Professional Communication and Emerging Media


Professional Communication is a rapidly growing profession. Development of new technologies has increased the demand for professionals who can clearly explain policies, products and services to clients and customers. UW-Stout’s Professional Communications program integrates communication theory with coursework in a chosen applied field. Examples of applied fields include art and design, biomedical engineering, business and management, hospitality and tourism, international studies, manufacturing engineering, packaging, quality management, telecommunications, and training and development. Graduates of this program will have the skills to research, visualize, design, develop and oversee publication of both print and electronic documents.

Students can concentrate their studies in these areas: 

Applied Communication Concentration (online)
In the Applied Communication concentration, you’ll learn to write effectively for a variety of audiences, apply user-centered design strategies, and produce real projects for real clients, giving you a print and digital work portfolio to impress any prospective employer. Whether you aspire to be a technical writer, content manager, journalist, or copy editor, this fully online bachelor’s degree offers you the flexibility to combine your professional competencies with communication skills. Our full-time tenured or tenure-track program faculty have worked to create an enhanced learning environment that provides you with multiple opportunities to plan, create, and produce content in written and interactive media.

Technical Communication Concentration
Technical Communication is content that is directed at a particular audience (users, specialists, the public) for a particular purpose (instructions, requirements, information). It’s also the kind of communication that you can earn a living doing. Technical communicators are at work in every industry, in every size company. In just 10 years, the Technical Communication program at Stout has established itself as one of the largest programs of its kind in the country. Even in tough economic times, companies are reluctant to outsource or offshore their communication strategy. That means that our graduates will continue to find work, because they help companies and organizations meet their goals by communicating clearly in all media.

Applied Journalism Concentration
The profession of journalism is changing, and our program in Applied Journalism will prepare you to meet those changes. Today journalists have to be more than good writers. They need to understand multimedia, interactivity, and how content is repurposed into different channels. They need to be able to reach mobile users, web surfers, and podcast listeners. The concentration in Applied Journalism will prepare you to do all of these things, and be ready for technologies that don’t even exist yet. There are good jobs for writers and producers who bring content to a particular business sector. Interested in hospitality? Then prepare to be a travel writer. Love the fashion industry? Then learn to write for the trendsetters. Professionals in every industry depend on trade journals, websites, and other communication channels to keep them current, and graduates in Applied Journalism will provide them.

Digital Humanities Concentration
The Digital Humanities is the newest field of research and innovation at UW-Stout, in which students bring computing technology to bear on the “Big Questions.” You will search for answers to questions that drive you. In the Digital Humanities concentration you choose your field of interest from any offered on the Stout campus. You’ll combine those courses with some Computer Science offerings, and base it all on a solid foundation in writing, design, and rhetoric. After a course in research methods, you will spend a semester preparing a research proposal. Then you will spend a semester bringing technology, and your own skills in research, analysis, and communication, to bear on fulfilling your project. The culmination of your year-long research project will be a cutting-edge digital artifact that will constitute the centerpiece of your portfolio. Prospective employers will see what you are capable of; graduate school admissions committees will see what you are prepared to do. The digital world of the future belongs to those who understand how technology affects the ways people communicate, interact, and comprehend the world. A concentration in the Digital Humanities puts you at the forefront of technological innovation, and gives you the tools to stay there.

High School Preparation

  • General admissions criteria

  • English and communication courses, including foreign language
  • Basic computer and/or art courses
  • Desktop publishing or multimedia courses
  • Extracurricular activities like working on the student newspaper or yearbook staff


Technical Communication Concentration

  • Technical writer/editor
  • Documentation manager
  • Content manager
  • Multimedia producer
  • Project manager
  • Marketing writer
  • Usability strategist
  • Freelance writer/editor
  • Curriculum developer

Applied Journalism Concentration

  • Journalist/editor
  • PR writer
  • Blogger
  • Trade journal reporter
  • Researcher
  • Copy editor
  • Publisher
  • Freelance writer/editor

Digital Humanities Concentration

  • Web content manager
  • Multimedia producer
  • Communications strategist
  • User experience specialist
  • Digital trends analyst
  • New media specialist
  • Humanities computing engineer
  • Graduate study

Average beginning salary for UW-Stout graduates in this major — $40,000
100% employment in 2012–2013

View our Annual Employment Report for more details.

Explore Your Courses:

» Sample Freshman Schedule

Composition I or Freshman English Honors I
Introduction to Professional Communication
Analytic Reasoning — MATH/STAT Course
Foreign Language I
Fundamentals of Speech

Composition II or Freshman English Honors II or Honors Seminar II
Elements of Style for Professional Writers
Analytic Reasoning Course II
Foreign Language II
Social/Behavioral Course I

See our Undergraduate Bulletin for more information on these courses.

» Courses You May Take in the Major

Introduction to Technical Communication
Trends, opportunities, and technologies used in technical communication. Rhetorical dimensions of technical documentation as well as ethical and social responsibilities.

Professional Writing Elements of Style
Develop stylistic fluency through study of interaction of rhetoric, style, and grammar. May not be substituted for any required English composition course.

Critical Approaches to the Digital Humanities
Explores the rhetoric of technologies and the dynamic interaction between digital technologies and society

Writing for the Media
Theory and practice of writing for the media.

Feature Writing
Plan, research and create feature articles for newspapers, magazines and online publications; develop research tools and writing skills; observe ethical and legal considerations in writing.

International Technical Communication
Theories and practical approaches to writing international technical documents, including globalization, localization, and translation preparations and procedures. Extensive use of case studies and cultural models.

Writing for the Internet
Investigate writer and audience interaction in hypertext and multimedia environments, and gain exposure to and utilize markup languages to maximize audience participation. Research, produce, and test an original hypertext or multimedia artifact.

Usability Design and Testing
Plan, design, and conduct tests, measure effectiveness and efficiency of written and online documents; examine methodology and application of usability testing to demonstrate its value and importance.

See our Undergraduate Bulletin for more information on these courses.


Program Video

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Contact Information

Matt Livesey, Program Director
116 Callahan Hall
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Menomonie, WI 54751-0790

Phone: 715-232-1358

Daisy Pignetti, Online Concentration Director
219 Callahan Hall
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Menomonie, WI 54751-0790

Phone: 715/232-5139

Program Websites: On Campus | Online

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