The instructors did a great job teaching the essential skills of technical communication while also providing invaluable advice about how to network and market yourself as a technical communicator.
This seven course program is designed to provide the fundamental technical writing skills for individuals considering an entry level career in technical writing or those seeking to hone or diversify their current writing skills.
Developed and taught by practicing technical communication professionals, this program addresses the following areas of study:
- Essential skills
- (including editing and grammar)
- Technical writing
- Information architecture and development
- Basic tools overview
The Benefits of the Duke Program:
- Learn from multiple instructors working in diverse areas of technical writing
- Application of knowledge learned is demonstrated in final capstone project
- Final project can serve as “work product” to show potential employers of acquired skills
- Convenient evening hours for working professionals
- Certificate earned from Duke University Continuing Studies
Curriculum & Course Details
Intro to Technical Writing
This portion provides an overview of careers in technical writing. Guest speakers will discuss various areas of the technical writing profession. Students will also have the opportunity to meet other fellow participants with whom they will be spending the next five months. An overview of the program will be discussed, as well as expectations and requirements for completion.
Essential Skills Course
In this review of advanced writing and editing skills essential for all technical communicators, students will practice improving conciseness, punctuation, and sentence structure in sentences drawn from real-world technical and business documents. They will also review basic principles of typography, document format, and permissions for use of graphics.
Technical Writing Workshop
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.
This class teaches students how to design and deliver information effectively for a specified audience. Students will learn the basic principles of visual design, audience and task analysis, how to organize information, information delivery systems, and topic-based authoring.
Managing the Information Development Process
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 -- and then will apply those skills to their capstone projects. We'll also discuss trends that influence the process and shape the future of technical communication.
This course will provide an overview of the most commonly used technical writing tools and how to select the best tools for a successful project.
Final Project Portfolio Course
Applying skills learned throughout the program, students in this course will develop and complete a final written project that can be showcased in a technical writing portfolio. Additionally, individual constructive feedback regarding your project will be provided from a panel of your instructors to help reinforce your learning skill set.
More information about each instructor can be found in the Instructors section below.
There are no courses open for enrollment at this time.
- Minimum of Associates degree (2 yr) recommended
- "Statement of interest" in program submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 with the understanding there remains an obligation to pay the balance owed by November 1 to continue to participate in the program
- 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.
- Consistent class attendance (maximum of four absences allowed)
- Completion of all assignments and final project within established timeframes
- Achieve a 70% or higher on the final project
- Tuition paid in full by November 1
Schedule & Registration
|Saturday - Kick Off||9/21/19||9:00 am to 3:00 pm|
|Wednesdays||9/25/19 - 3/11/19||6:00 to 9:00 pm|
9/26/19, 10/24/19, 11/14/19, 12/12/19
|6:00 to 9:00 pm|
Parking permit provided
No Class on Wednesday, 11/27
Winter break from 12/13/19 through 1/7/20
Continuing Studies reserves the right to modify, change, or cancel the schedule.
- Registration will open on July 1, 2019.
- Please review the eligibility requirements listed on this page.
- Upon registering send your “statement of interest” in this program via email to Meredith Stone at email@example.com.
- 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.
- Register by Phone at 919-684-6259 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I earn the certificate of completion from Duke Continuing Studies?
A certificate will awarded based upon meeting the following criteria:
- Consistent class attendance (maximum of four absences allowed)
- Completion of all assignments and the final project within program timeframes established by instructors
- Achieving a 70% or higher on the final project
- Paying tuition in full by November 1
Please note the Duke certificate was not designed to meet the requirements for certification as a Certified Professional Technical Communication (although you may encounter some similar concepts in the course of our program). To attain CPTC certification, students need to pass an exam developed and administered by APMG International on behalf of the Society for Technical Communication. Please visit their websites for more information.
Will I be certified as a technical writer when I complete this program?
Duke Continuing Studies does not “certify” individuals. Students are awarded a certificate of completion to acknowledge the required program standards have been met. Completing our program is not an indication of certification which is a different process.
Can I enroll in the courses individually versus purchasing the entire program?
The courses cannot be purchased individually as the program is offered as single package.
Is this program affiliated with any other departments at Duke University?
This program is not affiliated with any other office at Duke and is offered exclusively through Duke Continuing Studies.
Does this program apply toward a degree?
No, this program is a non-credit (non-degree) offering and does not transfer towards a degree.
Will Continuing Studies assist me in finding a position upon completion of this program?
It is incumbent upon the student to seek his/her own employment through their own endeavors. Duke Office of Continuing Studies provides no assistance with career placement and/or internships nor make any claim or warrant this program will result in obtaining a position as a result of completion.
Why am I being asked to submit a statement of interest upon registering?
This brief submission (a small paragraph will suffice) allows us to gauge the purpose of class members for choosing to enroll in this program and can also alert us to skill sets of enrollees. It is not uncommon to have a practicing technical writer enroll in this program along with those interested in entering the field.
The statement of interest can be mailed to the individual listed as the program contact on the program website (in the “At the Glance” section).
Is this curriculum designed and taught by Duke faculty?
No, the curriculum is neither designed nor taught by Duke faculty, but was developed and is taught by individuals working in the industry as technical writers.
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 Writing discussion.
Michael Harvey is a Principal Technical Writer at SAS, serving as documentation project leader for risk management solutions and for the Internet of Things (IoT). 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 is a Lead Technical Writer with Extreme Networks, a leading producer of networking hardware. He creates user guides and other customer information in printable, online, and video formats. Larry is a seasoned trainer and facilitator, and has worked more than 30 years in technical communication as a writer, marketer, manager, and project leader. He holds the rank of Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and received the STC President's Award for leading the Society's strategic planning effort. Read more about Larry on LinkedIn.
Christina Mayr is an Information Architect with Epic Games. Christina manages knowledge, information structure, taxonomy, and internal processes for Epic IT. When not editing or managing content, she enjoys creating and researching innovative ways to improve customer self-help. Christina is a past president of the STC Carolina Chapter and remains an active leader. A graduate of the East Carolina University Technical & Professional Communication Master's Program, Christina has worked in central North Carolina in various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, high tech, government, and engineering. Christina lives in Holly Springs with her family and enjoys reading, cooking, and painting. Learn more about Christina on LinkedIn.
Laura Poole has been a freelance copyeditor since 1997. She provides copyediting for scholarly nonfiction in the humanities (books and journals), mostly for university presses. She has created and delivered training workshops, webinars, and conference presentations since 2009. She is a member of ACES The Society for Editing and an Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.
Jim Sheedy has been working in the software industry for over 30 years. He currently works as a Documentation Specialist for SAS Institute in Cary, North Carolina, where he documents the programming interfaces to SAS graphics components. For over 20 years he has also worked for the North Carolina Writers' Network, promoting, coordinating, and teaching writing workshops onsite for North Carolina businesses.
Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors at their discretion.
Tuition & Funding Sources
The cost of the program includes parking and any printed materials that may be distributed by instructors.
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 November 1 to avoid dismissal from the program. Registering for this program obligates students to full payment owed as they 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.
Duke Employee Discount
• $150 off the fee of $2350
Duke employee pays fee of $2200
• Questions: Contact Program Manager at 919-684-3255
Discount must be requested and applied during the registration process and cannot be applied in addition to any other discount that may be offered. You may be asked to verify your status as a Duke employee.
Do you have a group (Duke or non-Duke entity) interested in training?
Contact the Program Manager for details.
A two-part payment plan is available.
- Payment #1 due at initial registration: $1200
- Payment #2 due by November 1: $1150
Failure to make payments on time will result in immediate dismissal from the program. To set up this payment plan, please call (919) 684-6259 to register by phone.
Students may qualify for a loan applicable to this program. Please see the funding sources below for more details.
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.
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.
Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-degree offerings. Therefore, loans (Wells Fargo Graduate loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Undergraduate loan, etc.) cannot be construed to imply any degree-seeking status.
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.
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.
- Scroll over Student Loans on the top of screen
- Select Smart Option Student Loan under Undergraduate Student Loans
- Click Get Started
- Fill out Student General Information
- Fill out Permanent Address
- Fill out School Information
- DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 should already have populated for the school
- Select Certificate for Degree/Certificate of Study
- Select your Specialty or select Other if it is not shown in the options
- Select Half Time for Enrollment Status
- Select Certificate/Continuing Ed for Grade Level
- Enter your Academic Period of the Loan
- Enter your Anticipated Graduation / Completion
- Follow the remaining loan application prompts
Wells Fargo Graduate Loan
Please note that Wells Fargo is no longer accepting new applications for their private student loans. However, students with an outstanding balance on a Wells Fargo private student loan may be eligible to be borrowers on a new private loan. See here for details.
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.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides up to $4,000 (over 2 years) of Financial Assistance for military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification, or Associates degree in a portable career field and occupation. For more information, please visit the MyCAA website.
Policies & Procedures
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. Should you cancel your registration after you have been given your books and online access, we can only refund the portion of your tuition minus the cost of the books. The books/online access will remain yours. Processing fees are:
- $20 for course fees under $500
- $100 for course fees $500 or more
To submit a cancellation request:
Registration - Duke Continuing Studies
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.
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 or pro-rated refund. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.
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…”