Graduate Certificate in Science Communication

The graduate certificate in science communication allows students enrolled in any graduate or professional program at UW-Madison to supplement their existing graduate coursework with a transcriptable certificate in science communication. The certificate is appropriate not only for students in the physical sciences, biological sciences, and engineering fields, but also for students in professional degree programs (law, veterinary medicine, etc.).

Graduate students interested in the ethical, legal, and social implications of emerging technologies, or who want to build an intellectual foundation for a future career in policy or various mission agencies (e.g., AAAS policy fellowships) dealing with public understanding and communication of science will find this certificate particularly valuable.


The coursework for the LSC graduate certificate requires 10 graduate credits:

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Required courses (4 credits)

  • LSC 700:  Colloquium in Life Sciences Communication (1 cr, spring only)
  • LSC 720:  Introduction to Communication Theory and Research (3 cr) (fall)
    or LSC 625: Risk Communication (3 cr) (fall and spring)
    or LSC 823: Science and Environment Communication (3 cr)
    or LSC 902: Public Opinion of Life Science Issues (3 cr) (spring)

Approved electives (6 credits)

  • LSC 340: Misinformation, Fake News, and Correcting False Beliefs about Science (spring)
  • LSC 350:  Visualizing Science and Technology (fall and summer)
  • LSC 430:  Communicating Science with Narrative
  • LSC 432:  Social Media for the Life Sciences (fall and summer)
  • LSC 435:  Brand Strategy for the Sciences (spring)
  • LSC 440:  Digital Media and Science Communication (spring)
  • LSC 450: Documentary Photography for the Sciences (fall and spring)
  • LSC 460: Social Media Analytics (spring)
  • LSC 480: Culturally Responsive Science Communication (spring)
  • LSC 532:  Web Design for the Sciences (fall and spring)
  • LSC 560:  Scientific Writing (fall)
  • LSC 561:  Writing Science for the Public (spring)
  • LSC 625:  Risk Communication (fall and spring)
  • LSC 660:  Data Analysis – Communication Research (fall)
  • LSC/ENVIR ST/JOURN 823:  Science and Environment Communication
  • LSC 875:  Special Topics
  • LSC 902:  Public Opinion of Life Science Issues (spring)

The graduate certificate can be added to your academic record at any time, but we recommend that interested students declare the certificate before the end of their first year of graduate studies to ensure timely completion of all coursework.

Steps to declare the graduate/professional certificate in science communication:

  1. Go to MyUW (
  2. Search for “graduate” in the search bar
  3. Select “Graduate Student Portal”
  4. “Add” to your Home page using the button on the far right
  5. Click the “Launch” button to enter the portal
  6. Choose the “Add/Change Programs” button
  7. Click the “Add certificate” or “add minor” button on the far-right side of the programs page
  8. Select the graduate/professional certificate in science communication and complete the rest of the sections
  9. Submit your request

Please note that students can only earn the graduate certificate in science communication or the Ph.D. minor in science communication, not both.

Is there a minimum GPA required for the graduate certificate?

A minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.5 in LSC coursework is required.

Is there a deadline to declare the certificate?

There is not a final deadline to pursue the certificate but we do recommend declaring in the first year of your program if possible to ensure you have the most flexibility to fit certificate courses into your graduate program. Consult the LSC Student Services Coordinator with any questions about typical course offering times to assist you in planning to complete the certificate.

What do people with this certificate do after graduation?

The certificate is launching in fall 2021 so we do not have certificate program alumni quite yet but please refer to our Ph.D. Minor alumni section to see the types of careers students who earned students the minor have pursued.

If you have additional questions about the graduate certificate, course selection, declaration process, please contact the LSC Academic Advising Manager, Lynn Bartholomew at or the Director of Graduate Studies, Dietram Scheufele at