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Stony Brook University To Offer Master Of Science Degree In Journalism Beginning June 2011, First In SUNY System

Stony Brook University To Offer Master Of Science Degree In Journalism Beginning June 2011, First In SUNY System

STONY BROOK, N.Y., July 26, 2010 – Stony Brook will offer a new 
Master of Science 
degree in journalism beginning in June 2011, the first in the SUNY system. The program will focus on coverage of health, science, the environment and technology while preparing students to thrive as all-around journalists in the rapidly changing media landscape.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this new graduate program,” said Howard Schneider, dean of the School of Journalism. “Whether it’s climate change or vaccine safety or oil drilling technology – the issues that our students will learn to cover are at the center of public concern. Good journalism on these subjects has never been more important.” 

In addition to the M.S. in journalism, the new graduate program also will offer innovative courses for science and health students designed to teach them about the news media and how to communicate with the public, starting this January. These courses are aimed at graduate students who want to become more effective in communicating about their work with people outside their specialty, including the public, the media, public officials, potential funders and employers, as well as colleagues in other disciplines.

Students will be able to take these communications courses separately or as part of a new Advanced Graduate Certificate in Health Communications being offered by the 
Stony Brook University Graduate Program in Public Health
 starting this fall. 

“This new program fills an important national need by training students to communicate about elements of science and technology in a robust scientific environment at Stony Brook University and on Long Island,” said Eric W. Kaler, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Improved public understanding of these areas will inform better discussions and decisions for the public good.”

The M.S. in journalism is designed to serve the needs of several kinds of students: journalism majors and working journalists who may have relatively little background in science, and people with strong science backgrounds who are seeking alternative career paths but may have little background in journalism.  

“Our new Master’s program lets us make the most of Stony Brook’s tremendous strengths in health, technology and the sciences,” said Elizabeth Bass, Graduate Program Interim Director. “To cover these fields well, you need to be able to report deeply and present complex information clearly. But these skills aren’t just for specialized subjects — they will make you a better journalist no matter what you end up covering. This focus will prepare our students to make their mark in a complex, rapidly changing world.”

Stony Brook’s rich resources in the sciences, including its relationships with Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will enable students to report on advanced research being done by leading scientists in a range of fields. At the same time, Stony Brook’s School of Journalism, established in 2006 and the only journalism school in the SUNY system, will offer students an experienced faculty, dedicated to helping students learn traditional values of accuracy, independence and deep reporting as well as proficiency in the latest digital techniques. The new M.S. program will make full use of the journalism school’s broadcast studio and its $1.3 million Newsroom, stocked with up-to-date multimedia equipment.

“When we were developing our plan for how the journalism school would grow we realized that to be a mature, complete program we were going to have to add a graduate program at some point,” Dean Schneider said. “What we’re excited about here is that we think this degree marries the strengths of the journalism school with the great strengths of the university.”

The 40-credit Master’s program starts in the summer and can be completed by full-time students in three semesters and one summer, although students may choose to take more time. Required courses include a 6-credit foundation course (Health, Environment, Science and Technology Reporting, or HESTR), a science issues seminar, an internship, a Master’s project, and courses in investigative techniques and ethics, as well as a choice of broadcast and multimedia courses. 

For more information on the journalism Master’s program, contact 
Elizabeth Bass
, graduate program interim director, 631-632-1162. Information is also available at 
For more information on the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Health Communications, contact Dr. 
Evonne Kaplan-Liss
,  631-444-2288.

Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. In the 50+ years since its founding, the University has grown tremendously, now with nearly 24,700 students and 2,200 faculty and is recognized as one of the nation’s important centers of learning and scholarship. It is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, and ranks among the top 100 national universities in America and among the top 50 public national universities in the country according to the 2010 U.S. News & World Report survey. Considered one of the “flagship” campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook University co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, joining an elite group of universities, including Berkeley, University of Chicago, Cornell, MIT, and Princeton that run federal research and development laboratories. SBU is a driving force of the Long Island economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs, and accounts for nearly 4% of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County.

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