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Program Overview

MS student Amelia Williamson interning at Fermilab, 2007

Goals: The MS program in science and technology journalism at Texas A&M University is a broad-based science communication program designed to prepare students mainly for careers as writers and editors specializing in the communication of science, technology, and medicine. It also can serve as background for related careers and as preparation for doctoral study.

History: In 1996, Texas A&M University, long known for its strength in science and technology, implemented its MS program in science and technology journalism. The program moved from the College of Liberal Arts to the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences in 2006.

Philosophy: The program seeks to prepare graduates solidly grounded in both science journalism and science. Thus, each student completes graduate courses in both realms. The program is small and highly individualized, with each student choosing courses geared to his or her interests and goals.

Degree Options: After entering the program, students choose between an internship track and a thesis track. Recent internship sites have included the American Geophysical Union, the Buhl Planetarium, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal, Microsoft, the Texas Water Resources Institute, and US national laboratories. Recent thesis topics have included science reporting in Ghana, best practices of journalists winning awards for mental-health reporting, science writers' views and uses of online comments, and climate change coverage by a major Mexican newspaper.

Courses: All students in the program take the core courses Issues in Science and Technology Journalism, Reporting Science and Technology, Research Methods in Science and Technology Journalism, and Science Editing. They also take science communication electives and choose from a wide range of science courses throughout the university. In addition, they can take courses in related realms such as history of science.

Eligibility: Individuals with undergraduate degrees in science, the liberal arts, and other areas are eligible for the program. Some entering students have previous graduate or professional degrees. The program welcomes both domestic and international students.

Financial Support: Most students in the STJR program have graduate assistantships. Commonly, these assistantships entail helping with writing-intensive courses for undergraduate science majors. Out-of-state students with assistantships pay tuition at in-state rates. 

Graduates: Graduates occupy a wide range of positions. Recent examples include science writer at the American Physical Society, medical writer at the National Institutes of Health, media relations specialist at the Johns Hopkins University Institute for NanoBioTechnology, editor-writer at IBM Watson Health, technical writer at National Instruments, director of academic communications at the Texas A&M University College of Engineering, academic editor and scientific script writer at Research Square, managing editor at the Texas A&M University Press, science writing instructor, and freelance writer or editor. Some graduates go on to obtain PhDs.

For Further Information: To learn more, please contact the program coordinator, Dr. Barbara Gastel, at 979-845-6887 or bgastel@cvm.tamu.edu.