Core Courses


  • BIOL 5522: Introduction to Scientific and Regulatory Writing
    • Credits: 3

    This course introduces students to the two primary types of medical writing done by/for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Specifically, students will learn how to research and write abstracts, posters, clinical reports and other research manuscripts, patient education materials, and slide kits. In addition, students will be introduced to the basics of strategic planning and consulting, including the creation of publication plans and meeting planning from a marketing perspective. Students will also learn the fundamentals of regulatory writing. Topics will include overviews of U.S. and international regulatory agencies, product life cycles, the conduct of clinical trials and reporting clinical trial results, and activities and documentation involved with submissions for marketing approval of treatments

  • JRN 5002: Reporting and Writing I
    • Credits: 4

    Accelerated, in-depth instruction in various forms of writing, nature of news, structuring news stories, style, information gathering, copy editing fundamentals, with emphasis on multimedia reporting.

  • BIOL 5505: Ethics Regulation and Policy in Biotechnology
    • Credits: 3

    This course will provide an understanding of ethical decisions, governmental regulations and policies in biotechnology. A case study approach will be used to provide a framework for discussions of policy and ethical decision making. Guest speakers will provide insights from legal and governmental perspectives on emerging and current biotechnology applications.

  • BIOL 5532: Introduction to Writing Grant Proposals
    • Credits: 3

    This course is designed for students who hope to enter professional careers requiring knowledge of grant writing. The course will teach students the mechanics of proposal writing and the political and social aspects of "craftsmanship," as they develop their skills in identifying sources of grant funding, doing useful research to support their applications, and tailoring their proposals to specific audience interests. There will be several short writing assignments, an exam, and an independent project. Students may also be asked to engage in a collaborative grant project to help build their skills in collaboration.

  • BIOL 5533: Communicating Science to a Broader Audience/Non-Scientists
    • Credits: 3

    This writing intensive course will be developed as a hybrid class with online and in-class components, with instructors interacting with students by editing multiple drafts of a paper requiring the students to communicate a science topic to readers with either no science background or backgrounds in other STEM fields. The learning goal of this course will be emphasizing the communication of scientific theory and concepts to wide-ranging audiences, especially non-scientists. The class will require students to demonstrate the ability to break down complex science into accurate, yet understandable explanations, by writing an article in the style of the New York Times science section, or a science report in a newspaper such as the Philadelphia Inquirer. This writing course will include how to communicate current science topics to a wide range of non-scientists. Examples of such topics would include epidemiology and public-health, the Zika virus, the Higgs boson, climate change or breakthroughs in artificial prosthetics. As part of this course, students will also be required to give a video presentation which will be posted on YouTube. The presentation will be aimed at a general audience who will have an opportunity to assess the student’s success in communicating science by posting comments and answering one or two questions aimed at audience understanding.

  • BIOL 9995: Capstone in Scientific Writing
    • Credits: 2