Master of Arts in Mass Communication: Science and Health Comm

University of Florida - College of Journalism and Communications

Programme Description

Master of Arts in Mass Communication: Science and Health Comm

University of Florida - College of Journalism and Communications

Master in Science/Health Communication

The 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 organisation). 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 organisation such as NASA could create a plan for communicating the results of a particularly difficult scientific experiment.

Another option for a 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.

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 the content analysis, experiments, surveys and focus groups. You will learn the benefits and shortcomings of each method. In addition, you will also be introduced to SPSS, a software program used to analyse 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, a framing of science issues, public involvement, the 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
  • New Media and a Democratic Society
  • International Public Relations


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.


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


Fall Semester

  • Domestic application deadline is April 1. Applications may be considered after the April 1 deadline for domestic applicants only, if space is available.

  • International application deadline is January 30.

  • Assistantship/Fellowship applications deadline is March 15 (each begins in Fall semester, good for one year).

Spring Semester

  • Domestic application deadline is September 15.

  • International application deadline is July 15.

Minimum Requirements for Acceptance

  • Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree

  • Professional communication or science background preferred

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 31, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
Full time
USA - Gainesville, Florida
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
USA - Gainesville, Florida
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info