PhD Programs in Technical Communication

Subject: PhD Programs in Technical Communication
From: Mark Johnson <Mark_Johnson -at- INTUIT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 1996 11:48:29 -0700

Original Message:

Date: Thu, 11 Apr 1996 19:16:15 +0000
From: Nancy Hoft <nhoft -at- WORLD-READY -dot- COM>
Subject: PhD Programs in Technical Communication

I am interested in knowing about PhD programs in technical
communication. I am aware of some of them. RPI, Carnegie Mellon,
Drexel, and Oklahoma State, but that's it. Anyone know of any other


I suggest pursuing a PhD in English. My Boston University English PhD
has served me well in my career as a tech writer. The fact that a
literature or language PhD does not prepare you for a specific
vocation (other than university teaching) is an asset.
Self-motivation, research skills, the ability to collect, assess, and
interpret massive amounts of information--all are skills honed as a
PhD candidate, and I constantly call on them in my corporate work

Because our skill sets must change so quickly, companies often hire
writers for their potential as much as for whatever set of vocational
skills they happen to have at any point in time. The fact that someone
completed the grueling PhD process (more than 50% of all literature and
language PhD candidates never complete their PhD) demonstrates to
employers that you have creativity, perseverance, and
intelligence--qualities that are ultimately more important than
familiarity with the year's hot desktop publishing software.

Also, English PhD programs require that graduates know two languages
besides English. Being a polyglot definitely increases your value to
international companies.

--Mark Johnson
mark_johnson -at- intuit -dot- com

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