edu
Fax: 919-681-8235
Registration - Duke Continuing Studies
Box 90700
Durham, NC 27708-0700

Include your name, address, phone number, and course title to be dropped. Refunds will be made in the manner you paid us.

Refunds for Online Courses

There are no refunds or cancellations for online courses.

Bad Checks

If a check is returned for insufficient funds, we will charge a returned check fee of $35. Checks will not be resubmitted. The replacement payment must include the additional $35 and be in the form of cash, money order, or credit card.

Course is Filled / Waiting List

If a course is already filled, a waiting list is usually available instead. If you are interested in placing your name on the waiting list, follow the checkout instructions to do so. If a space becomes available, a registration staff member will call you and ask if you are still interested. If you are interested, registration staff can take your payment information over the phone and complete your registration at that time.

If We Cancel a Course

Sometimes we have to cancel a course that does not meet minimum enrollment, or due to unforeseen events. If that happens, you will receive a full refund. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.

Tax Deductions

Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:

Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, states “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”

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