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Focus of Study
SHERP’s customized curriculum is tailored to develop world-class science storytellers at a time of unprecedented change, challenge and opportunity in journalism. Our faculty of nationally prominent science journalists offers rigorous instruction in research, reporting, writing and editing through coverage of cutting-edge science, from nanotechnology and epigenetics to global climate change and cosmology. Coursework is built around case studies and learning by doing, not academic theory or rote memorization.
The Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP) at New York University is one of the world’s oldest and most successful science journalism training programs. Aspiring science reporters, authors, editors, producers, videographers, coders and bloggers (and various permutations thereof) who complete the intensive 16-month program receive a Master of Arts degree in Journalism and an Advanced Certificate in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting. They join an extended family of graduates (391 at last count!) committed to covering scientific, medical and environmental topics with precision, nuance and passion.
A key focus is reporting, writing and editing features and news for magazines and online sites, but students also dive into all forms of modern journalism, from books and long-form narratives to blogs, videos, podcasts, data visualizations and social media. Entrepreneurial skills, including self-marketing, are emphasized throughout the SHERP sequence and especially in a new class focusing on developing sound business models for digital science journalism projects. Investigative science journalism is also an important curricular focus, as evidenced by a recent investigation conducted by Professor Charles Seife and his SHERP students into fraudulent drug studies submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. The powerful results of this faculty-student collaboration were published in 2015 in JAMA-Internal Medicine and Slate.
Visual and aural science journalism is woven into the curriculum from the first semester, when every SHERP student learns to produce videos and podcasts under the tutelage of expert teachers. There is also a class on data mining, analysis and visualization. The curriculum reflects our philosophy that effective journalism education today must beplatform-agnostic: the content of the story should dictate its form, not vice versa. Whether they’re working in print, online or over the air, our graduates thrive in the fast-changing science journalism landscape because they are comfortable telling stories on multiple platforms, in many ways.