Welcome to LSC!
The Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral education in science communication. Our research, teaching and outreach focus on both applied and theoretical communication issues. An LSC degree prepares students for professional and academic careers related to communicating health, environmental, agricultural and biological sciences in an era of rapid technological change and media convergence.
The Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC) was established in 1908 as the first Department of Agricultural Journalism in the world. A change in name to LSC in 2000 reflects the extraordinary growth in our field. The study of agricultural sciences has been accompanied by rapid expansion in neighboring life science disciplines such as agricultural biotechnology and nanotechnology, and in associated basic sciences such as biochemistry and bacteriology. At the same time, the field of communication has embraced marketing communication in addition to journalism, with the result that career opportunities for graduates have broadened.
Situated in the heart of College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, LSC benefits from close proximity to life science departments, and from an increasing number of double majors at the undergraduate level – pursuing a simultaneous major in Genetics and LSC, for example – and from a graduate student body that includes science graduates.
Our faculty studies a broad range of science communication issues critical to the future of our state, nation and global community. Examples include combating invasive species in order to preserve environmental integrity, exploring how risk aversion influences public opinion of controversial science, and helping Native-American children relate tribal beliefs about the natural world to emerging scientific discoveries. We have notable expertise in framing messages to audiences facing bioterrorism threats, confronting products using nanotechnology, and wrestling with a fossil fuel crisis.
As students strive to learn multimedia skills, for instance, they can take a course where they will be placed in a company launching new scientific products, and help that company establish effective communications, while learning the basics of angel investing and the foundations of a high tech industry.
Our alumni maintain that LSC has excelled in fulfilling its mission for more than a century because of the mix of theoretical excellence and practical insight that it cultivates in its faculty, staff and students. Where else will a student find a professor teaching a required undergraduate campaigns course, who has a graduate degree in agronomical engineering, a PhD in communication, and five years experience as an international business consultant?
The department’s legacy is embodied in the synergy of theory and practice. Find more about us… history