Science communication certificate online

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

About the Science Communication Program


What You Will Learn

This Program Is Designed For

UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your educational goals. We have transitioned many of our courses to a LIVE ONLINE or ONLINE format, in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We will resume in-person classes when it is deemed safe to do so.
LIVE ONLINE classes are fully online with live virtual class meetings each week using our Zoom conferencing system.
ONLINE classes have pre-recorded lectures each week and guided assignments from the instructor.

Learn the Necessary Skills to Write Journalistic Pieces about Science

The Specialized Certificate in Science Communication is designed to provide you with the necessary skills to communicate professionally and effectively about science from a journalistic perspective. You will focus on understanding how to help an audience of general readers engage with and understand scientific and technical information. Courses are taught by successful science writers and other industry experts who have learned from their years of experience and/or formal science writing education.

The goal of this program is to train current and future science professionals in the skills needed to clearly communicate technical, scientific information. Some areas where you can choose to focus your program’s specificity are: how to write news and features from a journalistic perspective; how to build a business around writing; self-editing; the art of interviewing; blogging; how to write nonfiction and informational content for children; and how to publish on the web. In all scenarios, you will learn the art of how to make science relevant and more accessible to different audiences.

Questions about our classes or certificates? Contact our department at 858-534-5760 or [email protected].

FORMAT:In-Person, Online

Varies by course and quarter


Early enrollment discount available. Cost does not include textbooks.

DURATION:12 -18 Months

Dependent on number of courses taken per quarter.


DepartmentArts, Humanities, Languages & Digital ArtsPhone858-534-5760Email[email protected]


Delivery Method
  • Live Online
  • In-Person
  • Online
  • Hybrid


Required Courses

9 units

Science Writing IWCWP-40105

Units: 3.00


News and Feature WritingWCWP-40276

Units: 3.00


Final Required Course

(All other Required Courses and Electives must be completed first)

Science Writing IIWCWP-40230

Units: 3.00



Min 6 units required

Building a Business around WritingWCWP-40321

Units: 1.00


Self-Editing and Publishing for the WebWCWP-40313

Units: 3.00


The Writer’s Art of InterviewingWCWP-40123

Units: 2.00


The Art and Business of BloggingWCWP-40334

Units: 3.00


Writing Non-Fiction and Informational Books for ChildrenWCWP-40327

Units: 3.00


Science Communication InternshipWCWP-40329

Units: 2.00


Conditions for Admission

Applicants are encouraged to have some previous background in writing and general knowledge of science. With the exception of the Science Communication Internship, all courses are open to students not enrolled in the certificate, as long as they complete the prerequisites to the particular course.

Certificate Guidelines

The Specialized Certificate in Science Communication consists of 15 units total. Students will take three (3) required courses (Science Writing I, News and Feature Writing and Science Writing II) which will give them the basic skills needed to communicate science concepts to a general audience through a variety of platforms and will provide them a fundamental understanding of the science writing marketplace.

Additionally, students will choose a minimum of six (6) units of elective courses which will enable them to focus on specific areas of interest.
What You Will Learn

  • Pitching and writing a freelance science article for general publication.
  • Writing Op-Eds and letters to the editor.
  • How to interact with reporters and prepare for a live on-camera interview.
  • Understanding how to effectively use videos and social media to communicate science.
  • The art of the press release.
  • To develop story ideas, cultivate sources, practice interviewing techniques, and craft and structure compelling articles.
  • Ethical standards in journalism.

This Program Is Designed For

  • Students and post-graduates who are interested in entering into careers in Science Writing, including journalism, public relations, and other communications positions related to science.
  • Scientists, writers and professionals in scientific fields who want to learn how to communicate their work and field research to laypeople more effectively.

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