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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following are some Frequently Asked Questions relating to the B.A. in English with an emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication (WRTC). If you have further questions about your progress toward your degree or other advising questions, please contact your program advisor. Questions about earning an English degree with an emphasis in WRTC, or about our program in general, may be directed to Dr. Whitney Douglas at

If a student opts into the new Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication (WRTC) curriculum (i.e., 2018-2019 catalog) and has already taken ENGL 302 Technical Rhetoric and Genres, does she need to take ENGL 202?

Boise State Student Union Building. Photo by Allison Corona.

Answer: Yes, you need to take both. ENGL 302 and 202 are different courses. ENGL 202 offers a broad overview of typical workplace genres and an introduction to relevant theories and concepts. ENGL 302 offers a more in-depth study of a limited number of advanced topics relevant to students interested in working as technical communicators.

ENGL 202 INTRODUCTION TO TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION (3-0- 3)(F,S,SU)(DLS). An introduction to the principles and applications of technical communication, with an emphasis on audience characteristics and methods of performing research, analyzing data, and writing persuasive documents. Topics include audience analysis, the writing process, graphics, document design, the ethics of technical communication, and problem-solving research, as well as applications such as memos, letters, instructions, proposals, and reports. PREREQ: ENGL 102 (or ENGL 112) or PERM/INST.

ENGL 302 TECHNICAL RHETORIC AND GENRES (3-0- 3)(S). An advanced study of the rhetoric of technical communication for technical communication emphasis students and others who are considering a career in the field. Topics include information design, technical communication ethics, instructional writing, and strategies of visual and verbal rhetoric. PREREQ: ENGL 202 or PERM/INST.

In addition, ENGL 202 serves as a prerequisite for several upper-division courses within the WRTC emphasis. Having this prerequisite will allow students to smoothly register for such courses without seeking instructor permission to waive the prerequisite.

In the WRTC curriculum, we specify “15 upper-level electives and mentions those in English, Communication, and Linguistics.” Are those required to be taken in ENGL, COMM, and/or LING or can a student complete a minor (or course sequence) of their choice, such as Anthropology?

Answer: You must take those electives in ENGL, COMM, and/or LING. You can’t apply courses from minors outside of ENGL, COMM, and/or LING to this WRTC requirement. Before taking courses to meet this requirement, we strongly recommend you discuss your plans with your academic advisor so that you take a sequence of courses that reflects your academic and career goals rather than any ENGL, COMM, or LING courses that are open.

Students do have the option to propose the inclusion of courses outside these three areas to the Director of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication, Dr. Whitney Douglas ( If approved, you would need to submit an academic adjustment for these outside courses to apply toward this requirement. In addition, the degree does allow for 22-25 electives to meet 120 total credits (see bottom box of degree requirements) and those may be met however you choose, including courses leading to a minor or certificate.

Which DLS courses (such as ENGL 202) may WRTC majors choose to satisfy the DLS Social Science requirement?

Answer: DLS courses are designed to expose non-majors to the distinctive methods and perspectives of a disciplinary cluster. Except ENGL 202 (which does not count toward the DLS requirements for WRTC majors), any approved DLS Social Science course will satisfy this requirement. Because COMM 101 is a prerequisite for some upper-division COMM courses that may apply to WRTC requirements, we recommend you take COMM 101 as one of your DLS courses. Note: you must take DLS courses from two different fields.

Can I get both a degree in WRTC and an undergraduate Certificate in Technical Communication?

Answer: We love your enthusiasm! But, sadly, no. If you’re a WRTC major, you’re already getting a degree with a strong focus on technical communication; and the undergraduate Certificate in Technical Communication is intended for non-WRTC majors. WRTC majors may complete the Literature Minor [need link], Linguistics Minor, or Minor Teaching Endorsement in English, as well as other minors from across campus such as Minor or Certificate in Nonprofit Management or Design Ethnography Certificate.

I’m a Technical Communication emphasis (under a catalog prior to 2018-2019). For my Finishing Foundations course, I’m required to take ENGL 499 Capstone in Technical Communication? However, I don’t see it listed in the upcoming schedule of classes?

Answer: Technical Communication empahses as well as WRTC emphases must enroll in ENGL 492 Capstone in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication. For Technical Communication emphases, the Registrar’s office will automatically count ENGL 492 as fulfilling your ENGL 499 requirement.

May I complete an internship at the place I work?

Answer: You may not earn credit for an academic internship merely for working hours at your current job. An academic internship is designed to help you develop and broaden your workplace communication skills. However, some of our students do successfully complete internships at the place they already work. In order to do so, you must arrange to take on technical communication type duties or a project beyond your current job responsibilities and to get regular feedback from someone at your company with the appropriate background to comment on your technical communication work. For example, a student might already create paper-based instruction manuals for her company. She can’t earn internship credit for just doing the same work. But, her employer might want to explore developing online help and she could take on this new project for internship credit. Or, a student might notice that his employer would really benefit from having a new employee training handbook. He could propose to his supervisor to create this new handbook and earn internship credit.

You may get paid from your employer and receive reassigned time at work to complete your internship project and duties. Those arrangements are up to you and your employer. For information about arranging internships and contacting our Internship Director, see the internships information page. Please consult with your advisor to discuss how you might develop an appropriate internship at your work.

May I enroll in a graduate technical communication course while still an undergraduate?

Answer: Yes, undergraduates with senior standing may enroll in a graduate course while still working on their undergraduate degree. You must meet all the graduate course prerequisites and you will need to complete and submit the Permit for Seniors to Take Graduate Courses form. Students may not apply the graduate credits to both their undergraduate and graduate degree programs. That is, the credits may count toward your undergraduate degree (with your advisor’s approval)  or a future graduate degree but not both. Some technical communication emphasis students enroll in a graduate-level technical communication course to get a head start on their master’s degree. Other students enroll in the graduate course to round out their undergraduate education.