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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.

Sara R., 2017

Technical Writing

This seven course program is designed to provide the fundamental technical communication skills for individuals 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, 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 communications
  • 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
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Curriculum & Course Details

Intro to Tech Comm  
Greg Eller

A 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 five months. An overview of the program will be discussed, as well as expectations and requirements for completion.

Essential Skills Course
Susan Dakin

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 
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
Michael Harvey

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 
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 -- 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.

Tools Overview 
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 Portfolio Course 
Greg Eller
Ann-Marie Grissino

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 communication 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.


Course Schedule Location Tuition Status
Certificate Program in Technical WritingThis 5 month program teaches fundamental technical communication skills. Designed and taught by practicing Technical Communication professionals, the program allows you to apply your knowledge to a final capstone project and to earn...
Sep 22, 2018 to Mar 13, 2019
Sa 9:00AM - 3:00PM
W 6:00PM - 9:00PM
Th 6:00PM - 9:00PM
Th 6:00PM - 9:00PM
W 6:00PM - 9:00PM
W 6:00PM - 9:00PM
Durham - Duke University $2,350.00 Enrollment Closed
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  • Minimum of Associates degree (2 yr) recommended
  • "Statement of interest" in program submitted via email to
    • 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 December 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.

Certificate requirements

  • Completion of all assignments and final project within established timeframes
  • Program status deemed "complete" upon final project approval by panel of instructors
  • Tuition paid in full by December 1
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Schedule & Registration


Saturday - Kick Off 9/22/18 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Wednesdays 9/26/18 - 3/13/19 6:00 to 9:00 pm

9/27/18, 10/25/18, 11/15/18, 12/13/18

6:00 to 9:00 pm


Parking permit provided

No Class on Wednesday, 11/21

Winter break from 12/14/18 through 1/8/19

Continuing Studies reserves the right to modify, change, or cancel the schedule.


  • Registration will open on July 1, 2018.
  • Please review the eligibility requirements listed on this page.
  • Upon registering send your “statement of interest” in this program via email to Dee Holland at

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?

A certificate will awarded based upon meeting the following criteria:

  • Completion of all assignments and the final project within program timeframes established by instructors
  • Achieving the status of “complete” for the final project based upon consensus of a panel of your instructors
  • Paying tuition in full by December 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.

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Susan Dakin

Photograph of Susan DakinSusan Dakin is an independent consultant in scientific and technical writing and editing, document design, and desktop publishing, with over 30 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), universities, and nonprofit 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 served as proposal editor for numerous large federal contract and grant proposals and currently serves as the scientific editor of the congressionally mandated Report on Carcinogens.  See her professional profile on LinkedIn

Gregory Eller

Photograph of Gregory EllerGregory 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

Photograph of Ann-Marie GrissinoAnn-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

Photograph of Michael HarveyMichael 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

Photograph of Larry KunzLarry 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

Photograph of Christina MayrChristina Mayr is the Technical Editor & Content Manager for Extreme Networks. Christina manages the tools, templates, and internal workflows and also assists authors with publishing their content in a structured authoring 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. 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 hardware engineering. Christina lives in Holly Springs with her husband and son and enjoys reading, cooking, and outdoor adventures. Learn more about Christina on LinkedIn

Jim Sheedy

Photograph of Jim SheedyJim 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.

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Tuition & Funding Sources



The cost of the 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.

Duke Employee Discount

• $150 off the fee of $2350
Duke employee pays fee of $2200
• Student must register and pay tuition prior to the program start date via either full payment, or in accordance to the installment payment plan for that program (if applicable,) or have their loan “certified” by Duke Continuing Studies in order to confirm a seat in the program for that term.
• Questions:  Contact Program Manager at 919-668-1836

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.

Group Discount

Do you have a group (Duke or non-Duke entity) interested in training?

Contact the Program Manager for details.

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. Please note that we do not offer a payment plan for this program.

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.

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.

•    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

For information on the Wells Fargo Graduate Loan, please see this Disclosure document. 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

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:
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 minus the cost of the books and online Learning System. The books/learning system will remain yours. 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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