Science News Coursework Structure

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Those admitted to these programs can expect to dive head first into an intense one-year program that includes an internship period.

Most of the students who enroll are mid-career scientists with extensive research experience.

The program is continuous, starting from the first day of classes in the fall quarter and ending the last day of classes spring quarter.

Since the students learn everything together and the classes are exclusive to program participants, the UCSC program creates a fertile writing environment.

"As such, we focus on science in its human context -- what it means not just to science fans, but to citizens and policy makers." Science Communication Program at the University of California at Santa Cruz Began: 1981Students accepted each year: 10Unique to the program: While applicants to other science writing programs usually have science backgrounds, UCSC is the only program that requires it.

"All of our students must have a deep science background, no exceptions," says John Wilkes, director of the program."They've gotten good responses from the magazine including unsolicited job offers." UCSC is on the quarter system and has three terms per academic year, not including summer.The program offers a certificate rather than a degree and is divided into three kinds of writing: news writing and reporting, feature writing and reporting, and opinion writing.As a team, the students also produce a 3-minute mini-documentary during our film-and-TV section." The thesis seminar -- a 10 thousand- to 12 thousand-word piece for general audiences written in the style of a book chapter or long magazine article -- introduces them to the long form.Students get to choose electives that broaden their knowledge and seem likely to be useful in their writing career."Specifically, they have to not only have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in science but a minimum 6 months, full-time research experience.We're the only program in the world that requires that." During the 12-month MIT program, courses are taken during the fall and spring semesters.They understand there is no division between science and the humanities because they're both deeply human activities." Graduate Program in Science Writing at MITBegan: 2002Students accepted each year: 6 to 8Unique to the program: MIT is the only one to tailor homework assignments to fit the particular career interests of the student."Let's say the assignment is a news-and-research feature of about a thousand words," Bartusiak says. As long as they let us know what they're aiming for, we judge accordingly."Rather than sending the students off to separate classes in magazine writing, newspaper reporting, or the science essay, for example, we fashion a seminar that interweaves these various sections as the year progresses," Bartusiak says."We have segments on science journalism, medical reporting and writing, and writing on the physical sciences.


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