College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2018-2019

School of Communication

Science Communication, Graduate Certificate

Climate change, emerging diseases, dramatic discoveries in medicine, rapidly evolving technologies, and many other challenges that touch on both science and public policy underscore the great and growing importance of effective communication about science. It is incumbent on those who will be working in the realm of publicly relevant science to themselves have a good grasp of the strategies, technologies, and ethical considerations of effective communication. This 15-credit certificate, which can be completed either in person or through a combination of an intensive summer program and distance learning, will provide students with a broad overview of communication needs and strategies; extensive hands-on experience with communication tools such as writing tactics and photography, audio, and video technologies; and the opportunity to produce an in-depth individualized communication project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Careers

What Can I Do with a Certificate in Science Communication?

Students who complete the graduate certificate in science communication will develop the broad background and hand-on skills needed to work in this burgeoning field. Whether coupled with another graduate degree or not, the coursework will enable students to later work as science communicators in a corporation, government agency, NGO, or media organization.


University Requirements

  • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.

    No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 or 4 units) may be used on a certificate program.

    No more than 25% of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.

    A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.

    A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.

    A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.

    Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program).  See the “Details” tab for additional information.

Overview

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 15
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Some online/blended coursework Required

Purpose Statement

Climate change, emerging diseases, dramatic discoveries in medicine, rapidly evolving technologies, and many other challenges that touch on both science and public policy underscore the great and growing importance of effective communication about science. It is incumbent on those who will be working in the realm of publicly relevant science to themselves have a good grasp of the strategies, technologies, and ethical considerations of effective communication. Many researchers, graduate students, land managers, and other professionals who work in the realm of science—or in government, nonprofit, corporate, or educational settings connected to science—receive little training in the skills needed to communicate effectively outside their disciplinary sphere. This 15-credit graduate certificate, which can be completed either in person or through a combination of an intensive summer program and distance learning, will provide students with a broad overview of communication needs and strategies; extensive hands-on experience with communication tools such as writing tactics and photography, audio, and video technologies; and the opportunity to produce an in-depth individualized communication project under the guidance of faculty mentors.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Understand elements of communication theory relevant to science 
  • Gain an overview of diverse formats for nonspecialist science communication including journalism, blogging, and informal settings (e.g. museums)
  • Gain overview of the basics of storytelling/narrative
  • Appreciate media literacy/taxonomy of the modern media
  • Develop interviewing skills
  • Practice oral presentation skills
  • Be introduced to and practice concepts of data visualization, using the principles of human visual perception
  • Identify possible sources of bias or obstacles of clarity in visual tools
  • Critique and redesign statistical graphics based on graphic design principles
  • Understand the basics of quantitative reasoning and statistical tools
  • Practice using numbers to convey accurate messages about risk, scale, probability, and statistics
  • Develop an ethical framework for dealing with controversial topics
  • Understand audience differences and cultural sensitivity, e.g. in “translational” science and health communication
  • Develop considerations for engagement in the political sphere
  • Practice the basics of digital photography, video, and audiose editing software to complete a multimedia product
  • Be able to conceptualize, research, write and edit a range of professional-quality writing products
  • Conceptualize, research, and complete in-depth communication project

Details

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 


    Individual program admission requirements include:

  • There are no individual program admission requirements. 

Certificate Requirements
    • Choose one course from the following list, or another graduate-level course with a communication focus chosen in consultation with your advisor: (3 units)
  • This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate.  Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.
     

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
     

Campus Availability



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