The Department of Life Sciences Communication offers two Master’s degree options:
1. Thesis Master’s Degree
The Thesis Master’s degree requires 24 course credits plus a thesis (6 credits). Courses taken match the interests and needs of individual students. However, all students must take a communication theory course, a research methodology course, a graduate level statistics course, and the LSC colloquium in life sciences communication. The degree also requires a thesis based on original research.
The student meets with their advisor during the first semester of the program to outline a course trajectory for the next two years. In consultation with their advisor, the student assembles a committee of three faculty members. The student defends their master’s thesis in front of the committee at the end of their program.
Course work can include classes in substantive areas other than communication. For example, a student wishing to become an environmental reporter might take courses in environmental studies. A student interested in health communication might take a nutrition or preventive medicine course. However, the complete program must have coherence and focus, and students should discuss all courses with their advisor prior to enrollment.
2. Professional Studies M.S.
The Professional Studies M.S. is a course-based master’s degree (30 credits total) designed to prepare students for professional careers in life sciences communication and related fields. Students in this track will usually not pursue a Ph.D. program in the future. In fact, many graduate programs (including LSC) do not accept a non-thesis master’s as a criterion for admission to their Ph.D. program.
The student meets with their advisor during the first semester of the program to outline a course trajectory for the next two years. In consultation with their advisor, the student assembles a committee of three faculty members. The student present a course narrative to the committee and the end of their program, and the committee meets to approve the completed coursework.
Professional track master’s students must take a communication theory course, a research methodology course, a graduate level statistics course, and the LSC colloquium in life sciences communication. Students fill their remaining credits with courses of interest after consulting with their advisor.
Coursework, Funding, and Application
LSC courses can be found here.
The department has a limited number of project, teaching, and research assistantships available. Assistantship support of one-third time or more also provide a full tuition remission. In addition, the department nominates students with outstanding records for fellowships provided by the Graduate School. For more information on funding, click here.
Prospective students can contact Tera Holtz-Wagner for more information.
Use the LSC Master’s Program Application Checklist to begin your application.
To apply for either LSC Master’s program, click here.