College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Science Communication Concentration

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

All students pursuing the MA in communication follow the same general program structure whether completing the degree with a concentration or specialization. Students complete two program core courses, two methods courses, two theory courses, one practicum course, two specialization or concentration courses, and three elective courses (or 9 credits), of which 3 credits may be thesis.

Students must choose from one area of specialization (strategic communication/public relations, health communication, or individualized communication studies) or the Concentration in Science Communication. Specific requirements are described below. Because it is a narrow specialized area, science communication is subject to the stricter requirements of a concentration.

Students who choose to write a thesis should be aware of the policies governing theses as stated in the Academic Policies section of the catalog. If a thesis is chosen, students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and, once enrolled in COMM 799, maintain continuous enrollment.

MA with Concentration (33 credits)

Students who wish to focus their graduate study in science communication complete the following requirements.

◊ Concentration in Science Communication (SCMN)

A maximum of 9 credit hours from outside the department can be applied to the concentration in science communication.

Two core courses (6 credits)

COMM 600 - Introduction to Graduate Studies Credits: 3

COMM 798 - Communication Studies Project Credits: 3

Two methods courses (6 credits)

One required course (3 credits):

COMM 650 - Research Methodologies in Communication Credits: 3

One course chosen from

COMM 725 - Qualitative Methods Credits: 3

COMM 750 - Research Methods II Credits: 3

COMM 775 - Media Content Analysis Credits: 3

a graduate research methods course in science, social science or science policy for which the student is qualified and which has been approved by the program director. Students should select from 500- or 600- level courses offered by CHSS, COS, CHHS, SPGIA,or CEHD.

Two theory courses (6 credits)

COMM 639 - Science Communication Credits: 3

COMM 642 - Science and the Public Credits: 3

One practicum course (3 credits)

COMM 641 - Advanced Communication Skills for STEM Credits: 3

One required course (3 credits)

COMM 640 - Controversies in Science Communication Credits: 3


COMM 644 - Analysis and Criticism of Science Journalism Credits: 3

Optional thesis (3 credits)

COMM 799 - Master's Thesis Credits: 1-6

Students who do not choose to complete a thesis will take additional credits of elective courses.

Electives (6-9 credits)

    • At least one science-related course (3 credits) outside the department is required. A maximum of three outside courses (9 credits) is allowed for the concentration.
    • Outside course(s) must be chosen from graduate courses in science, social science or science policy for which students are qualified and which have been approved by the program director. Students should select from 500- or 600- level courses offered by CHSS, COS, CHHS, SPGIA, or CEHD.
    • The remaining elective courses in the concentration must be other graduate-level COMM courses, to include the optional thesis.

Total: 33 credits

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