About the Program
In science, the ability to write clearly and succinctly is a skill in demand by organizations as diverse as nonprofit organizations, pharmaceutical companies and news outlets. The primary objective of the PSM in Scientific Writing program is to enable students with diverse backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to develop the expertise to pursue medical and scientific writing jobs in the STEM fields. In addition, individuals currently employed in STEM areas are offered the opportunity to enhance and broaden their skills for their professional advancement.
The Scientific Writing PSM program offers specific and focused instruction in a wide range of scientific writing genres, as well as enables students to develop their communication skills. Students also experience scientific writing in practice, both through classroom instruction and an internship that provides an opportunity for direct training by directors of regulatory affairs in pharmaceutical companies, medical writers, practicing scientists, professionals working for scientific/medical journals, publishers and the like.
The program is a collaborative effort of Temple faculty in the College of Science and Technology and the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. Students may satisfy the degree requirements by also taking electives in Engineering, English, Health Policy and Management, Marketing, Pharmacy Quality Assurance, Philosophy and Statistics.
Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years
Campus Location: Main
Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.
Interdisciplinary Study: The degree program is inherently interdisciplinary in commingling science coursework with writing coursework.
Accreditation: Temple University is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Areas of Specialization: The Scientific Writing PSM program offers two concentrations:
- Marketing/Regulatory Writing
- Popular Scientific Writing
Job Prospects: Recent data from the United States Labor Department, Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that technical writer jobs are growing at a faster rate than medical scientist jobs. Graduates of the Scientific Writing PSM program are prepared to use scientific writing skills in all relevant areas, including the STEM disciplines, Contract Research Organizations (CRO), public health and policy, and science communications.
Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may enroll in a total of three courses (9 credits) with permission of the instructor and the Biology Department.
Financing Opportunities: Financial assistance in the form of Research or Teaching Assistantships is not offered at this time.
Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Fall Priority Deadline: March 1; December 15 international
Spring Priority Deadline: October 30; September 1 international
Applications submitted after the priority deadline will be considered for admission on a rolling basis. Applications are processed on a continual basis. Ordinarily, the applicant is informed of an admissions decision within four to six weeks of receipt of all supporting application documents.
Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2
From Whom: Letters should be obtained from college/university faculty or faculty who are familiar with the applicant's competency. If the applicant has an established career in a related field, the applicant’s immediate supervisor should provide one of the letters.
Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Applicants should have a strong background in one or more STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: The Scientific Writing PSM program has been designed for professionals who have a bachelor's degree or equivalent in a STEM field.
Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, describe your interest in the Scientific Writing PSM program, career goals, and academic and professional achievements.
Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:
- TOEFL iBT: 90
- IELTS Academic: 6.5
- PTE Academic: 61
- Duolingo: 110
Resume: Current resume required.
Interview: An in-person or Skype interview is required.
Transfer Credit: Graduate credits from an accredited institution may be transferred into the Scientific Writing PSM program. The credits must be equivalent to coursework offered by the Biology Department at Temple University. A grade of "B" or better must have been earned for the credits to transfer. The PSM in Scientific Writing Steering Committee makes recommendations to the Department Chair for transferring credit on an individual basis. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.
General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30
|BIOL 5505||Ethics Regulation and Policy in Biotechnology 1||3|
|BIOL 5522||Introduction to Scientific and Regulatory Writing 1||3|
|BIOL 5532||Introduction to Grant Writing 1||3|
|BIOL 5533||Communicating Science to a Broader Audience / Non-Scientists 1||3|
|JRN 5710||Seminars in Communication 1,2||4|
|BIOL 9995||Capstone Project||2|
|Total Credit Hours||30|
With approval from the advisor, students may request to waive any one core course and replace it with an alternate course that aligns with the goals of the degree program.
With approval from the advisor, students may take a graduate-level Journalism course other than JRN 5710.
Electives are selected in one of two areas of concentration, as delineated below. Students are required to take two STEM courses in the concentration of their choice and may take up to two non-STEM courses that align with their interests. The coursework allows students to choose from a wide range of topics within Marketing/Regulatory Writing or Popular Scientific Writing in alignment with their professional interests. The breadth of electives ensures that students are presented with the diverse scientific writing genres in science. Listed electives for each concentration serve as a guide. Thus, students are not restricted to the listed electives and may, in consultation with the program advisor, take other graduate-level courses as electives.
Marketing/Regulatory Writing Concentration
|Select four from the following: 1||12|
|Regulation of Medical Devices: Submissions|
|Requirements for Product Labeling and Advertising|
|Regulatory Aspects of Biomedical/Technical Communication|
|Post Approval Changes (PAC)|
|Risk Management of Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices|
|Food and Drug Law|
|Regulation of Dietary Supplements and Functional Foods|
|Food Labeling and Regulatory Affairs|
|Regulation of Advertising and Promotions|
|Total Credit Hours||12|
Students in the Marketing/Regulatory Writing concentration must take two QARA courses, but may elect to replace two courses with any two graduate-level courses offered at Temple that align with the Marketing/Regulatory Writing concentration.
Popular Scientific Writing Concentration
|Select four from the following: 1||12|
|Genomics in Medicine|
Seminar in Genomics Analytics
|The Chemistry of Natural Products|
|Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition|
|The Entrepreneurial Journalist|
|Emergent Media Production|
|Philosophy of Science|
|Ethics in Medicine|
|Quantitative Methods for Business|
|Total Credit Hours||12|
Students in the Popular Scientific Writing concentration may take any two STEM courses and any two non-STEM graduate-level courses offered at Temple that align with their interests. The list below serves as a guide for electives within the Popular Scientific Writing concentration.
Approved Electives for the Popular Scientific Writing Concentration1
|ENG 8706||Advanced Study in Rhetoric and Composition||3|
|EPBI 5101||Fundamentals of Epidemiology||3|
|HPM 8013||Research Methods in Health Policy||3|
|HRPR 8101||Bioethics and Ethical Decision-Making||3|
|MKTG 5001||Marketing Management/Strategy||3|
With approval from the advisor, students may take one of these approved electives or any other graduate-level course as an elective to replace one course for the Popular Scientific Writing concentration.
BIOL 9995 Capstone Project constitutes a culminating event of the Scientific Writing PSM and requires the submission of a detailed technical paper and oral presentation. In the summer following the first year of study, students are expected to complete an internship, which becomes part of their capstone project. The internship must take place in a workplace approved by the PSM Steering Committee, which includes faculty from the College of Science and Technology, Lew Klein College of Media and Communication, and the Provost's Office. Workplaces may include a patent law office specializing in chemical, engineering and scientific innovation; a practicing scientist; a publishing company; or any other relevant workplace on or off Temple’s campus.
Program Web Address:
Dept. of Biology
255 Biology-Life Sciences Building
1900 N. 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6078
Submission Address for Application Materials:
Darryl L'Heureux, PhD