The Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC) is one of the world’s leading science communication programs, working at the intersection of science, media and society. The certificate in Science Communication teaches students how to understand the way we all make sense of increasingly complex scientific breakthroughs. Certificate students will gain an introduction to science communication theory and practical experience which allows them to more effectively communicate about controversial science in areas such as gene editing, the environment, health, agriculture, and artificial intelligence.

Students are eligible to declare the certificate at any point in their undergraduate career but are encouraged to declare as early as possible to plan the required coursework. Students are encouraged to meet with the advisor to discuss certificate requirements and ensure it fits with their academic and career goals. Students who are ready to declare the certificate can do so by completing this form.

Students are not allowed to earn both the science communication certificate and life sciences communication major.

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA on all certificate courses
  • At least 9 credits must be taken in residence at UW-Madison  
  • Courses in which a student elects the pass/fail option will not count toward completion of the certificate requirements
Core Course (Required)3
Science, Media and Society
Focus Area, complete one course in each area6
Communication Strategy (See list below)
Communication Skills & Technology (See list below)
Elective, complete one course from either area3
Communication Strategy (See list below)
Communication Skills & Technology (See list below)
Total Credits12

Focus areas

Communication Strategy

LSC 250 Research Methods in the Communication Industry3
LSC 270 Marketing Communication for the Sciences3
LSC 340 Misinformation, Fake News, and Correcting False Beliefs about Science3
LSC 350 Visualizing Science and Technology3
LSC 432 Social Media for the Life Sciences3
LSC 435 Brand Strategy for the Sciences3
LSC 440 Digital Media and Science Communication3
LSC/​AMER IND  444 Native American Environmental Issues and the Media3
LSC 460 Social Media Analytics3
LSC/​COM ARTS/​JOURN  617 Health Communication in the Information Age3
LSC 625 Risk Communication3
LSC 660 Data Analysis in Communications Research3

Communication Skills & Technology

LSC 111 3
LSC 212 Introduction to Scientific Communication3
LSC 314 Introduction to Digital Video Production3
LSC 332 Print and Electronic Media Design3
LSC 360 Information Radio3
LSC 430 Communicating Science with Narrative3
LSC 432 Social Media for the Life Sciences3
LSC 450 Documentary Photography for the Sciences3
LSC 532 Web Design for the Sciences3
LSC 614 Advanced Video Production3

Certificate Completion Requirement

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

  1. Apply knowledge in theoretical and applied communication to help meet society’s biggest challenges in science and technology.
  2. Discuss the interdependencies among individuals and their workplaces, communities, environments, and world; and the interrelationships between science and society.
  3. Communicate effectively across media and a broad range of audiences.
  4. Collaborate with others in small and large groups, demonstrating an appreciation for diverse views and a strong sense of personal and professional ethics.


Current and prospective students should contact the advisor with questions or schedule an advising meeting using Starfish.


The interdisciplinary education provided through the Certificate in Science Communication will make graduates highly sought after by employers across both scientific and communication industries. Graduates can pursue careers in science writing, digital media and marketing, public health, environmental advocacy, and research in industry, non-profits and the government. Alternatively, others may go on to graduate and professional schools in the health, biological, social and physical sciences.

We encourage you to check out our website to view recent alumni profiles.

ProfessorS & Instructors

Botham, Sarah
Brossard, Dominique (chair)
Chen, Kaiping
Chinn, Sedona
Fisher, Madeline
Li, Nan
Newman, Todd
Patterson, Dexter
Scheufele, Dietram
Shaw, Bret
Stanley, Don
Xenos, Michael (director of undergraduate studies)


LSC staff notify certificate students of opportunities to apply for summer and academic year internships related to science communication. Students could intern with marketing agencies, environmental and sustainability organizations, and healthcare and agricultural agencies.


LSC is home to both the Science Communication Club and the National Agri-Marketing Association UW-Madison chapter and there are many additional opportunities for students to get involved with other student organizations on campus.


Certificate students could volunteer in healthcare, non-profits, advocacy agencies and more. The Morgridge Center for Public Service provides resources to help students connect with volunteer opportunities based on their interests and goals.