What We Do

Field trip to report on the new Gemini Planet Imager at UCSC's Laboratory for Adaptive Optics for a Wired.com assignment, November 2012. From left: SciCom students Rina Shaikh-Lesko, Liz Devitt, Paul Gabrielsen, and Ryder Diaz with astronomer Bruce Macintosh, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

"The Science Communication Program is widely regarded as one of the best science writing programs in the world; we believe that reputation is well deserved. Its graduates are making strong contributions to the public understanding of science."

—from a 2006 external review of the program

The Science Communication Program bestows a graduate certificate, not a master's degree. The program:

  • consists of nine months of coursework and a final summer internship
  • requires part-time professional internships throughout the academic year
  • does not require a thesis
  • offers practical training with professional journalists and editors as instructors
  • emphasizes news, long-form writing, and multimedia skills, with an eye toward substantive reporting on research and policy
  • features small class sizes (10 students) in every course, ensuring extensive feedback from lecturers
  • stresses original writing and editing for the public, rather than theory and critique
  • subjects all projects to rigorous editing at the highest standards, with some peer review by students
Our students practice science writing as a fine art as well as a craft. They emerge from their year in Santa Cruz with dozens of published stories, a broad set of journalistic skills, and distinct voices as writers.