Science Communication

2013-14 General Catalog

Kresge Annex A
(831) 459-4475

Faculty | Course Descriptions

Program Description

The Science Communication Program is a graduate certificate program composed of one track: science writing. Students combine a background in science with a desire to communicate science to the general public.  The program focuses on the practice of conceiving, reporting, writing, and editing articles on scientific, medical, environmental, and technological subjects for newspapers, magazines, and special publications directed at general readers. The program in science writing offers intensive training in news, features, multimedia storytelling, essays, and investigative reporting. Graduates receive a certificate in science writing.

Graduate Certificate in Science Writing

The program accepts 10 students per year. Enrollment in science writing classes is strictly limited to students enrolled in the program. The program consists of one academic year of full-time study, beginning in fall quarter, followed by a full-time internship lasting a minimum of 10 weeks. Science Notes, the UCSC online science magazine, is produced annually by the graduate students. Please see the current issue and an archive of past issues on our web site,

All students are required to complete at least two part-time internships in parallel with the six required graduate courses taken during the academic year. Internships are supervised by mentors on site, as well as by the program director. The interns earn academic credit for these field-study courses. The curriculum includes writing seminar courses in five distinct areas (news, features, multimedia, essays, and investigative reporting), as well as writing and editing workshops. Six courses from this curriculum, plus two course-equivalent internships, constitute the eight courses required for the graduate certificate. In addition to the academic year coursework, a full-time 10-week (minimum) internship, or an equivalent approved by the program director, is required.

Admission to the Science Writing Graduate Program

Students who have an intimate acquaintance with the theory and practice of science, an aptitude for writing, and a strong desire to communicate science to the general public are ideal candidates for the program. At least a bachelor’s degree in science is required for admission. Other admission requirements are: full-time research experience of at least six months duration; official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test scores; and official GRE Subject Test score in one of the following fields: biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or physics. Applicants with a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in one of these subjects are granted a waiver of the GRE Subject Test. Applications and instructions can be found online through the UCSC Graduate Division web site at

Further Information

Details about the science writing graduate certificate program may be obtained from the Science Communication Program office, the web site, or by sending e-mail to

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Revised: 09/01/13