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Department of
Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences

Graduate Certificate in Scientific and Professional Communication


The ability to communicate professionally is a fundamental necessity in a society where information has become the most powerful currency. Students currently enrolled in NMT graduate programs, as well as professionals from the state of New Mexico and beyond, will profit from this advance degree option that hones their communication skills specific to their professional demands and, more generally, allows them to achieve mastery of a variety of modes of communication.


Learning Outcomes for Graduate Certificate in Scientific and Professional Communication

1. Students will demonstrate graduate-level writing and editing.

2. Students will demonstrate a graduate-level understanding of key scholarship and research, history, current issues, and cultural matters in scientific and professional writing.

3. Students will demonstrate a graduate-level ability to connect theory with practice in one or both of the following ways:
(a) creating effective documents in scientific and professional genres,
(b) performing proficiently in the use of software technology.

4. Students will demonstrate a graduate-level understanding of ethical issues for scientific and professional writers.

The Program

The Certificate covers fundamentals of graduate writing (including science writing), communication, and public speaking, and it allows for individual tailoring.

The Certificate requires a minimum of 14 credit hours of course work:

- COMM 575 or TC 505. Students chose either academic science writing (COMM 575) or popular science writing (TC 505) as a required course.

    - TC 511: Persuasive Communication.

    - Electives (6 credits). Students must chose 2 from among the following:

  • Comm 575/TC 505 (whichever was not used for the requirement
  • TC 561: Data Visualization
  • ENGL 511: Creative Writing
  • SPAN 520: Spanish
  • TC 521: Professional Writing Work
  • TC 512: International Professional Communication (Int'l Prof Comm)
  • COMM 560: Public Speaking
  • Any special topics course listed as TC 589
  • A graduate-level course approved by an advisor

- Experiential Learning/Community Service Project (2 credits). The student works with an advisor to develop a project for their workplace or for a non-profit organization that utilizes skills learned in the program.


COMM 560, Professional Public Speaking (3 credits, 3 class hours)
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor
Theory and practice of ethical and professional speech communication. Research, writing and presenting professional presentations. Designing and using effective visuals, including posters and electronic presentation aids. Conducting group presentations and discussions about ethical and cross-curriculum issues in historical, cultural and workplace context. Design, schedule and present a formal research colloquium.

COMM 575, Communication in the Sciences (3 credits, 3 class hours)
Prerequisite: Graduate enrollment in Sciences
Advanced communication writing courses linked to science disciplines, focusing on graduate and professional genres (e.g., conference abstracts, journal articles, and conference presentations). Emphasis on communicating technical information to a variety of audiences.

TC 505, Science Writing (3 credits, 3 class hours)
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor
This course provides an overview of science writing genres designed to reach multiple audiences (e.g., specialists, policymakers, students, the public), with an emphasis on nonspecialist audiences. The course is useful both to students pursuing a career as a professional science or technical writer and to students in the sciences hoping to improve their communication skills. Course topics include, but are not limited to, popular science writing (e.g., writing for mainstream magazines and newspapers) and public information (e.g., press releases, websites, science blogs, informational videos). The course involves a service-learning project providing students with opportunities for publication.

TC 511, Persuasive Communication (3 credits, 3 class hours)
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor
Instruction in theories and practices of effective persuasive communication. Course content will include extensive audience analysis and planning, drafting, and revising persuasive documents, with a heavy emphasis on funding and research proposals for targeted audiences.

TC 512, International Professional Communication (3 credits, 3 class hours). 
Producing efficient and effective information for audiences situated in different geographic locations is a major concern of companies and organizations, both large and small. This course develops the knowledge and skills needed to analyze and solve the problems posed by a world that is increasingly diverse, interconnected, and driven by knowledge, technology and the capacity to learn and adapt to new and ever changing contexts and situations. During the course, students will produce artifacts that demonstrate development and accomplishments as an international professional communicator. Extra work is required for graduate credit.

TC 521, Professional Writing Workshop (3 credits, 3 class hours)
Emphasis on the development and writing processes of professional communication documents, which might include computer software documentation, websites, videos, policy and procedural manuals. Students gain practical experience working on an in-depth documentation project with clients and developing materials for users.

TC 561, Data Visualization (3 credits, 3 class hours)
Knowing how to communicate information graphically and in such a way as to intuitively engage its audiences is a fundamental skill to have in a world permeated by data. This course develops the knowledge and skills needed to evaluate, plan and produce aesthetic, ethical, and functional data displays—graphs, charts, technical illustrations, maps, interactive displays, and others—for people engaged in science, technology, business, government, and academia, as well as for semi-specialized and lay audiences. Extra work is required for graduate credit.

ENGL 511, Graduate Creative Writing (3 credits, 3 class hours)
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor
Professional-level writing in fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction or plays. Focuses on the genre of the student’s choice. Students write often, revise frequently, learn and apply methods of creative writing instruction.

SPAN 520, Advanced Spanish Reading & Comprehension (3 credits, 3 class hours)
Creative writing in Spanish. The class explores the poetic and musical legacy of the Spanish speaking countries, and writes poems, short stories, or a small literary piece in Spanish.


Department Chair
Dr. Steve Simpson

Department Secretary
Liza Apache
Department of Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Fitch Hall
801 Leroy Place
Socorro, NM 87801

Phone: 575-835-5445     Fax: 575-835-5544