“This program is one of the best career decisions I have ever made.”
“This course helped me grow as a science writer in ways outside of my comfort zone.”
“This program’s structure has been different from the typical course set up. By having one class at a time, I was able to focus on select skills at a steady pace. After the completion of the program, I felt prepared to write in any discipline within science whether for an academic audience or the general public.”
“I found Science Writing Principles one of the most productive courses that I’ve ever taken during my PhD program.”
“I gained transferable skills that will assist me not only with my thesis, but my career as a scientist.”
“I learned writing techniques that I honestly wish I knew back in undergrad and even in high school.”
What is Degree Works?
Degree Works is a degree audit and advising system to help students, administrators, and advisors plan for academic success.
You will find useful information when you log-in such as classes you have completed along with the grade earned, diploma application status. any holds you may have, residency status, overall GPA and your degree progress.
This unique 12-credit graduate certificate program is entirely online and can help advance your career in science communication.
In today’s increasingly more complex and global world, we are inundated with competing and often contradictory messages about science research, scientific progress, and the limitations of science. In such a world, effective and equitable science communication, or SciComm, plays a critical role for many professions intersecting with science. Our certificate program emphasizes various approaches towards effective science communication and towards representing diverse voices across all communities involved in science.
Effective science communication, we think, includes lots of practice. Therefore, we have designed a program that exposes students to different strategies in science communication, current research on the science of science communication, examples of science communication across various platforms and modalities (e.g., social media, journalism, academic publications).
The priority deadline is April 15. The final deadline for admission to the fall semester is July 1.
Explore Certificate Objectives
Throughout the course of the program, students will read sections from the Faith Kearns’ groundbreaking book Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement. Dr. Kearns is a scientist and science communication practitioner who focuses primarily on water, wildfire, and climate change in the western United States. Her work has been published broadly, including in the New Republic, On Being, Newsweek, the BBC, and Bay Nature. Dr. Kearn's book has been described as a "terrific first step to handling [...] increasingly unpredictable conversations" with broad, potentially combative audiences (Candace J. Akins, Native Plants Journal) and "a must-read for amateurs and professionals" (Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Office of Science for the U.S. Department of Energy).
Other course material will consist of published articles in academic and non-academic journals, blogs, podcasts, social media posts, multimodal resources (e.g., YouTube channels and TikTok videos), sample grants, selections from books, reports and brochures from organizations such as the American Academy of Arts & Sciences or the American Association for the Advancement of science (AAAS), and other relevant materials.
This program is interesting to both novices or early career professional in science communication as well as those with experience in communicating scientific research and innovations to various audiences. It provides an overview of many important aspects that are of concern to science communication practitioners across disciplinary and professional backgrounds, with a particular focus on equity and social justice in SciComm. Many of our alumni work or pursue careers in communication department of universities, especially those with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM); medical institutions; government agencies; and for-profit companies as well as non-profit research-based institutions. Some of our alumni are also researchers who have enrolled in this program to enrich their own SciComm practice across diverse audiences.
The SciComm program is a 12-credit, four-course graduate certificate program offered in an asynchronous, 100% online environment. This means that we offer maximum flexibility to meet the needs of working professionals. There are no online meetings or set times when you'll need to log in; just submit your coursework before the posted deadlines and check back in for feedback from your instructors and classmates.
As a student in this program, you will acquire expertise in science communication. Your classmates will most likely be practicing professionals with a health, scientific, or journalism background who are employed or seeking employment in areas related to science communication.
At the end of the program, you will have a portfolio or revised work that can easily become part of your SciComm portfolio when applying for SciComm related positions in the future. Some students even get their work published while in the program (e.g., summaries of Cochrane Reviews, book reviews, and SciComm columns on UMB;s digital platform the Elm).
Program Completion Timeline
- All four courses will be offered at least once each year to enable you to complete the program within one year.
- Participants begin the program in the fall and complete it in the spring (courses need to be taken in sequence).
- Although most students complete the program within one year, you will be allowed up to three years to complete the program.
According to the US Department of Labor, employment of technical writers is projected to grow 10% from 2014 to 2024. The knowledge and training you'll receive in the Science Communication Certificate Program will be applicable to a number of rapidly growing fields, including:
- Scientific Journalism
- Public Information/Affairs
- Research and academic institutions
- Technical and Scientific Writing
- Writing for Scholarly Journals
- Writing Proposals and Grants
The Science Communication certificate is a stackable credential that can be applied toward a Master of Science in Health Sciences or a Master of Science in Health and Social Innovation.
The 30-credit MS Health Science program is available entirely online and can be completed by a working professional is as little as 18 months. Upon the successful completion of the certificate, all 12 of the credits are completely transferrable to the MS Health Science program and the GRE requirement is waived. This means that when you finish your certificate, you'll be 18 credits away from a Master's degree! Want to know more about the 18 credits? See the core curriculum
The 36-credit MS Health and Social Innovation program is available as a hybrid degree combining elements of online and in-class learning and can be completed by a working professional in as little as 24 months. Upon the successful completion of the certificate, all 12 of the credits are completely transferrable to the MS Health and Social Innovation program. This means that when you finish your certificate, if you choose you'll be 24 credits away from a Master's degree! Check out the curriculum for the MS in Health and Social Innovation.
If you prefer to complete the Master’s and certificate coursework concurrently, please submit your application for the Master’s program. In this case, the GRE requirement will not be waived.