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Journalism to Offer M.S. Degree in 2011

Howard Schneider
Howard Schneider

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 January 2011. 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 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.”

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 six-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 at or (631) 632-1162. For more information on the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Health Communications, contact Evonne Kaplan-Liss at or (631) 444-2288.

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