Sample Science Electives for Journalism Masters Students

In addition to taking journalism sources, MS students take graduate science courses, with the approval of their faculty advisor and of the offering department. Here is a sampling of science electives that are appropriate for students who don’t have much specialized scientific preparation. For such students, CSM 610/CEB 545, The Nature and Practice of Science, and CEB 553, Biology and Human Behavior, are particularly recommended. If students have not taken college-level statistic, they are required to take a statistics or epidemiology course, such as HPH 585 or HAS 550.

ANT 512: “Comparative Civilizations”

A comparative study of the processes of sociocultural evolution from the beginnings of sedentary life to the achievement of early civilization in the Near East, Egypt, the Indus Valley, China, Mesoamerica, and the Andean area. The seminar covers such topics as urbanization, demography, irrigation, craft specialization, militarism, and trade and exchange. This course is offered as both ANT 512 and DPA 512

ANT 559: “Archaeology of Food”

Explores the archaeological study of food and foodways.  The emphasis is on the social aspects of food, particularly its roles in past power structures, social relationships, conceptions of identity, ritual practices, and gender roles.  Also covers the theoretical and methodological approaches archaeologists use to study food in the past. 


CEB 553: “Biology and Human Behavior”

Why can humans walk on the moon, compose symphonies, invent literature, use calculus while our closest living relatives, chimps, can barely count to ten? The Biology of Being Human will explore the origin of human uniqueness. The course will also engage students in the process of science – the ways we define theories, collect evidence and use that evidence to test theories.

CEB 559/BIO 559: “Modern Topics in Evolution”

Evolution is a unifying principle in Biology.  This course is designed to bring educators/prospective educators at the forefront of modern evolution topics. Moreover, strategies for teaching evolution will be constructed, aimed at addressing common student misconceptions. The class concludes with a societal perspective on the challenges associated with teaching evolution in the United States.

CEB 563: “Darwin in the 21st Century”

This course is an introduction to historical and theoretical aspects of evolutionary biology. The implications of evolution for current social and public issues are also considered. It is intended to show how scientists practice science and to provide an understanding of evolutionary theory.  Discussion will center on the relationships between the historical development of the Theory of Natural Selection, and its relationship to Social Darwinism, Creationism, and Contemporary Evolutionary Theory.

CEY 525: “Ocean Stewardship: Global Science, Local Issues”

A study of fundamental principles and terminology of global oceanography in the context of local issues and oceanographic studies. Oceanography requires an integration of basic chemistry, physics and biology. Basic oceanographic principles will be applied to issues as they manifest themselves in regional settings such as, but not limited to, LI Sound, NY/CT. Note: A real-time, on-line appointment will be required in week nine.

CHE 591: Chemistry in Society

Includes current trends in chemical research and the influence of chemistry in areas such as the environment and technology. Topics of local interest and the conflicting demands placed on technology will be integrated into the course.

CSM 610/CEB 545: “The Nature and Practice of Science”

The nature of science refers to the values and assumptions inherent in the development, understanding and interpretation of scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge is empirically based, culturally embedded, tentative, and incorporates subjectivity and creativity. This course will address the following: What is science? What distinguishes science from other ways of knowing or as being basic science, applied science or technology? What philosophical, social, ethical and historical perspectives are important in understanding the nature of science?

HAS 543: “Health Policy”

This course provides students with an overview of the United States health system and the consequential major health policy issues we face.  The course examines the roles of hospitals, doctors, private and government insurance (political economy and history of system we face), and different systems for organizing and financing care (such as traditional fee-for-service, HMOs, and other forms of “managed care”, public systems, employer provided, etc. – as well as alternative delivery mechanisms that exist internationally).  The course will provide a basis from which students explore, develop, and critically evaluate issues central to health policy.

HAS 550: “Statistics and Data Analysis”

Teaches the use of descriptive statistics such as means, medians, standard deviations and histograms to report results of experiments. Illustrates how inferences can be made from hypothesis testing and regression analysis. Includes analysis of the validity and appropriateness of statistical techniques employed by researchers in the health field.

HPH 585: “Introduction to Biostatistics Epidemiology”

This course is an introduction to the principles of statistical methods and epidemiology and their application in the health sciences.  The student will develop a basic understanding of statistics, epidemiology, and interpretation of research studies in order to communicate risk and scientific evidence to colleagues and the public, directly or through the press.

MAR 507: “Marine Conservation”

The fundamental concepts of conservation science, a synthetic field that incorporates principles of ecology, biogeography, population genetics, systematics, evolutionary biology, environmental sciences, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy toward the conservation of biological diversity will be presented within the context of the conservation of marine resources. Examples drawn from the marine environment emphasize how the application of conservation principles varies in different environments.

MAR 512: “Marine Pollution”

Review of the physical and chemical characteristics and speciation in the marine environment of organic pollutants, metals and radionuclides including bioavailability, assimilation by marine organisms, toxicity, and policy issues. Cross-listed with CEY 512.

MAR 514: “Marine Management”

The course discusses waste management issues particularly affecting the marine environment. Topics include ocean dumping, sewage treatment fish kills, beach pollution, and nuisance algal blooms. Techniques for managing the waste stream are presented.

MAR 527: “Global Change”

The course examines the scientific basis behind questions of global change and some of the policy implications of changes to the region and country. Topics include evidence and courses of past climatic changes, greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect, analogues with other planets, the Gaia hypothesis, climate modeling, and deforestation and the depletion of ozone

MAR 536: “Environmental Law and Regulations”

This course covers environmental law and regulations from inception in common law through statutory law and regulations. The initial approach entails the review of important case law giving rise to today’s body of environmental regulations. Emphasis is on environmental statutes and regulations dealing with waterfront and coastal development and solid waste as well as New York State’s Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Crosslisted as MAR 536 or HPH 676.

MAR 553: “Fishery Management”

Survey of the basic principles of and techniques for studying the population dynamics of marine fish and shellfish. Discussion of the theoretical basis for management of exploited fishes and shellfish, contrasting management in theory and in practice using local, national, and international examples Includes lab exercises in the use of computer-based models for fish stock assessment.