Program Details

Understanding science and technology is 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 good communication skills.

Undergraduate courses in the Department of Life Sciences Communication focus not only on writing, editing, and producing messages, but also on planning, designing, and evaluating 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. About one-third of LSC students pursue double majors, combining their interest in communication with another discipline, such as animal sciences, 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 other science- and agriculture-related industries. Some work for specialized publications. Others work for print, online 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. Still others work with companies, cooperatives, government agencies, and universities.

Learning outside of class is a big part of undergraduate education here at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Internships are strongly recommended. We help place our students in a wide range of industries, government agencies, and nonprofit 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 two concentrations:

Communication Strategy
Focuses on the skills and theory necessary to effectively communicate with audiences in the life sciences context, while satisfying the long-term strategic goals of an organization. This concentration includes courses in advertising, social marketing, and risk communication.

Communication Skills and Technologies
Focuses on the skills required to translate organized information into informative and persuasive messages for a variety of media, such as news writing, documentary photography, publications editing, web design, and video production.

Please use the scheduling assistant to arrange a meeting with LSC advisor, Tera Holtz Wagner, to learn more about LSC or declare the major. You can also contact Tera at or 608.262.1241.

For students who declare the LSC major in Fall, 2016 and after please refer to this curriculum sheet.

For students who declared the LSC major prior to Fall, 2016 please refer to this curriculum sheet.

Students with “senior status” cannot declare the LSC Major. Senior status equals students with 86 or more cumulative credits taken as an undergraduate student (e.g. AP credits do NOT count against you).

For a list of courses in each concentration, please see the academic catalog.