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Focus of Study
The Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC) prepares students for careers as professional communicators in scientific and technical fields, or for graduate school. Scientific areas of expertise include the environment and natural resources, health and nutrition, agriculture, biotechnology and nanotechnology, and social sciences. In 1908, LSC became the first department of what was then termed Agricultural Journalism in the world, and retains the leadership position in science communication.
Graduates of the program are highly sought after by employers across scientific and communication industries. Key to the education that LSC students receive is a combination of theoretical grounding and state-of-the-art practical application. Our instructors are a mix of world-class researchers and real-world practitioners of regional or national profiles.
Students receive training across print, audio, video and web. They learn to target and create communications for both news and marketing. Most important, they learn to plan strategically and implement the most effective communications for diverse publics.
Students complete an undergraduate major in life sciences communication under the Bachelor of Science degree program. Students in this program have the flexibility to explore environmental and health communication; agricultural business, industry, social marketing; or the international context.
College regulations permit a student to major simultaneously in life sciences communication while pursuing another major in a different department. This provides a student with strong communication skills and solid grounding in another subject matter area. Nonmajors can also benefit from taking communication skills courses.
The major comprises 24 credits. All majors take:
- a foundation science writing course (3 credits);
- a research methods course (3 credits);
- a science, media and society course (3 credits);
- two additional courses from a list of core classes (6 credits);
- a capstone course (3 credits).
The remaining credits are taken in one of three potential concentrations (6 credits):
- Communication in the Life Sciences;
- Communication Strategy;
- Communication Skills and Technology.
Communication in the Life Sciences Concentration: focuses on theoretical approaches to specific communication issues in the life sciences context, such as health communication, Native American environmental issues and the media, and contemporary communication and their social effects.
Communication Strategy Concentration: focuses on the skills and theory necessary to effectively communicate with audiences in the life sciences context, while satisfying the long terms strategic goals of an organization; it includes courses in advertising, social marketing, and risk communication.
Communication Skills and Technology Concentration: focuses on the skills required to translate organized information into informative and persuasive messages for a variety of media, such as newswriting, documentary photography, publications editing, web design and video production.
Independent Concentration: is determined by the student and the advisor and approved by the director of undergraduate studies.