Master’s in science journalism

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

Overview

The Journalism School provides students drawn to science stories with skills to identify and report them and to tell them in a range of forms. The strong emphasis on investigative and data and on storytelling across formats supports robust, compelling science journalism. 

The M.S program offers several science-focused classes in the spring term. Students can also learn relevant skills through other parts of the curriculum:  business reporting can provide tools needed to cover health care; data courses can train students to find hidden stories; feature writing can teach students how to bring a researcher’s work to life.

Journalists in the M.A. Science concentration focus all their coursework on science journalism. In the M.A. seminar, they examine science close up — by studying fields such as climate change science and neuroscience — and with a landscape view, looking at history and patterns of discovery and innovation. They learn to probe deeply, ask advanced questions, and recognize context or comparisons that might be invisible to the uninitiated. They also receive high-level personal mentoring. 

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Classes

Please note: The classes listed here represent recent offerings at the Journalism School. Choices vary each semester depending on faculty availability and other considerations. Classes described now may change or be dropped to make room for new additions. 

Covering Climate: Story & Animation

Professor: Marguerite Holloway

Investigating Health Care 

Professor: Charles Ornstein

M.A. Science Fall Seminar

Professor: Marguerite Holloway

M.A. Science Spring Seminar

Professor: Jonathan Weiner

Storytelling About The Environment

Professor: Marguerite HollowayDuy Linh Tu

MS in Science Journalism

Boston University’s Science and Medical Journalism program offers an intense curriculum leading to a Master of Science degree, in which students develop the skills necessary to succeed in the competitive and rapidly evolving science communication industry. Although our emphasis is on writing, reporting, research, and analysis—the heart of all insightful and precise communication—students learn a variety of forms, including multimedia, radio, and documentary for both film and television.

The degree, awarded by the college’s Department of Journalism, comprises 40 credit hours taken over two semesters and a summer professional internship. In addition to courses within the program, students may take electives elsewhere in the College of Communication or in other colleges throughout the University, particularly in the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Public Health, or, in some cases, the School of Medicine. The classes within the program are small—usually eight to ten students, with an emphasis on professional-level reporting and writing.

Graduates have landed positions at Wired, NPR’s Living on EarthScienceNatureTimeNewsweek, the Los Angeles TimesDiscoverScience News, the Wall Street Journal, and PBS’s NOVA; as well as educational institutions and laboratories such as MIT, Harvard Medical School, Stanford’s Linear Accelerator Laboratory, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Degree Requirements

The Science Journalism Program consists of a minimum of 40 credits.

Curriculum

First Semester

  • COM JO 705 Science Unbound (4 cr)
  • COM JO 723 Science Newswriting (4 cr)
  • COM JO 724 Science Narrative One (4 cr)
  • COM JO 741 Multimedia for Science Communication (4 cr)

Second Semester

  • COM JO 702 Science Narrative Two (4 cr)
  • COM JO 732 Conflict and Commentary in Science Reporting (4 cr)
  • COM JO 881 Broadcast Science News (4 cr)
  • COM JO 743 Web Magazine (2 cr)
  • COM JO 742 Computer-Assisted Boot Camp (2 cr)
  • Elective—suggested courses: Advanced Radio, Advanced Photojournalism, or a graduate-level course in history and philosophy of science or public health (4 cr)

Summer

Students will maintain part-time status during their final, summer semester. Part-time status will affect student loans.

  • COM JO 754S A1 Science Journalism Internship (4 cr)

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