Certificate in Technical and Professional Communication

About the Program

This program develops the communication skills that are needed in industry and professions. The focus is on learning what helps and what interferes with communication, and on ways to transform information into words in a clear and compelling way.

The Certificate prepares graduates to write and edit web pages, instructions, proposals, etc., and to analyse communication needs. Our graduates have the skills to work as technical and professional writers and act as language consultants.

The Certificate can be taken as part of a BA program or on its own. Each course carries undergraduate degree credit and may count as an elective if a particular degree program allows for electives. It is offered as a part-time program and can be completed over two years. The writing courses are all scheduled in the evening.

This program is ideal for current students or graduates who want to complement their liberal arts studies and for people who might be thinking of switching careers or moving into management. It also broadens the skills of people with a technical background and, therefore, their work opportunities.

Program Requirements

The Program in Technical and Professional Writing takes two years of part-time studies to complete.

Students take a maximum of six half courses. Four of the courses are in writing and documentation in the workplace and two courses are in computer science or information technology.

If you have previous academic credit in computer science or information technology you may be eligible for advanced standing.

To stay in the program, you need a minimum grade of C+ in each course.

At the end of the program there is a final proficiency examination.

Applicants must:

  • be enrolled in the second year of a degree program at York University in a relevant discipline. This means a field where you write a lot, for example English, history or translation, or a technical discipline like information technology.
  • have completed a university degree in a relevant discipline, or
  • have recent work experience in an administrative or a technical field which requires writing.

How to apply

Students currently enrolled at York University should apply directly to the Program through the School of Translation at Glendon College as they will need to be admitted to the courses to be able to enrol.


Telephone: 416-487-6742

All other applicants should apply through York University’s Office of Admissions.

URL for the Admissions form for on-line applications is: https://form.apps06.yorku.ca/uaform/

Courses in Computer Science or Information Technology

If you have previous academic credit in computer science or information technology you may be eligible for advanced standing. If these courses are indicated on the transcripts that you submit when you apply, we will automatically look for these credits. If you have taken courses but have not submitted the relevant transcripts you will need to get copies and leave them with the program assistant in room 241 York Hall.

Normally you are expected to complete the two courses in computer science or information technology before September of your second year.

You are encourage to take the following Glendon courses from the Communications Program: GL/COMS 2200 Computer Tools and Applications for Communication and COMS 2205 Creating and Promoting Web Content.

Courses in Writing and Documentation

Year 1 Fall course
GL/TRAN 3310 3.0 Problems in Professional Writing
Course Objectives
Learning to write professionally is partly a matter of learning new ways to pattern language and partly a matter of changing existing habits. Writing professionals are responsible for every aspect of language production: spelling, punctuation, accuracy, and layout on the page. One of the goals of this course is therefore to make sure that students understand the conventions of administrative writing and learn to correct errors of grammar, usage, and style in their own work and in the work of others.Learning to write for an organization also means learning to express what someone else has to say and to speak with the voice of the organization. To do this, a writer needs to be able to adapt his or her style and tone to the task at hand. This course will help students develop this flexibility through discussions of the elements which affect tone and style.Above all, a professional writer needs to be able to define the information that should go into a given document for a given audience. The writing assignments in this course are designed to develop this ability to solve problems through writing.
Year 1 Winter course
GL/TRAN 4310 3.0 Techniques in Business and Technical Writing I
Course Objectives
This course builds on the skills and knowledge acquired in TRAN 3310.04, Problems in Professional Writing. The focus is on understanding the relationship between audience, function, style, and format. Students will learn to direct their writing to a given audience, gather information as required by various workplace situations, begin to learn the basics of graphic design for typography and layout, and develop the skills required by team and project writing.Because writing in administrative, business, and technical fields requires a different kind of research and a different style from academic writing, students will work on a major project suitable for presentation in a writing portfolio.
Year 2 Fall course
GL/TRAN 4320 3.0 Techniques in Business and Technical Writing II

Course Objectives
This course focuses on creating documentation for computers. Using an actual
software product developed for business, you will work through the development of a user manual by following a project plan. Topics covered in this course are:

  • genres and types of user documentation
  • audience analysis
  • documentation planning
  • technical accuracy and user-context accuracy
  • software tools for successful documentation
  • online, hypertext and hypermedia problems and research
Year 2 Winter course
GL/TRAN 4330 3.0 Documentation in Business and Industry
Course Objectives
The purpose of this course is to provide you with an understanding of emerging information technologies used in a wide range of business environments. You will analyze and create the user assistance for specific business software, and present your solution in both written and oral presentations.
In addition to covering new approaches to design, the web and user assistance, the course is designed to also teach important development methods and project management skills, including the creation of refined project plans, presentations and final deliverables.

Departmental Administration


Philippe Theophanidis
Office: York Hall 139
Telephone: 416-736-2100 ext. 88470
Email: theop@glendon.yorku.ca

Program Assistant

Véronique Lim
Office: York Hall 241
Telephone: 416-487-6742
Email: translation@glendon.yorku.ca

Technical & Professional Communication
Glendon, York University
York Hall 241
2275 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M4N 3M6

Tel: 416-487-6742
Fax: 416-440-9570
Email: translation@glendon.yorku.ca