The Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC) is a world leader in science communication research, education, and practice. The 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. 

More information may be found on the department website.

This certificate is open to any UW-Madison student enrolled in a graduate level program outside of LSC (GRAD, LAW, MED, PHARM, VMED). Before applying to the certificate, students are encouraged to consult with their advisor and/or graduate program coordinator from their major department. As part of the declaration form, students will be required to confirm that they have received consent from their advisor/degree program to pursue the certificate.

For students to declare their intent to pursue the Graduate Certificate in Science Communication, they must complete the Certificate Declaration Form. This form must be completed prior to graduation.

Students should contact the Director of Academic Programs or Academic Advising Manager with questions about the certificate, declaration process, or course selection.

Students are not allowed to earn both the science communication graduate certificate and Ph.D. minor in life sciences communication.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

  • Total credits required: 10
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher in all LSC courses
  • Courses must be at the 300 level or above and must have the graduate attribute to count toward the minimum graduate coursework (50%) rule.
  • Previous coursework from other institutions and undergraduate coursework at UW-Madison cannot be counted toward the certificate.
Core Courses4
LSC 700 Colloquium in Life Sciences Communication1
LSC 720 Introduction to Communication Theory and Research3
or LSC 625 Risk Communication
or LSC/​ENVIR ST/​JOURN  823 Science and Environment Communication
or LSC 902 Public Opinion of Life Science Issues
Select two approved electives6
Misinformation, Fake News, and Correcting False Beliefs about Science
Visualizing Science and Technology
Communicating Science with Narrative
Social Media for the Life Sciences
Brand Strategy for the Sciences
Digital Media and Science Communication
Documentary Photography for the Sciences
Social Media Analytics
Web Design for the Sciences
Scientific Writing
Writing Science for the Public
Risk Communication
Data Analysis in Communications Research
Science and Environment Communication
Special Topics
Public Opinion of Life Science Issues
Total Credits10

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Communicate complex ideas effectively across different audiences, including underrepresented or particularly vulnerable audiences.
  2. Select and utilize the most appropriate theories, methodologies, tools, and practices to communicate about science.
  3. Collect relevant evidence designed to answer questions related to scientific challenges faced by industry, universities, and non-profits.
  4. Discuss some of the ethical, legal, and social implications of science.

PROFESSORS & INSTRUCTORS

Brossard, Dominique (chair)
Chen, Kaiping
Chinn, Sedona
Fisher, Madeline
Li, Nan
Newman, Todd
Scheufele, Dietram (director of academic programs)
Shaw, Bret
Stanley, Don
Xenos, Michael