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Professional Communication for Engineering Students

Course Code: CMNS 1135
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Communications
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

In this introductory course, students will learn the fundamentals of the communication and teamwork skills required in an engineering career. Students will learn how to use the writing process to produce informative and persuasive research papers, email, résumés, cover letters, and presentations. Students will also learn strategies for communicating effectively and persuasively with different audiences, addressing political, ethical, and social issues facing engineers.

Course Content

Course Content:

  1. The Writing Process

1.1   Planning

1.1.1  Purpose and scope

1.1.2  Audience analysis

1.1.3  Form and format conventions

1.1.4  Organizing and outlines

                1.2   Drafting

1.2.1  Clarity, coherence, and conciseness

1.2.2  Tone

1.2.3  Effective sentences and paragraphs

        1.3    Revising

1.3.1  Drafts

1.3.2  Peer review

1.3.3  Final submission

2.  Rhetorical principles and strategies

2.1   Audience analysis

2.2   Persuasive correspondence, proposals, and reports

3.  Critical thinking

3.1   Identifying technical, ethical, and social issues in engineering

3.2   Analyzing technical, ethical, and social issues in engineering

4.  Research strategies

4.1   Library resources

4.2   Online resources

5.  Graphics

5.1   Documents

5.2   Oral presentations

6.  Oral presentations

6.1   Informative presentations

6.2   Persuasive presentations

6.3   Presentation aids and graphics

7.  Job search tools

7.1   Résumés and cover letters

7.2   Online job application tools

8.  Academic integrity

8.1   Citing sources

8.2   Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and American Psychological Association reference citation styles

9.  Teamwork, project management, and professionalism


Methods of Instruction

Some or all of the following methods will be used:

  1. lecture/discussion
  2. group work
  3. peer review
  4. projects
  5. instructor feedback on students' work
  6. individual consultation
  7. presentation (individual or group)

Means of Assessment

Students will be assessed using a variety of evaluations, both written and oral, such as the following:

Quizzes/tests/short writing assignments                      10%

Research paper topic proposal (purpose, audience)        5%

Annotated bibliography (draft introduction, references) 10%

Informative research paper and presentation                20%

Persuasive research paper and presentation                 25%

Cover letter and résumé                                             15%

Participation                                                              15%

Total                                                                       100%

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Use the multi-step writing process to plan, draft, and revise reports, correspondence, and presentations.
  • Use rhetorical and audience analysis strategies to produce persuasive research reports and presentations.
  • Use research strategies to produce informative and persuasive research reports.
  • Produce and deliver oral presentations on engineering issues.
  • Produce effective graphics for documents and presentations.
  • Use engineering conventions in form, format, and reference citation.
  • Produce cover letters and résumés and use job application strategies.
  • Demonstrate effective use of teamwork skills to complete communication tasks.
  • Demonstrate academic integrity.
  • Use critical thinking to identify and analyze contemporary political, ethical, and social issues in engineering.

course prerequisites

Any College entrance Language Proficiency Requirement with the exceptions of the Douglas College Course Options in ELLA or ENGU and the assessments listed below. These require the specified higher standard for entry into CMNS, CRWR and ENGL courses.
• a minimum grade of C- in ELLA 0460, or a minimum grade of C- in both ELLA 0465 and 0475, OR
• a minimum grade of C- in ENGU 0450 or ENGU 0455 or ENGU 0490, OR
• Mastery in ELLA 0330 and any two of ELLA 0310, 0320, or 0340, OR
• TOEFL overall score of 83 with a minimum of 24 in Writing, OR
• IELTS overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0, OR
• CLB score of 8, OR
• CEFR level B2+, OR
• CAEL minimum overall and essay score of 70 (computer or paper based), OR
• recognized equivalent or exemption.





curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.