Learn various approaches towards effective science communication and towards representing diverse voices across all communities involved in science.

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. 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).

Details, Dates & Deadlines

Program Details

Class Format


Program Length

9 months

Credits to Complete

12 Credits

Cost/Credit Hour

In State: $769
Out of State: $994

  • Online application
  • $75 application fee
  • Official transcripts
  • 300–500 word essay
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • CV or resume

Dates & Deadlines

Fall deadline: April 15 (Priority)
Fall deadline: July 1 (Final)

Program Structure

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).

Is an Online Course Right for You?

  • 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.

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 RepublicOn BeingNewsweek, 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.

Student Testimonials

 “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.”


Program Contacts


Nina Jackson
Admissions Counselor 



Isabell C. May, Ph.D
Program Director


Next Steps

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