The science communication certificate provides an opportunity for students to develop their public communication skills, to interface with students and faculty across disciplinary and science-public divides, and to give students an edge in the job market where successful communication with a multitude of stakeholders is essential. As a discipline, science communication brings together theory and practice to communicate scientific information to the public, with an emphasis on two-way and strategic communication with the public.
This certificate is designed to encourage students who are interested in the intersection of science and society to pursue coursework that provides them with the skills to practice public-facing science and effectively engage the public around complex and sometimes controversial scientific topics. In addition, the certificate is designed to facilitate convergence across disciplines and encourage team-based collaboration at the undergraduate level.
The certificate is open to students of any major, but may be of particular value to students who are planning to pursue science, environmental, health or agricultural communication as a career or students pursuing a career in a science, engineering, math and other technical fields interested in strengthening their communication skills.
- Encourage students to engage with community members, other students and faculty across interdisciplinary boundaries, diverse backgrounds, and divergent interests.
- Prepare students to communicate scientific findings and technological advances in a clear and compelling manner while also encouraging inclusive communication that acknowledges others’ values and concerns.
- Cultivate students’ understanding of the origins and dynamics of science related controversies and conflicts.
- Challenge students to identify and address scientific misinformation, scientific skepticism, and science denial across social media, blogs, and other social and online networks.
- Prepare students to engage in constructive conversations with diverse audiences over contested science, environmental, health, and agricultural topics.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students who complete the proposed science communication certificate will be able to:
- Create, co-produce, and evaluate public-facing science communication
- Understand and address the ethical, social, cultural, and historical factors that influence both the public communication of science and the rise and spread of science-related controversies
- Promote public and cross-disciplinary understanding of scientific information
- Co-produce knowledge with community stakeholders through public-facing projects
- Create effective and appropriate science messages across diverse and emergent media platforms, addressed to diverse audiences
- Critically analyze science messages addressed to public audiences around science
- Identify and address misinformation across social media, blogs, and other social and online networks
- Engage in constructive conversations about contested science, environmental, health, and agricultural topics
To prepare students for the challenge of communicating effectively at the intersection of science and society, students will take a core of 12-credits from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, the English Department, and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and 9-credits of electives from three tracks: science in practice, science and society, and communication in practice.
The certificate requires 21 credits, where 9 of the credits taken do not fulfill any other requirements for other majors or general education.
Students must complete ENGL 250 before enrolling in the certificate.
Core Courses (12 credits)
|JL MC/P R/ADVRT 200-level core course TBD||3|
|PHIL 206||Introduction to Logic and Scientific Reasoning||3|
|ENGL 312||Communicating Science and Public Engagement||3|
|JL MC 347||Science Communication||3|
Electives (9 credits)
Students will take one course from each of the three categories of electives: Science in Practice, Science and Society, and Communication in Practice.
- 6 of the 9 credits must be at the 300+ level.
- Students who engage in an internship or research experience (including those connected to courses) may seek approval from the steering committee to have this experience counted as an elective course. This experience must include a public-facing communication/outreach component, and the steering committee will decide which of the 3 categories of electives this experience would fulfill. Students who wish to count the internship toward the certificate must track their hours as well as complete a final paper about their experiences.
Science in Practice - select 1 course
|BIOL 173||Environmental Biology||3|
|BIOL 251||Biological Processes in the Environment||3|
|BIOL 355||Plants and People||3|
|ENSCI 250||Environmental Geography||3|
|ENSCI 360||Environmental Soil Science||3|
|ENSCI 384||Introduction to Ecosystems||3|
|GEOL 101||Environmental Geology: Earth in Crisis||3|
|GEOL 102||History of the Earth||3|
|GEOL 108||Introduction to Oceanography||3|
|GEOL 160||Water Resources of the World||3|
|GEOL 201||Geology for Engineers and Environmental Scientists||3|
|GEOL 324||Energy and the Environment||3|
|MTEOR 404||Global Change||3|
|MTEOR 406||World Climates||3|
|NREM 120||Introduction to Renewable Resources||3|
|NREM 380||Field Ecology Research and Teaching||3|
Science and Society - select 1 course
|EDUC 347||Nature of Science||3|
|ENGL 355||Literature and the Environment||3|
|HIST 362||Global Environmental History||3|
|HIST 367||America Eats||3|
|HIST 383||Technology, Public Science, and European Culture, 1715-Present||3|
|HIST 482||Birth, Death, Medicine, and Disease||3|
|JL MC 401||Mass Communication Theory||3|
|JL MC 474||Communication Technology and Social Change||3|
|JL MC 476||World Communication Systems||3|
|PHIL 331||Moral Problems in Medicine||3|
|PHIL 334||Environmental Ethics||3|
|PHIL 336||Bioethics and Biotechnology||3|
|PHIL 343||Philosophy of Technology||3|
|PHIL 380||Philosophy of Science||3|
|PHIL 389||Philosophy of Psychology and Psychiatry||3|
|PHIL 485||Philosophy of Physics||3|
|POL S 335||Science, Technology, and Public Policy||3|
|POL S 383||Environmental Politics and Policies||3|
|POL S 443||Energy Policy||3|
|SOC 382||Environmental Sociology||3|
|SOC 464||Strategies for Community Engagement||3|
|WGS 307||Women in Science and Engineering||3|
|WGS 380||History of Women in Science, Technology, and Medicine||3|
|WLC 484||Technology, Globalization and Culture||3|
Communication in Practice - select 1 course
|ENGL 309||Proposal and Report Writing||3|
|ENGL 314||Technical Communication||3|
|ENGL 332||Visual Communication of Quantitative Information||3|
|ENGL 350||Rhetorical Traditions||3|
|ENGL 411||Technology, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication||3|
|ENGL 477||Seminar in Technical Communication||3|
|ENGL 487||Internship in Business, Technical, and Professional Communication||1-3|
|LING 120||Computers and Language||3|
|NREM 330||Principles of Interpretation||3|
|P R 220||Principles of Public Relations||3|
|P R 305||Publicity Methods||3|
|P R 323X||Strategic Communication in Agriculture and the Environment||3|
|SP CM 212||Fundamentals of Public Speaking||3|
|SP CM 305||Language, Thought and Action||3|
|SP CM 310||Rhetorical Analysis||3|
|SP CM 322||Argumentation, Debate, and Critical Thinking||3|
|SP CM 327||Persuasion and Social Influence||3|