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Science Communication

Specialized Certificate

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About the Science Communication Program

UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your educational goals. We have transitioned many of our courses to a LIVE ONLINE* or ONLINE* format, in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We will resume in-person classes when it is deemed safe to do so.
LIVE ONLINE* classes are fully online with live virtual class meetings each week using our Zoom conferencing system.
ONLINE* classes have pre-recorded lectures each week and guided assignments from the instructor.


Learn the Necessary Skills to Write Journalistic Pieces about Science

The Specialized Certificate in Science Communication is designed to provide you with the necessary skills to communicate professionally and effectively about science from a journalistic perspective. You will focus on understanding how to help an audience of general readers engage with and understand scientific and technical information. Courses are taught by successful science writers and other industry experts who have learned from their years of experience and/or formal science writing education.

The goal of this program is to train current and future science professionals in the skills needed to clearly communicate technical, scientific information. Some areas where you can choose to focus your program’s specificity are: how to write news and features from a journalistic perspective; how to build a business around writing; self-editing; the art of interviewing; blogging; how to write nonfiction and informational content for children; and how to publish on the web. In all scenarios, you will learn the art of how to make science relevant and more accessible to different audiences.

Questions about our classes or certificates? Contact our department at 858-534-5760 or ahl@ucsd.edu.

  • Pitching and writing a freelance science article for general publication.
  • Writing Op-Eds and letters to the editor.
  • How to interact with reporters and prepare for a live on-camera interview.
  • Understanding how to effectively use videos and social media to communicate science.
  • The art of the press release.
  • To develop story ideas, cultivate sources, practice interviewing techniques, and craft and structure compelling articles.
  • Ethical standards in journalism.
  • Students and post-graduates who are interested in entering into careers in Science Writing, including journalism, public relations, and other communications positions related to science.
  • Scientists, writers and professionals in scientific fields who want to learn how to communicate their work and field research to laypeople more effectively.
Format: In-Person, Online

Varies by course and quarter

Estimated Cost: $1,950

Early enrollment discount available. Cost does not include textbooks.

Duration: 12 -18 Months

Dependent on number of courses taken per quarter.

Contact
Department
Arts, Humanities, Languages & Digital Arts
Phone
858-534-5760
Email
ahl@ucsd.edu

Courses

Delivery Method
Show Legend
  • Live Online
  • In-Person
  • Online
  • Hybrid
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Required Courses

9 units

Science Writing IWCWP-40105

Units: 3.00

$370

This course provides an introduction to most forms of science communication intended for non-scientific audiences, such as news and feature writing for both print and online outlets, video scripts, un...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter, Summer

News and Feature WritingWCWP-40276

Units: 3.00

$320

The goal of this course is to introduce you to the purpose of journalism and the fundamentals of news and featue writing. In this ever-changing media landscape, one thing can remain constant: an indiv...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter, Summer

Final Required Course

(All other Required Courses and Electives must be completed first)

Science Writing IIWCWP-40230

Units: 3.00

$395

Science Writing II9 Weeks | $395 | Live Online As the final capstone course for the Science Communication Certificate, this advanced writing course is designed to build upon the skills learned in the...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall

Electives

Min 6 units required

Building a Business around WritingWCWP-40321

Units: 1.00

$145

There a many avenues to building a business around writing. In this short course we will briefly discuss various possibilities including becoming a book author, freelance writer for hire, or journal...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Summer

Self-Editing and Publishing for the WebWCWP-40313

Units: 3.00

$425

The ability to edit your own written work is a skill that s highly valued by employers and publishers. This class focuses on strengthening your writing for the web using journalistic techniques. Wheth...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

The Writer's Art of InterviewingWCWP-40123

Units: 2.00

$245

Effective interviewing techniques translate to writing that is clear, lively, and depending on the writer s mission instructive or entertaining. This course will encompass all the integral compone...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

The Art and Business of BloggingWCWP-40334

Units: 3.00

$320

In this course students will learn the art of writing for an online audience, how to create a basic Wordpress site, insert blog posts, edit, and brand their blog. This course will also touch on how to...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Writing Non-Fiction and Informational Books for ChildrenWCWP-40327

Units: 3.00

$350

The market for children s nonfiction and informational books and articles has never been better. In this course, which can be taken by those familiar with writing for children and those just beginnin...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Summer

Science Communication InternshipWCWP-40329

Units: 2.00

TBD

Students undertake a 60-hour internship experience to apply their science communication studies, skills and principles within a professional organization. Students explore science communication as a d...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Conditions for Admission

Applicants are encouraged to have some previous background in writing and general knowledge of science. With the exception of the Science Communication Internship, all courses are open to students not enrolled in the certificate, as long as they complete the prerequisites to the particular course.

Certificate Guidelines

The Specialized Certificate in Science Communication consists of 15 units total. Students will take three (3) required courses (Science Writing I, News and Feature Writing and Science Writing II) which will give them the basic skills needed to communicate science concepts to a general audience through a variety of platforms and will provide them a fundamental understanding of the science writing marketplace.

Additionally, students will choose a minimum of six (6) units of elective courses which will enable them to focus on specific areas of interest.

Advisory Board

Mario Aguilera, B.A. Communication

Director/Comm-Bio Sci

UC San Diego

Jacqueline Carr, B.A. Law & Society

Assistant Executive Director of Communications

UC San Diego

Jon Cohen, B.A. Science Writing

Science Writer

Lynne Friedmann, B.A. Journalism/Bio

Instuctor

UC San Diego

Larry Goldstein, Ph.D. Genetics

Professor

UC San Diego

Gary Robbins

Reporter

San Diego Union Tribune

Joe Schuman, M.A. Journalism and Public Affairs

Senior Manager

Public Affairs at Qualcomm

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This certificate requires an application before taking any courses. There will be a $0 fee to apply to this program. Students will also be required to pay a $95 certificate fee upon enrollment into the program after acceptance. View the complete Certificate Registration and Candidacy Guidelines.