Science Communication

2017-18 General Catalog

Kresge Annex A
(831) 459-4475

Faculty | Course Descriptions

Program Description

The Science Communication (SCIC) Program is a graduate certificate program composed of one track: science writing. Students combine a background in scientific research 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 and magazines, online news outlets, universities and federal agencies, and special publications directed at general readers. The program in science writing offers intensive training in news, features, multimedia storytelling, profiles and essays, and investigative reporting. Graduates receive a certificate in science writing. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our web site.

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 summer 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,

The program consists of a required sequence of six courses covering the main skills of professional journalism: SCIC 201A, Reporting and Writing Science News; SCIC 201B: The Science Feature; SCI 201C: Profile and Essay Writing; SCIC 201D: Policy and Investigative Reporting; SCIC 201E: Multimedia Science News; and SCIC 202: Writing and Editing Workshop. Assignments in each course are overseen by practicing journalists and editors, and many course projects are published regionally and nationally. In addition, students must complete at least two part-time writing and reporting internships during the academic year at media organizations and news offices, through formal arrangements overseen by the Science Communication Program. The six required courses, plus two course-equivalent internships, constitute the eight courses (40 units) required for the graduate certificate. The final requirement is a full-time professional internship in science journalism or public outreach at a venue approved by the program director, for a minimum of 10 weeks.

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. All applicants must have a prior degree in science or engineering (B.S./B.A., M.S., or Ph.D.) to be eligible. Other admission requirements are: full-time research experience of at least six months duration;official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test scores; and at least three references from faculty or supervisors familiar with the applicant's research and communications skills. 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

[Return to top]

Revised: 09/01/17