Alda Center Courses at SBU

Communicating Science graduate courses are open to masters and PhD students in STEM disciplines. 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

1-Credit Core Courses

JRN 501 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: DISTILLING YOUR MESSAGE

Students learn to speak clearly and vividly about their work and why it matters, in terms non-scientists can understand. Practice finding common ground with listeners and speaking at different levels of complexity for different audiences. Includes a video interview with a journalist.

  • 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 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: IMPROVISATION FOR SCIENTISTS

This innovative course uses improvisational theater techniques to help students communicate more directly and responsively. It’s not about acting; it’s about connecting with an audience.

  • 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



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, 3 credits



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