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Resource Guide > Journalism > Training in Science Journalism and Writing

Training in Science Journalism and Writing

Last Updated July 28, 2022

On this page, you'll find a list of graduate and certificate programs in science journalism and writing, as well as programs that provide dedicated classes in science journalism and writing.

Columbia University MA/MS in journalism, science concentration

Link: Columbia University

Location: New York, NY

Length: 1 year

Program type: Graduate degree program

About: "Students in the Science concentration focus on themes and ways of thinking that can be used to cover any scientific field, whether it’s health, technology or the hard sciences. They get a landscape view, looking at history, patterns of discovery and innovation. The seminar emphasizes understanding the culture and practice of science, giving students the skills to interpret a peer-reviewed study as well as providing a clear understanding of the peer-review process, its origin and its challenges. The course places particular emphasis on writing creatively and compellingly, whether in a short news story or in a long piece of narrative nonfiction."

CUNY Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, health & science reporting concentration

Link: CUNY

Location: New York, NY

Program type: Graduate degree program

About: This program includes courses on health, science, and environmental journalism, investigative reporting, and an independent study that allows students to pursue a project and topic of their choosing.

Johns Hopkins MA in Science Writing

Link: Johns Hopkins University

Location: Online

Length: 16 to 36 months

Program structure: 9 courses for the MA (graduate degree), 5 courses for a certificate

About: "We teach the reporting and writing skills required to succeed in the diverse ecosystem of science and medical writing. In core classes, students hone reporting techniques such as interviewing scientists and identifying credible sources. Electives such as Subatomic Writing, Principles of Editing, and Literature of Science help students polish their prose and emulate masters of the craft. In workshops such as Science Narrative and Science Personal Essay & Memoir, students develop tools of creative nonfiction while receiving extensive feedback on their writing. Summer residency courses immerse students in the field – from tromping through fields and coasts with field biologists to joining astronomers as they observe other galaxies. Previous residencies have taken students to Bar Harbor, Maine; Dublin, Ireland; and Missoula, Montana. The popular Medicine in Action residency takes place at the Johns Hopkins medical campus, and Science Policy, Funding, and Politics, is held in Washington, D.C."

Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism

Link: Michigan State University

Location: East Lansing, MI

Program type: Training for both undergraduate and graduate students

About: "Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism teaches student and professional journalists how to better report on the world’s most important beat. The East Lansing, Mich., center was founded in 1994 when the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation created the nation’s first endowed chair in environmental journalism within the MSU School of Journalism. The program serves undergraduate and graduate students and professional reporters with specialized training. Students learn from environmental experts and journalists and report for professional award-winning publications and broadcast outlets. Under the guidance of expert faculty they experiment with new ways of explaining complex environmental issues while maintaining traditional values of fairness and accuracy."

MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing

Link: MIT

Location: Cambridge, MA

Length: 1 year

Program type: Graduate degree program

About: "The MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing (GPSW) is one of the world’s premier master’s programs in science journalism and communication. Set within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s community of world-renowned scientists, cutting-edge facilities, and groundbreaking research, our one-year program focuses on introducing students to science communication in a broad range of media. During their year here, students learn fundamental research and reporting skills and produce publishable works of print, audio, video, and interactive journalism. Our curriculum teaches students how to interpret and explain science to the wider public, to place research and researchers within their social and historical contexts, and to create pieces that balance hard analysis with creativity and style. We live on the border between art and science, and we recruit students from across that spectrum."

New York University’s Science Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP)

Link: NYU

Location: New York, NY

Length: 1.5 years

Program type: Graduate degree program

About: "There are more opportunities for aspiring science journalists in New York than anywhere else, and SHERP is the beating heart of this community. Our students publish and intern at dozens of leading outlets, where their editors are often SHERP alumni. Class work is focused squarely on developing practical, high-level storytelling skills. Writing, reporting and editing text is core but multimedia is anything but peripheral. SHERP students start shooting video just days after arriving and later add audio podcasting, programming, graphics, and data-mining. Projects range from quick news stories to full-blown investigative features and even a book proposal."

Northwestern, Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Communications

Link: Northwestern University

Location: Chicago, IL

Length: 1 year

Program type: Graduate degree program, specialization in health, environment, and science

About: "From the latest medical research to health care reform to climate change, the Health, Environment and Science specialization prepares future journalists to cover the hottest topics. Medill’s strong focus on reporting provides the tools you need to cover this fast-moving, complex and multi-faceted beat from the world-class city of Chicago with opportunities to pursue stories in the Andes Mountains, New Zealand and other environmental hot spots."

Stanford University’s Earth Systems Program

Link: Stanford University

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Length: 2 years

Program type: Graduate degree program, coterminal degree, for Stanford undergraduate students

About: "We offer undergraduates the opportunity to apply for a coterminal Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Earth Systems and a coterminal Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Earth Systems, Environmental Communication. The coterminal master's degree in Earth Systems, Environmental Communication provides the student with enhanced theoretical frameworks, analytical tools, and applied skills in various domains of environmental communication. Specialization is gained through courses, independent project work, and a professional practicum placement, supervised by the Earth Systems M.A. director and the faculty co-advisor"

Texas A&M University, Science & Technology Journalism Masters Program

Link: Texas A&M

Location: College Station, TX

Length: Flexible

Program type: Graduate degree program

About: "The MS program in science and technology journalism (STJR) at Texas A&M University is a broad-based science communication program designed to prepare students mainly for careers as writers and editors specializing in the communication of science, technology, and medicine. It also can serve as a background for related careers and as preparation for doctoral study."

University of Arizona Masters in Journalism

Link: University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, AZ

Length: 2 years (recommended)

Program type: Graduate degree program, classes in environmental and science journalism offered.

About: "This program is well suited to those who obtained bachelor’s degrees in other fields and want to become journalists, as well as for those who recently received a journalism degree and are seeking more advanced training. We also welcome mid-career professionals who want to gain greater knowledge of the legal, ethical, technological and management challenges that confront 21st-century journalists. Opportunities exist to tailor a program suited to your interests, such as science or environmental journalism."

University of California, Berkeley

Link: University of California, Berkeley

Location: Berkeley, CA

Length: 2 years

Program type: Graduate degree program, classes in science and technology reporting offered.

About: "Almost daily headlines tell of medical breakthroughs and public health horrors. The public and many journalists seem overwhelmed by the often-conflicting information. To help reporters sort through these thickets, the School offers courses that focus on the basics of epidemiology, multicultural health issues, emerging infectious diseases, chronic diseases, alternative medicine and substance abuse. Students learn the difference between viruses and bacteria, become acquainted health disparities based on ethnicity, gender, and other factors and read peer-reviewed studies to parse claims from pharmaceutical companies, public agencies and advocacy groups. In addition to offering advanced reporting courses on science and the environment, the Knight Program regularly brings distinguished guests to campus to give public lectures and to work with students in small workshops."

University of California, San Diego Extension

Link: University of California, San Diego

Location: San Diego, CA or online

Length: 12 to 18 months

Program type: specialized certificate in science communication

About: "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."

University of California, Santa Cruz, Science Communication Master’s Program

Link: University of California, Santa Cruz

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Length: 1 year

Program type: Graduate degree program

About: "The science writing program at UC Santa Cruz has produced professional science writers since 1981. The program is one academic year long, focusing entirely on practical training through rigorous coursework and diverse internships. It's the only graduate science writing program in the U.S. that requires a degree in science and experience in research."

University of Florida, College of Journalism & Communications, Science/Health Communications

Link: University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, FL

Length: 36 credits

Program type: Graduate degree program, concentration

About: "The Science and Health Communication track is an on-campus program designed to teach scientists and health specialists to communicate effectively via media, and to teach mass media specialists the background science to translate the language of science and health into meaningful and understandable stories for their audiences. These goals are achieved through theoretical writing and applied courses."

University of Georgia, Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication

Link: University of Georgia

Location: Athens, GA

Length: 2 years

Program type: Graduate degree

About: "Housed in Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, UGA’s M.A. in Health and Medical Journalism (HMJ) is a two-year, non-thesis degree program in science writing and health reporting. Students learn to translate complex topics in medicine and healthcare for lay audiences through written, digital, and social media and have many opportunities to publish their writing in local, state and national outlets."

University of Montana, Masters in Environmental Science & Natural Resource Journalism

Link: University of Montana

Location: Missoula, MT

Program type: Graduate degree

About: "This hands-on, skill-based graduate program will put you in the field reporting on issues affecting society and the natural world. Our curriculum is geared for those with undergraduate degrees in journalism, environmental and earth sciences, environmental studies or natural resources. We also seek applicants with professional experience in journalism, the natural resource industries and environmental nonprofit organizations. You’ll get personal attention and gain valuable connections with faculty members who have decades of professional journalism experience and deep ties in the natural resource and media worlds."

University of Southern California, MA in specialized journalism

Link: University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Length: 1 year

Program type: Graduate program, climate reporting track

About: "Here, you will work with our expert faculty to identify and focus on the most effective storytelling medium for your distinctive voice: text, audio, documentary video, or newly-emerging media such as augmented reality (AR). Within that medium, you may also select and develop a specialized area of coverage like social justice, sports or entertainment."

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