For years, many firms were reluctant to hire both husband and wife or had policies prohibiting it. Nowadays, it seems, employers increasingly are coming to accept and value company couples.

The World of Work Report cites a study of 1,300 Fortune corporations indicating that 82 percent do not have policies forbidding husband and wife on the same payroll. The only requirement in most of them is that the pair not work in the same department or report to the same supervisor.

"Such relatively open attitudes on the part of employers," says the report, "are a far cry from the barriers that once existed in most personnel departments."

Officials at General Electric in Pittsfield, Mass., and American Telephone and Telegraph in New York City are quoted as saying the change in attitude came, in part, because the people they wanted to hire insisted on it.

One advantage to AT&T, says an official, is that company couples seem more willing to relocate than two-career couples in which spouses work for different firms. This is because AT&T can provide jobs for both husband and wife at the new work site, so the career of neither is interrupted.

MANAGEMENT MASTERS: Checking the help-wanted ads in the newspaper, the staff at Maryland's Frostburg State College noticed a continuing demand for technical writers, the people who transfer complex mechanical concepts to the printed page.

Another recurring group of ads seeks managers with an ability to communicate well, a skill that has become increasingly important in our information-hungry society.

"We looked in college catalogues," says Frostburg journalism Prof. A. Franklin Parks, "and we could find no programs in the local area that blended the two fields of writing and management, which are so often joined in the job market."

The result is a new 14-course Master of Science in Management evening program starting this fall at the college's Frederick Center. It includes 24 credit hours of management training and 18 credit hours of communication training.

The writing segment will focus particularly on organizational communication, technical writing, scientific writing, editing, business writing, publication and research methods.

"By meshing management and communications course work," says graduate school dean Paul R. Lyons, "we have achieved a unique program that meets the needs of writers and editors who have to manage and managers who have to write."

Registration has been closed for the fall semester of the graduate school, but the masters program is an ongoing one. The college suggests students enroll in two courses a semester (in a three-semester year--fall, spring, summer) to obtain a master of science in two years and one semester. The classes are scheduled so students can take two courses on the same night of the week; for example, from 6-8:30 p.m. and 8:30-11 p.m.

The cost is $64 per credit hour, or $384 a semester for two courses of three credit hours each.

For more information, contact: Graduate School, Frostburg State College, Frostburg, Md. 21532 (301) 689-4231.

TOO MANY BOSSES? That's the conclusion of a researcher at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who found that the proliferation of managers in the workplace has led to costly bureaucracy and sagging productivity.

Writes Shan Martin, who has just completed a book, "Managing Without Managers" (Sage Publications, Beverly Hills):

"Most workers can do their jobs without the complex hierarchies of supervision that now burden our institutions. If we want to save money and create more efficient organizations, we should start cutting at the top."

GRAD SCHOOL: Representatives from more than 200 of America's graduate schools will gather on the George Washington University campus for a two-day informational program Oct. 25 and 26 aimed at individuals considering an advanced degree.

The first day of the Graduate School and Professional Day Program, sponsored by the Washington area's universities, will feature law schools. Representatives from graduate schools of business, arts and sciences are scheduled for the second day.

Activities are scheduled from 2-7 p.m. each day at George Washington's Marvin Center Ballroom, 21st and H streets NW. They are open to the public, and no reservations are necessary.

For more information: Washington D.C. Area Universities Graduate and Professional School Days, Attn.: Andrea Stewart, George Washington University, 2130 H St. NW, Room 621 D, Washington, D.C. 20052 or 676-6217.

EASY REFERENCE: In Prince George's County, librarians are planning for major new additions to their already large collection of reference books and other materials related to job-hunting and other career concerns.

Right now they are reviewing a wide range of career books, and in February expect to open "The Workplace," a special area devoted to job topics, in each of the county's 11 largest libraries.

The demand at library reference centers for books on career topics has been heavy, especially during recent months of local and national high unemployment. One section of The Workplace will feature information for adults reentering the job market, out-of-work adults displaced by new technology, the disabled, unemployed youth and the hard-core unemployed.