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 online, virtual (live), 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 evening 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:
- Convenient, live, online evening hours for working professionals
- Application of knowledge learned is demonstrated in final capstone project
- Final project can serve as “work product” to show potential employers of acquired skills
- Learn from multiple instructors working in diverse areas of technical writing
- Certificate earned from Duke University Continuing Studies
Curriculum & Course Details
Introduction to Technical Writing
This interactive session provides students with an opportunity to meet instructors. Each instructor will introduce his or her class, talk about how they entered into the profession, and discuss various aspects of technical writing. Students will have an opportunity to share about their background, reasons for enrolling in the certificate program, and their goals following program completion. 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 apply those skills to the students' capstone projects. We'll also discuss new developments that are influencing the process and shaping 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. (Please refer to the technical requirements section of website for computer specifications which impact this course.)
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 year) 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 $1900 received with registration with the understanding there remains an obligation to pay the balance owed by November 30 to continue to participate in the program
- Fluency in English including reading and writing required
- Computer literacy and and comfort with learning online via Zoom
- Access to a computer in accordance to technical requirements listed below
- Valid email account (personal email preferred to avoid firewall issues)
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 eight 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 30
- A modern computer manufactured in last five years. Exception: No Chromebooks due to software conflicts affiliated with the “Tools” course
- Must have Microsoft Word software
Must have capability to access a designated “Duke Box” for sharing of files
- Speakers/Camera (must have ability to hear and speak to instructor)
- Internet Access
- Web browser: Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox 3x or higher
- Adobe acrobat reader
- Personal email address for class use versus business address to avoid firewall issues
Schedule & Registration
All classes are held Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00 pm-7:30 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) except the Introduction, Information Architecture II and Resume course.
Introduction to Technical Writing (Orientation)
Tuesday, October 4th 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Tuesday/Thursday: October 11th, 13th, 18th, 20th, 25th, 27th
Tools Overview l
Tuesday/Thursday, November 1st, 3rd
Technical Writing Workshop
Tuesday/Thursday, November 8th, 10th, 15th, 17th, 29th
No class week of Thanksgiving
December 1st, 6th, 9th
Tools Overview ll
Tuesday/Thursday, December 13th, 15th
Christmas Break: No class until January 10
Information Architecture l
Tuesday/Thursday, January 10th, 12th
Information Architecture ll
Thursday, January 17th
6:00 pm-9:00 pm Eastern Standard Time
Information Architecture lll
Tuesday/Thursday, January 19th, 24th
Tools Overview lll
Tuesday/Thursday, January 27th, 31st
Information Architecture lV
Wednesday/Thursday, February 2nd, 7th
Tools Overview lV
Wednesday/Thursday, February, 9th, 14th
Thursday, February 16th
Managing the Information Development Process
Wednesday/Thursday, February 21st, 23rd, 28th March, 2nd, 7th, 9th, 14th, 16th,
Working Sessions: March 21st, 23rd, 28th, 30th April 4th, 6th, 11th, 13th
Student Presentations: April 18th, 20th
Presentations Conclude & Written Presentations due: April 25th, 27th
- Please review the eligibility/technical requirements listed on this page.
- Upon registering send your “statement of interest” in this program via email to Dee Holland 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
Will I receive a certificate upon completing the program?
Yes, upon meeting program requirements to the satisfaction of the instructors you will be awarded a Duke branded certificate. The certificate will be sent via postal mail within 14 business days of the end of the program.
What are the advantages of enrolling in this program as compared to another university program?
Unlike most technical writing programs, the Duke program was developed and is taught by individuals working in the industry as technical writers/communicators. You will learn from those whom practice what they teach.
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 eight 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 30
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.
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).
Gregory Eller is a contract information developer with experience working for Lockheed Martin on contract to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and with 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 over twenty years as a journalist, financial writer, and technical writer. After driving a NYC taxi cab, selling meat and seafood door-to-door, 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.
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 and manager of the IT Documentation Team at Epic Games. Much more than a technical writer, Christina has spent the last 10 years mentoring, teaching, and sharing her knowledge with others. Since graduating from East Carolina University with a Master’s in Technical and Professional Communication, Christina has worked as a technical writer, editor, or information architect in the pharmaceutical, state government, manufacturing, and hardware and software industries in central North Carolina. Whatever her title, Christina always aimed to simplify complex information and provide it when, where, and how users needed it.
Christina has been a leader in the Carolina Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication since 2008 while also serving as a mentor, frequent presenter, Competitions Manager, blog writer, and self-proclaimed Chapter Ambassador. When she’s not working or volunteering, you can find Christina reviewing resumes, learning something new, chasing her two littles somewhere outdoors, or attempting to organize her closet, again.
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. Laura was the recipient of the 2020 Robinson Prize award from ACES The Society for Editing
Mark Bright is a Senior Documentation Manager at SAS Institute Inc. He leads a team of writers who develop product documentation, online Help, web content, and videos that support software solutions for marketing, fraud investigations, and data modeling. Mark has worked as a technical communicator for more than 20 years and has experience as a documentation manager, technical writer, marketing specialist, and corporate trainer. He earned a BA in journalism and mass communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MS in Technical Communication at North Carolina State University where he studied technical communication principles such as establishing style standards across corporate channels. He is the author of “Creating, Implementing, and Maintaining Corporate Style Guides in the Age of Technology” in the STC journal Technical Communication. He has also volunteered as a judge for the technical art competitions of the STC Carolina chapter. Mark enjoys spending time with family, running, and fishing.
Tuition & Funding Sources
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 30 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 $2450
Duke employee pays fee of $2350
• 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.
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: $1900
- Payment #2 due by November 30: $550
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.
No loans 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.
Due to the tuition cost, this certificate is not eligible for the private student loans through Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo. Your local bank may offer other options for loans or a "line of credit" service. Contact your bank for more information on financing choices.
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.
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, and click the I’m ready to apply button. The following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.
- Under Loan Needs, select Student and then Undergraduate degree.
- Select Career training school.
- Select North Carolina from the drop down menu.
- Under name of school begin typing DUKE PROFESSIONAL, then select DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 when it populates.
- Click Continue.
- Next, You've confirmed that you want a Smart Option Student Loan for DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES will appear.
- Click Continue.
- Fill out Basic Information.
- Fill out Permanent Address section.
- 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 Loan period begins and loan period end dates.
- Enter your Anticipated Graduation / Completion.
- Enter loan amount. NOTE: This may not exceed the cost of tuition.
- Estimated financial assistance should be $0.00.
- Under Loan request, click Use calculated need.
- Do not check any box in typical school expenses.
- 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.
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. 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. Should books have already been ordered at time of cancellation notice (per verification from program manager) the cost of the books will be deducted from the refunded tuition.
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…”