Alda Center Courses at SBU

The Alda Center offers programs and courses for Stony Brook students interested in communicating their science in effective and compelling ways.

Graduate Students

Master's and PhD students in the sciences, engineering, math, and other research-based fields are encouraged to take courses in science communication. Some graduate programs require Alda Center courses.

Tuition is covered for PhD students (fall or spring semesters) if they are currently supported full time by their program (TA/GA/RA or Fellow) and have a full Graduate Tuition Scholarship. Enrollment in the course requires pre-approval from your Graduate Program Director. Masters students can also enroll and pay tuition as normal. Register through SOLAR. If you have questions, please email: AldaCenter@stonybrook.edu

Advanced Graduate Certificate in Communicating Science

Graduate students pursuing master's or doctoral degrees in science, engineering, math, or other research-based fields may add this 12-credit certificate program to learn to share their science and their research in compelling and effective ways. Working professionals interested in completing the program as a stand-alone credential are also welcome to apply to the program.

Graduate 1-Credit Core Courses

JRN 501 Foundations of Science Communication I

In this team-taught, immersive science communication training, students will build skills to passionately communicate in a way that excites, engages, and encourages audiences to want to learn more about their work. Improvisational theater-based techniques are combined with message design strategies like distilling and storytelling, enabling healthcare professionals, scientists, and researchers to use strategy and spontaneity to execute powerful communication in any context.

  • JRN 501.01 – Tuesdays, Jan 28, Feb 4, 11, 18; 2:30-6:00
  • JRN 501.02 – Fridays, Jan 31, Feb 7; 9:00-5:00
  • JRN 501.03 – Saturdays, Feb 15, 22; 9:00-5:00
  • JRN 501.04 – Mondays, Mar 2, 9, 23, 30; 4:00-7:30

JRN 503 Foundations of Science Communication II

In this immersive science communication training, participants who have completed JRN 501 will continue their foundations in science communication with explorations into engaging with key audiences and the media, as well as creating a presentation accompanied by compelling visuals.

  • JRN 503.01 – Tuesdays, Feb 25, Mar 3, 10, 24, 31; 2:30-5:20​
  • JRN 503.02 – Fridays, Feb 28, Mar 6; 9:00-5:00
  • JRN 503.03 – Mondays, Apr 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4; 4:00-6:50

JRN 513 Science of Science Communication

The U.S. National Academies has paid increased attention to the “science of science communication,” an interdisciplinary area of social science and humanities research and scholarship that spans a range of disciplines, including communication, psychology, decision science, mass communication, risk communication, health communication, political science, sociology, and science and technology studies, history, and others. This course is designed as an introductory survey course for graduate students in science, biomedical, engineering, and health disciplines to this interdisciplinary field. The key goal is to provide context on science communication research that can inform students’ science communication practices. Specifically targeted to students who are not communication researchers, this essential overview will help students understand the importance of linking theory with practice when they communicate about their own research.

  • JRN 513 – Mondays, Apr 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4; 2:30-5:20 (Online)
     

3-Credit Graduate Courses

JRN 565 COMMUNICATING YOUR SCIENCE

This course is for graduate students in science, biomedical, engineering, and health disciplines who want to communicate effectively and responsively with multiple audiences, from peers and professors to potential employers, policymakers and the lay public. Students will focus on speaking about science clearly and vividly in ways that can engage varied audiences, especially those outside their own field. The class will include instruction and practice in connecting and finding common ground with an audience, defining goals, identifying main points, speaking without jargon, explaining meaning and context, using storytelling techniques, and using multimedia elements. The class will include improvisational theater exercises that help speakers pay close and dynamic attention to others, reading nonverbal cues, and responding freely without self-consciousness. As a culminating activity, students will develop and deliver an engaging short oral presentation on a scientific topic.

  • JRN 565 – Wednesdays, all semester, 4:00-6:50pm

JRN 534 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE USING DIGITAL MEDIA

Science and health information increasingly travels by digital media, as new ways emerge for scientists to communicate directly with the public, without the intermediaries of press or public relations. In this online course, students will learn how to be a more effective and engaged online communicator, so that their science can reach a greater audience in more meaningful ways. Students will also learn about the great potential and perils of social media, as they learn to think critically about the broader issues surrounding this medium. This course gives students a practical and hands-on approach to teach them how to use digital “tools of the trade” such as blogs, video, audio/podcasts, and social media platforms to foster two-way communication with different segments of the public, including colleagues in other disciplines. Using improvisational techniques combined with message design strategies for structuring content, students will create, practice and hone their science communication skills through this dynamic and interactive online course.

  • JRN 534 – Fridays, all semester, 1:00-3:50pm (ONLINE); every other week consists of self-paced work 

For Undergraduates

JRN 365 TALKING SCIENCE

This is a 3-credit course designed to help science majors learn to speak effectively and responsively with multiple audiences, from peers and professors to potential employers, policymakers and the lay public. Students will focus on communicating about science clearly and vividly, as well as develop skills that are central to oral communication on any subject. The techniques used include improvisational theater exercises that help speakers connect with an audience, paying close and dynamic attention to others, reading nonverbal cues, and responding freely without self-consciousness. Students will practice delivering their message effectively for different audiences, including defining goals, identifying main points, speaking without jargon, explaining meaning and context, responding to questions, using storytelling techniques, and using multimedia elements. Students will be videotaped at least once during the semester as part of the learning process. As a culminating activity, students develop and deliver an engaging short oral presentation on a scientific topic. This course requires active participation not only as speakers, but also as active listeners and constructive critics in a rigorous but supportive environment. Prerequisite: upper-division major in science, engineering, mathematics or health.

  • JRN 365.01 – Tuesdays, all semester, 10:00am-12:50pm, 3 credits
  • JRN 365.02 – Thursdays, all semester, 10:00am-12:50pm, 3 credits