Learn more about the Professional Science Master's in Scientific Writing.

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 specializations:

  • 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

Application Deadline:

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.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

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:
GRE: Optional

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.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Core Courses
BIOL 5505Ethics Regulation and Policy in Biotechnology 13
BIOL 5522Introduction to Scientific and Regulatory Writing 13
BIOL 5532Introduction to Grant Writing 13
BIOL 5533Communicating Science to a Broader Audience / Non-Scientists 13
JRN 5710Seminars in Communication 1,24
Electives 312
Capstone Course
BIOL 9995Capstone Project2
Total Credit Hours30

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 specialization, as delineated below. Students are required to take two STEM courses in the specialization 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 specialization 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 Specialization

Select four from the following: 112
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 Hours12

Students in the Marketing/Regulatory Writing specialization 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 specialization.

Popular Scientific Writing Specialization

Select four from the following: 112
Genomics in Medicine
Seminar in Genomics Analytics
The Chemistry of Natural Products
Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition
Health Economics
Communication Law
JRN 5012
JRN 5013
The Entrepreneurial Journalist
Emergent Media Production
Philosophy of Science
Ethics in Medicine
Quantitative Methods for Business
Total Credit Hours12

Students in the Popular Scientific Writing specialization 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 specialization.

Approved Electives for the Popular Scientific Writing Specialization1

ENG 8706Advanced Study in Rhetoric and Composition3
EPBI 5101Fundamentals of Epidemiology3
HPM 8013Research Methods in Health Policy3
HRPR 8101Bioethics and Ethical Decision-Making3
MKTG 5001Marketing Management/Strategy3

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 specialization.

Culminating Event:
Capstone Project:
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:

Department Information:

Dept. of Biology

255 Biology-Life Sciences Building

1900 N. 12th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6078


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:

Program Coordinators:

Jackie Sackie

Program Director:

Darryl L'Heureux, PhD