Good communication skills are not enough if you want a job that involves reporting and writing about science, agriculture, natural resources, business, health or other specialized subjects. You also need a working understanding of science and technology.
But good communication skills are essential. Undergraduate courses in the Department of Life Sciences Communication focus not only on writing, editing and producing messages, but also the planning, designing and evaluation of effective communication programs. Students can emphasize print, broadcast, marketing communication, or take a broader scientific and technical communication perspective.
Our students acquire both communication training and specialized knowledge. Many students pursue a double major, combining their interest in communication with another discipline, such as animal science, forest and wildlife ecology, or entomology. These students have been particularly attractive to prospective employers.
Our graduates get jobs as reporters, editors, advertising and marketing professionals, technical writers, broadcast producers, and public information staff at universities and in many science-related industries. Some work for specialized publications. Others work for newspapers or broadcast media reporting on science, health, agriculture or the environment. Many have careers with advertising agencies and public relations firms handling accounts for food, biotechnology or related industries. Others work with companies, cooperatives, government agencies and universities as information managers.
Learning outside of class is a big part of undergraduate education here at UW-Madison. Internships are strongly recommended. We help place our students in a wide range of industries, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Students can hone their communication skills with a broad range of campus media organizations and special interest groups. Many of our marketing students are active in the student chapter of the National Agricultural Marketing Association (NAMA), a consistent finalist in national competitions.
Students can complete an undergraduate major in LSC under four Bachelor of Science degree concentrations:
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 Technologies 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.
Is determined by the student and the advisor and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
NOTE: If you declared the LSC major prior to May 2011, you most likely follow the “OLD degree program” unless you specifically opted to follow the new degree program. If you declared the LSC major during the month of May, 2011 or after, you most likely follow the “NEW degree program.” If you’re not sure which degree program you’re in, you can check by creating your DARS report. If your “major/degree program” is listed as “ALS 045,” you are in the ‘NEW degree program’ and should follow the new degree curriculum. If your “major degree program is listed as “ASB 045, ANS 045, AIN 045, ANR 045, AAS 045, or ASP 045″ you are in the “OLD degree program” and should follow the old degree curriculum. If you’re still not sure after reviewing your DARS report, contact your advisor in LSC.
For more information regarding the Life Sciences Communication undergraduate program, please contact Kristin Haakenson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608.262.1241, or your advisor, if you are already enrolled in the program.