Course Schedule

The courses below are those offered for the term. (To view the course description, class dates & times, touch on accordion tab by the title.)

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

  • Online Courses

    491.658.81 - Techniques of Science-Medical Writing

    Emily Mullin

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This core course develops and hones the reporting, creative and explanatory skills demonstrated by the best science-medical writers. The course features writing assignments and exercises in journalistic and literary writing, plus interviewing, ethics and the use of scientific journals and databases. In some cases, students may be able to choose from a range of writing topics, including nature, technology, health, space, biology, medicine, or other scientific issues. Science Writing students should complete this course before enrolling in any writing workshop. Departmental approval and a writing sample required for students not enrolled in the Science Writing Program.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.675.81 - Science-Medical Writing Workshop

    Nancy Lord

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    In a writing workshop, students receive professional guidance in translating complex scientific, medical, or technological knowledge and research into graceful, lucid prose. Students submit individual essays or articles, or parts of a larger work in progress. Writing submissions are critiqued by peers as well as by the instructor, then revised. Students are encouraged but not required to take this course from different instructors. (The three section numbers designate the academic term in which the workshop is offered. Students earn workshop credit by taking any section number multiple times or by combining any sections.) Prerequisite: 491.658

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.696.81 - The Nature of Nature

    Kim O'Connell

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This reading course focuses on the species and critters and phenomena that make up “nature” (the outdoors, ecosystems, natural history) and human interaction with nature (e.g., travel in, appreciation of, effects on). Students analyze books, essays, and articles from writers who tell gripping, true stories about topics ranging from outdoor adventure to environmental catastrophe to personal reflection. Students will also engage in numerous nature-writing exercises. For this course, you will be taking a step into the wild. Nature writing is considered a subset of science writing. Readings may include authors such as David Quammen, John McPhee, Elizabeth Kolbert, Gretel Ehrlich, and other contemporary writers.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.696.82 - The Nature of Nature


    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This reading course focuses on the species and critters and phenomena that make up “nature” (the outdoors, ecosystems, natural history) and human interaction with nature (e.g., travel in, appreciation of, effects on). Students analyze books, essays, and articles from writers who tell gripping, true stories about topics ranging from outdoor adventure to environmental catastrophe to personal reflection. Students will also engage in numerous nature-writing exercises. For this course, you will be taking a step into the wild. Nature writing is considered a subset of science writing. Readings may include authors such as David Quammen, John McPhee, Elizabeth Kolbert, Gretel Ehrlich, and other contemporary writers.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.700.81 - Subatomic Writing

    Jamie Zvirzdin

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This elective examines writing on the particle level: sound, syntax, punctuation, rhythm, and pacing. Together, these elements can generate meaningful, understandable, and nuanced content. How does sound echo sense? How does the spin of syntax affect the flavor of the sentence? How does pacing affect the joke? Writers who know the laws of language can navigate them with flexibility or break them with aplomb and purpose. Momentum and energy at these basic levels keep readers engaged and make editors and agents sit up with interest. This elective with workshop elements asks students to bring their favorite sentences from literature and analyze why they work at the most fundamental levels. Class discussions on VoiceThread or other online tools allow students to interact with sound and old-school sentence diagrams. Students will then create science writing projects crafted at the quantum level without losing sight of global goals and overall quality. Science writers who feel like weak bosons when it comes to voice, style, grammar, and punctuation will particularly benefit from this course.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.700.82 - Subatomic Writing

    Jamie Zvirzdin

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This elective examines writing on the particle level: sound, syntax, punctuation, rhythm, and pacing. Together, these elements can generate meaningful, understandable, and nuanced content. How does sound echo sense? How does the spin of syntax affect the flavor of the sentence? How does pacing affect the joke? Writers who know the laws of language can navigate them with flexibility or break them with aplomb and purpose. Momentum and energy at these basic levels keep readers engaged and make editors and agents sit up with interest. This elective with workshop elements asks students to bring their favorite sentences from literature and analyze why they work at the most fundamental levels. Class discussions on VoiceThread or other online tools allow students to interact with sound and old-school sentence diagrams. Students will then create science writing projects crafted at the quantum level without losing sight of global goals and overall quality. Science writers who feel like weak bosons when it comes to voice, style, grammar, and punctuation will particularly benefit from this course.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.701.81 - Communicating Climate Change

    Olive Heffernan

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This course will examine the unique challenge of effectively engaging the public on climate change, the most serious environmental issue of our time. A highly politicized and polarizing topic, climate change is often called a wicked problem. It is scientifically complex and while global in nature, the effects of climate change are felt locally, with the most serious impacts disproportionately affecting those least responsible for the problem. What’s more, the worst impacts of climate change will occur sometime in the future, but minimizing those impacts will require large-scale and widespread changes to current society.

    Students taking this course will compare a range of material representing contemporary climate change communication, from books and magazine/newspaper articles to literary journal essays, to gain an understanding of how science writers engage, inform, and inspire the public. Students will also evaluate social science research that attempts to explain and overcome the challenge of engaging a public that can be in denial, disengaged, disheartened and frustrated. Students will practice effective journalistic methods for gathering information (for ex., interviews, observation, reading journal articles) and will experiment with pitching ideas and translating those ideas into articles. They will demonstrate their own strategies for assuring accuracy and for gauging the credibility of their sources.

    The course includes a lot of assigned reading, as well as writing and writing-prep exercises and extensive class discussion on Blackboard. This is not a course on the history of climate science, and nor is it a comprehensive survey of the field of climate science. The overall purpose of this course is to produce writers who can generate exceptional articles and essays about climate change.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.750.81 - Contemporary Science-Medical Writing: Creative and Professional Forms

    Brittany Moya Del Pino

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This core course provides a broad foundation in the diverse forms and venues encountered in contemporary science writing careers. Students learn elements of classic forms, such as essay, profile, news article, and op-ed, and they explore magazines, institutional publications, literary journals, blogs, speeches, and even museum exhibit text. The course covers the differing goals of various forms and how they might be used in multimedia, social networks, and other digital communication. Guest speakers present real-world expertise, with students engaged in discussion, exercises, and writing assignments. Science writing students needing a stronger foundation should complete this course before enrolling in any writing workshop.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.757.81 - Science Profiles Workshop: Writing About People

    Timothy Wendel

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This workshop focuses on writing about people involved in science, medicine, technology, or policy. Students analyze models of the form, then report and write profiles of various lengths and purpose, from mini-profiles to quick features to longer, in-depth works. The course includes guest speakers who specialize in the research, interviews, and writing needed for effective, readable biographical works. This course provides a workshop credit for science writers. Prerequisite: 491.658.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.802.81 - Thesis and Careers in Science Writing

    Melissa Joyce

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This final degree program course involves the creation of a thesis and a final capstone experience that prepares a student for a writing career. Students usually enroll in this course after completing all other cores, workshops, and electives. Thesis: Each student’s thesis is created from work in earlier courses. Students revise and refine an individual portfolio that includes creative writing, journalism, multimedia and communication writing. The first draft of a thesis is due in the second week of the thesis term; students spend the term revising that work under the direction of a one-on-one thesis advisor. Capstone: The group experience of the course requires each participant to develop a career plan that includes personal goals such as publication, job applications, or career advancement. Other capstone experiences may include attending science writing events or seminars, publication of a course magazine or journal, and discussions of the changing business of writing. The Science Writing Program also may propose an optional mini-residency for thesis students that includes commencement and other onsite experiences at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and Washington. Note: All thesis students should submit a Science Writing Thesis Planning Form at least one month before the course begins. See the Science Writing Program website for more information.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    491.802.82 - Thesis and Careers in Science Writing

    Susan Eisenfeld

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This final degree program course involves the creation of a thesis and a final capstone experience that prepares a student for a writing career. Students usually enroll in this course after completing all other cores, workshops, and electives. Thesis: Each student’s thesis is created from work in earlier courses. Students revise and refine an individual portfolio that includes creative writing, journalism, multimedia and communication writing. The first draft of a thesis is due in the second week of the thesis term; students spend the term revising that work under the direction of a one-on-one thesis advisor. Capstone: The group experience of the course requires each participant to develop a career plan that includes personal goals such as publication, job applications, or career advancement. Other capstone experiences may include attending science writing events or seminars, publication of a course magazine or journal, and discussions of the changing business of writing. The Science Writing Program also may propose an optional mini-residency for thesis students that includes commencement and other onsite experiences at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and Washington. Note: All thesis students should submit a Science Writing Thesis Planning Form at least one month before the course begins. See the Science Writing Program website for more information.

    Technology Fee: $200.00