MAMC – Science/Health Communication

Science/Health CommunicationThe College of Journalism and Communications, in cooperation with other colleges on campus, offers a master’s track in science and health communications. The program is designed to teach scientists and health specialists to communicate effectively via media, and to teach mass media specialists the background science to translate the language of science and health into meaningful and understandable stories for their audiences. These goals are achieved through theoretical writing and applied courses.

At least two aspects of the program make it unique among science communication programs nationwide. First, other existing science communication programs in the U.S. focus on training journalists. UF’s program is open to journalists who want to specialize in covering science and health, offers training for people planning to work as public affairs or public information officers for science and health organizations,  for other communication specialists, and for scientists who need to be able to communicate with the public about their work. Second, the program focuses on training students to understand and communicate effectively about science and health policy.

Students in the program have the option of writing a traditional research thesis, producing a series of articles on science or health topics, or completing a project (such as a communication plan for a scientific or health organization). With committee approval and specific tasks and limitations delineated, this project could be, for example, a joint project between a journalist/public affairs officer and a scientist. For instance, a scientist and public affairs practitioner from an organization such as NASA could create a plan for communicating the results of a particularly difficult scientific experiment.

Another option for project in lieu of thesis is to develop a series of publishable articles. This program has a professional advisory panel whose members serve as external reviewers for professional projects produced in lieu of a thesis. This panel provides feedback, critique and suggestions as to the publishability of these articles. Final authority regarding the status of these articles resides with the internal committee.

Students are encouraged to complete a professional internship as part of their degree requirements. We have developed a network of science and health organizations willing to provide internships and other types of funding for students in the program.

For admissions information and application materials, contact Sarah G. Lee.

For more information on the program, please contact Dr. Debbie Treise.

Sample Courses

Mass Communication Theory – Core

This course includes a survey of some core journalism-focused mass media theories and examines contributions of other disciplines to media theory. Additionally, it includes an introduction to the fundamentals of academic research.

Research Methods in Mass Communication – Core

This course provides an overview of common mass communication research methods. Specifically, we will discuss content analysis, experiments, surveys and focus groups. You will learn the benefits and shortcomings for each method. In addition, you will also be introduced to SPSS, a software program used to analyze data.

Seminar in Science/Health Communication- Core

Overview of the field of science and health communication. Nexus of scientists, journalists, public information officers and audiences. Topics include science literacy, framing of science issues, public involvement, impact of science communication on policy.

Science Health Policy – Core

Few policymakers are well versed in science and health.  Many scientists are not well versed in the process of formulating and implementing public policy.  Therefore, there is a tendency for science/health and policy types to operate in separate professional worlds. Additionally, there is a lack of scientific training for those studying scientific/health policy, and a lack of political and policy training for those studying the sciences or health.  This class attempts to help you understand how these relate.  How do political or social issues affect the construction of a particular science/health issue?  How do findings in a particular science/health issue inform the development of policy in that area?  What role do the media play?  In other words, how is scientific knowledge generated, presented, understood and applied as various political forces shape the development of policy in that scientific/health area?

Students, along with their advisors, then custom design coursework to meet desired professional job duties. Samples of those courses are:

Issues and the Press

This is an applied theory course examining the influence of the press and internal and external pressures that may have impact on the news product. Particular emphasis will be placed on current issues and how the media define and shape public concern. Students will be required to create class presentations and a research proposal. Doctoral students may take the class for advanced-level credit.

New Media and a Democratic Society

This course examines the relationships between communication technologies and democracy, not only in the United States but elsewhere as well. New communication technologies, such as the Internet, will not automatically lead to or improve democracy, but they do contribute to changes in the society as a whole. We will examine how changes related to communication media might enhance or curtail democracy, with a particular emphasis on the relationships among the press, the public, and the government in a democracy. Please note that the press includes TV, Internet, and other media. NGOs (nonprofits) also play a role in today’s democracies. This is not a course in political communication per se.

International Public Relations

Public relations is practiced by all types of private, public, non-for-profit, activist, and non-governmental organizations and institutions that progressively engage in building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders in many locations worldwide. This graduate seminar includes content and discussions on global issues affecting the public relations profession, the professional, the specialized practices, and the engagement of stakeholders, simultaneously at home, host, and transnational levels. For instance, the course includes an evaluation of the various factors that determine the profession’s evolution and practice in different countries. Also, this course aims to introduce and analyze the main concerns affecting the management of the public relations function, such as transnational crises; coordination and control mechanisms (i.e., integration and localization efforts); professionalism levels; trends; and the practitioners’ social roles, responsibilities, and competences. Despite the emphasis on the global, the readings and debates of this course clearly address the subjects of diversity and multiculturalism, which are also relevant for the practice and study of public relations in complex national and regional environments.

Electives

The program regularly offers electives such as Audience Analysis; Qualitative Research; and Foundation of Public Relations, Telecommunication Outlet Systems and Practices; Race, Class, Gender and Media;  Survey of Electronic Publishing; History of Journalism; and Content Analysis.  Many other electives are offered.  Please check ISIS and work with your advisor to select appropriate options.

Degree Plan

Tuition

Tuition and fees are determined by the University of Florida for in-state and out-of-state graduate students.

Apply

Deadlines

Fall Semester

  • Domestic student application deadline is April 1. Applications may be considered after the April 1 deadline for domestic applicants only, if space is available.
  • International student application deadline is January 30.
  • Assistantship/Fellowship applications deadline are March 15

Spring Semester

  • Domestic student application deadline is September 15. 
  • International student application deadline is July 15.

Minimum Requirements for Acceptance

  • Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better

The Graduate School, University of Florida, requires both a minimum grade average of 3.0 for all upper-division undergraduate work and a minimum verbal-quantitative total score on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants are expected to have received a minimum grade average of 3.0 for all core courses within the Journalism and Mass Communications area and their area of special interest.

Admission is determined by several factors beyond the application material including space availability, and supervisory availability particularly in specialized areas. Meeting the minimum application requirements does not guarantee acceptance.

Direct admission to the Graduate School is dependent upon presentation of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Two copies of the official undergraduate transcript should accompany all applications—one for the department and one for the Registrar. These transcripts must be received directly from the registrar of the institution in which the work was done. Official supplementary transcripts are required as soon as they are available for any work completed after application for admission has been made.

Professional and respectful treatment of our admissions and other staff members, faculty and administrators is required.  Unprofessional or disrespectful treatment will result in denial of admission.

Test Score Requirements

GRE

Scores prior to August 2011

550 Verbal/550 Quantitative

Scores after August 2011

156 Verbal/146 Quantitative

GRE scores are valid for five years. Exceptions to minimum scores are considered based on entire packet of application materials. Some applications with scores slightly below the minimum will be considered. GRE writing scores are subject to consideration.

TOEFL
550 Paper-based
90 Internet-based
26 Speaking
6 IELTS

TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years.

The GRE codes are 5812 for the University of Florida and 4503 for the College of Journalism and Communications. The TOEFL code is 83.
To obtain information on the GRE or to request that official scores be sent to the university, write:

Educational Testing Service
CN 6004
Princeton, NJ 08541-6004

How to Apply

Print friendly checklist

It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide complete documentation to the Office of Admissions AND the intended department. Failure to submit forms to the correct offices will delay application processing.

Important Addresses:

Address #1:
University of Florida
Office of Admissions
201 Criser Hall
PO Box 114000
Gainesville, FL
32611-4000
Address #2:
Div. of Graduate Studies
College of Journalism and Communications
University of Florida
2013 Weimer Hall
P. O. Box 118400
Gainesville, FL 32611-8400
  • Graduate Application: Online Submission – When submitting application online, notify Sarah G. Lee at sglee@jou.ufl.edu so she can be looking for it. You must submit contact information for references during online application process. References will be automatically contacted and letters of recommendation will be requested by the Graduate Admissions Office.In the specialization field, please list Advertising.
      • Letters of Recommendation: Three Letters of Recommendation – University forms are required (Download form). Written letters should be on letterhead and attached to the forms. The same letters of recommendation may be used for both admission and financial aid applications. Ask authors of your letters of recommendation to send them directly to Address #2 or send as a pdf file to sglee@jou.ufl.edu . If you submitted your recommenders’ e-mail addresses on the online application, they do not have to send hardcopies.
      • Statement of Goals:  You will need to submit your statement of goals during the online application process. Describe your career plans following completion of your master’s degree. Tell what experiences have led to your goals and how you think graduate study will help you prepare for the career. Minimum length is 300 words. Please do not center text. Title this document “Statement of Goals” and be sure to include your name and date. Send to Address #2. or send as a pdf file to sglee@jou.ufl.eduIf you submitted your statement of goals on the online application, you do not have to send a hardcopy.
  • Supplemental Application for College of Journalism:  (Download form).  Send to Address #2.
  • $30.00 Application Fee: Make Check or money order payable to the University of Florida. Send your application fee to Address #1. Please used Fee Payment Cover Memo (Download form) if paying by check or money order.
  • Official Transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions: Contact all colleges and universities you have attended and listed on your application form and have them send certified official transcripts in your original language as well as translated into English. An average grade of “B” for the last two years of undergraduate studies is required. Send one original to Address #1 and one original to Address #2.
  • Official GRE (Graduate Record Exam) Scores: Contact the Educational Testing Service and have them send your official report. A verbal score of 550/156 and a quantitative score of at least 550/146 are strongly preferred. Some applications with scores slightly below the minimum will be considered. Applications with GRE verbal scores below 400/140 will not be processed. Self-reported scores are accepted temporarily to help speed up processing. GRE scores are valid for five years.  Send to Address #1.
  • Resume: List all work positions held. Include names, addresses, and telephone numbers of supervisors. Also, remember to include your name, email address, mailing address, and telephone number(s). Send to Address #2. or as a pdf file to sglee@jou.ufl.edu . If you submitted your resume on the online application, you do not have to send a hardcopy.
  • Application for Graduate Assistantship: This is optional. This is only for those applicants seeking financial assistance (Download form). Send to Address #2.
  • Samples of Your Work: This is optional. Send to Address #2.

International Applicants Only

  • Official TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score report:  Contact the Educational Testing Service and have them send your official report. A score of at least 550 (paper-based), and 90 (internet-based) is required to be considered for admission. We also accept IELTS scores with minimum of “6.” This requirement applies only to applicants from countries in which English is not the official language and includes U.S. territories and protectorates where English is not the primary language. You will not be required to submit a TOEFL score if you have spent at least one academic year at a college or university in a country where English is the official language. Intensive English language programs are excluded from the year of study provision. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years. Send originals to Address #1.
  • Certification of Financial ResponsibilityAll admitted International students who have accepted our admissions offer, are required to submit this form. The International Student Services Office will send you the form via email with instructions. Without it, the University of Florida will not issue an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility). (Do not send CFR form and bank documents to our office. The International Student Services office will contact you via email with instructions.)

Contact Sarah G. Lee at sglee@jou.ufl.edu or 352-392-6557 if you have any questions regarding your application.

Begin your application here →