Stony Brook University offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Science Communication through its School of Communication and Journalism. This Master’s program is offered entirely online, with no residency requirement, though students can attend an optional on-campus orientation during the summer prior to the beginning of their enrollment. Courses utilize synchronous online instruction via Zoom, as well as asynchronous modules and assignments that are facilitated through the school’s learning management system Brightspace.

The M.S. in Science Communication is comprised of 33 credits, divided between 18 credits of required courses and 15 credits of electives. Students can complete this curriculum within 18 months of full-time study, and two to five years of part-time study, depending on how many courses they take per term. Students have up to five years to complete the program.

For their core courses, students take Communication Research Methods, Foundations of Science Communication, Building and Assessing Communication Strategies, Communication Law and Ethics, and Principles of Inclusive Engagement. Following completion of these courses, they choose from a menu of electives that include Climate Communication, Communicating Science to Policy Makers, Advanced Communication Research Methods, Communicating Science Using Digital Media, Environmental Communication, and Communicating Science and Health Risks to the Public. Students can also opt to complete an internship or independent study for credit, with approval from program advisors.

A defining feature of this program is its partnership with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, which is a nationwide leader in professional development for science communicators. The Alda Method® for science communication is integrated into several of the M.S. program’s core and elective courses, giving students training in science communication methods and strategies across various contexts, including health communication, research publications and dissemination, environmental and sustainability communication, and policy-related communication. Additionally, the Alda Center provides opportunities for students to network with science communication scholars and professionals in a variety of fields, as well as access to professional development programs, colloquia, and presentations.

Students’ culminating experience in the program is a Master’s Project in Science Communication, through which students design, implement, and evaluate an independent science communication project that reflects the principles, research methods, and communication theories and strategies they have learned in the program. The Master’s Project must also be relevant to students’ desired career or professional impact, in that it should address the needs of a real stakeholder group, such as a non-profit organization, company, or community. During their work on their Master’s Project, students benefit from the guidance and mentorship of a faculty member.

Stony Brook University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Online Master of Science in Science Communication

Department: School of Communication and Journalism
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program utilizes synchronous instruction
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 1.5 years (full-time enrollment), part-time students have up to 5 years to complete the program
Start Dates: Fall admission only

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 33 credit hours (11 courses)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone project
Example Courses: Communication Research Methods; Building and Assessing Communication Strategies; Foundations of Science Communication; Communication Law & Ethics; Principles of Inclusive Engagement; Communicating Science to Policy Makers; Communicating Science using Digital Media; Communicating Science & Health Risks to the Public; Environmental Communication

Admission Requirements
Application Requirements: Bachelor's degree in a related field (STEM, social sciences, health-related); CV or resume; personal statement; writing samples; three letters of recommendation
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: GRE not required, submitting GRE scores is optional

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$15,543 + fees (in-state); ~$18,645 + fees (out-of-state)
Cost per Credit Hour: $471 per credit hour (in-state); $565 per credit hour (out-of-state)

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states

*Estimated tuition is calculated by multiplying the cost per credit hour by the number of credits required to graduate. It does not include fees or other expenses.