Course Details

Course Code(s):
Course Start Date:
2 Years
Graduate Certificate
NFQ Level 9 Minor Award
Faculty: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Course Type: Taught, Professional/Flexible, Online
Fees: For Information on Fees, see section below.


Name: Dr. Elaine Walsh

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Brief Description

Technical communication is a fast-growing discipline worldwide, as communication media become more pervasive and technology more complex. The University of Limerick pioneered a full-time programme in technical communication in 1995. Since September 2001, UL has offered a Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing by distance learning.

Course Contact

For additional information on the application process, please email For information on programme content and structure, please contact the Programme Director, Elaine Walsh, at


The aim of this distance learning programme is to offer flexible access to certification through distance learning for people who lack qualifications in Technical Communication. The programme emphasises that the job of a technical writer entails more than writing – graphics, cultural issues, layout, and design all play a part, and students receive tuition on all of these areas.


The specific objectives are:

• To provide distance learning students with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of technical communication.

• To prepare students for productive employment as effective technical writers in industry.

• To provide people who lack qualifications in technical communication with access to certification via distance learning.


On successful completion of the programme, graduates will be able to:

• Design and deliver instructional materials.

• Use a number of multimedia applications.

• Manage complex writing and design projects.

• Write clear, correct, precise content.



Graduates will be unique in Ireland, qualified to work as technical writers, and in a variety of related roles such as editing, web design, and technology journalism. In addition, graduates may be eligible to gain employment in the areas of instructional design and e-learning as they also receive tuition in these areas. Typically, our graduates gain employment in Ireland but as the programme is university accredited, it is also possible to gain employment abroad.



The programme comprises four modules. Students complete the course over four semesters (two academic years), taking one module each semester (autumn and spring). The programme follows the same term structure as on-campus programmes at UL, so module assignments must be completed within that timeframe. Content is delivered through the UL Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Lectures are delivered via podcasts, combined with learning objects and/or other resources. Students may participate in online chats, online discussions, and peer-supported learning activities to complete coursework. Each module is intensive as there is continuous coursework (no end-of-semester examinations) and students are expected to login to the VLE several times a week (although they are not obliged to login at specific times). During their studies, students may be invited to attend a workshop/session at the University of Limerick campus. This is an opportunity for students to visit the campus and meet their lecturers and classmates. Students are not obliged to attend these workshops, however, and the workshop materials will be posted online for all students.


Academic Year

Autumn Semester

Spring Semester

Year 1

TW5211 Principles of Professional and Technical Communication and Information Design (9 ECTS)

TW5212 Workplace Issues in Technical and Professional Communication (9 ECTS)

Year 2

EL6041 Instructional Design (9 ECTS)

EL6072 Interactive Courseware Workshop (9 ECTS)

Normally, a primary degree in any discipline is required for admission to the course. Prior experience working as a technical writer or instructional designer will also be an advantage. Applicants lacking a formal degree can apply to be considered through RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) using the standard application form, but they must provide evidence of relevant prior learning and experience.

Applicants must have a high standard of written English.

Applicants must be proficient computer users. Whilst an ECDL qualification is not compulsory, applicants should have a similar level of computer experience i.e. a very good working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications and the Internet. Applicants must have access to the Internet (Broadband ideally), as the course is delivered online. During their studies, students may be invited to attend a workshop/session at the University of Limerick campus. This is an opportunity for students to visit the campus and meet their lecturers and classmates. Students are not obliged to attend these workshops, however, and the workshop materials will be posted online for all students.

What to Include with your Application
Delays in receiving these documents will affect the progress of your application.

  • Photo or Scanned original copy of your transcripts for all years of study. (Graduates of UL need only provide us with their Student ID number.)
  • Photo or Scanned copy of passport to verify ID and full legal name.
  • A copy of your most recent CV.
  • Applicants who do not have English as their first language may satisfy English Language requirements:
  • If your qualifications have been obtained in a country where English is an official language this will suffice. If this is not available, the following additional documents must be provided: English translation of your qualification(s)/transcript AND English language competency certificate

For more information Click Here

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the applications system be open to new applicants?

Applications will be accepted from the beginning of April. We will only accept applications when the system is officially open.

When is the closing date for applications?

We will accept applications until the end of June. We will only accept applications after that date if places are still available.

How many students take the programme each year?

We usually accept 15 to 20 new students per year.

When does the programme start?

The programme follows the same semester structure as full-time programmes at the University of Limerick. The autumn teaching semester starts on the first Monday in September.

Is the programme run completely by distance learning?

None of the four modules requires attendance on-campus, since all of the modules are assessed online by continuous assessment. However, we may offer occasional on-campus software workshops (not more than one day per semester). Although attendance at workshops is not compulsory, if students do not attend, they must take responsibility for learning the software themselves because knowledge of the software packages is required for completion of some projects. Note: All students will be granted online access to the workshop materials, even if they do not attend the workshops.

Are there any other costs associated with the programme?

As well as the fee per module, students must pay for Internet access and books (on average two books per module). Students will also have access to some e-books through the UL Library website. For some assignments, students can use free limited-period trial versions of software tools. The HEAnet ( provide offers on devices, software, and services for students.

Can I proceed to the MA in Technical Communication and E-Learning on completion of the Graduate Certificate programme?

Currently, there is no direct route to the MA from the Graduate Certificate programme. However, there is a direct correspondence in terms of modules between the Graduate Certificate programme and Year 1 of the part-time MA. If you think that you may want to progress beyond the graduate certificate, you should register for the MA instead of the graduate certificate, as this will give you the option to graduate with a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, or MA (depending on how far you progress). Students on the part-time MA, who wish to exit with a Graduate Certificate award, will complete the course over two semesters (one academic year), taking two modules per semester (autumn and spring). If you wish to complete the programme in one academic year you must apply for the MA in Technical Communication and E-Learning and not the Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing.

EU - €870

Non- EU - €2,400

*This is a modular fee billed by semester.

Further information on fees and payment of fees is available from the Student Fees Office website. All fee related queries should be directed to the Student Fees Office (Phone: +353 61 213 007 or email


Please click here for information on funding and scholarships.

"I really enjoyed the Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing especially the delivery and content. Being based in the U.A.E., I wanted to do a course which was flexible, professional, recognised and of a high-quality standard – the Graduate Certificate was all these things. I found the lecturers and UL highly encouraging and supportive. I strongly recommend this course as a viable study option for anyone who wishes to study and upgrade their skills via a distance and flexible mode."