JHU Online MA in Writing & Science Writing
The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) offers an Online Master of Arts (MA) in Writing and Science Writing. The MA in Writing includes a Fiction or Nonfiction concentration. Students in the Fiction track create a portfolio of short stories, novellas, and possibly a portion of a novel. The Nonfiction track focuses on literary journalism, personal essays, and a memoir. Students can also explore other genres and types of writing through electives, even including courses from the Science Writing MA.
The MA in Science Writing is geared toward science, technology, and nature, and the varied outlets that publish such material including scientific publications, museums, news stations, nonprofit organizations, podcasts, government research agencies, and medical device companies. Students learn to take complicated, high-level scientific and medical subjects and present them in a way that is more easily understood by laypeople.
Students in the Science Writing MA learn reporting techniques such as interviewing scientists and medical personnel and finding credible sources. Courses guide students in creative nonfiction, prose, and technical writing. A required residency course must also be completed in continental and global locations as required by the residency course chosen.
For example, the Science Policy, Funding, and Politics residency is held in Washington D.C., and examines the effect of politics, government, and private enterprise on science, medicine, and technology.
Science Writing students may accompany field biologists, astronomers, and scientists as they carry out their work in labs and the field.
The MA in Writing comprises 30 credits and can be completed in 18 to 36 months. Three credits can be added to the program for the thesis project for a total of 33 credits. The MA in Science Writing comprises 36 credits and can be completed in 16 to 36 months. Both programs offer full-time and part-time options and start dates land in the fall, spring, and summer. Applicants to either program must submit writing samples to demonstrate their aptitude for writing.
The MA in Science Writing requires attendance at the one-week Live the Writing Life Summer Residency. Students in the MA in Writing program are strongly encouraged to attend the summer residency as well. During the week, students attend workshops, receptions, readings, and excursions, and have personal writing time, often inspired by the locale. Past residencies have taken place in Dublin, Ireland, Missoula, Montana, and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
JHU delivers writing courses through Blackboard, with mostly asynchronous instruction. Some synchronous activities may be included for students to engage with each other and faculty, which also occurs during the summer residency. Any live sessions are recorded for later viewing.
Course materials, requirements, and deadlines are clearly outlined, and faculty and peers participate in online discussion boards, emails, and chats. In addition, the Science Writing Residency course may include field visits, video visits with medical and scientific professionals, and travel to specific destinations.
Core courses for the MA in Writing include Contemporary American Writers and Thesis and Publication. Students also take either Fiction or Nonfiction Techniques, depending on their concentration, one elective related to reading or an area of the chosen concentration, and three additional electives. Additionally, Writing MA students take core courses in their concentration as described next.
Fiction students take three courses from the following: Fiction Workshop; Combined Workshop and Nonfiction and Fiction; Writing the Novel Workshop; Film and Screenwriting; and Children’s and YA Writing Workshop. Nonfiction students choose three of the following: Nonfiction Workshop; Combined Workshop and Nonfiction and Fiction; Travel Writing Workshop; Profile and Biography Workshop; Writing Memoir and Personal Essay Workshop; Children’s and YA Writing Workshop; Science Medical Writing Workshop; and Film and Screenwriting.
MA in Science Writing core courses include Techniques of Science and Medical Writing, Contemporary Science and Medical Writing: Creative and Professional Forms, and Thesis and Careers in Science Writing. Two Workshop courses must be chosen from the following: Science-Medical Writing Workshop; Writing the Tech Story Workshop; Science Narratives Workshop; Science Personal Essay and Memoir Workshop; and Science Profiles Workshop: Writing About People.
Residency courses include Science Policy, Funding, and Politics; Medicine in Action; Science in Action; In the Field: Science Writing in the Woods, Coasts, and Labs of Mount Desert Island; Public Health in Action; Marine Science and Science Writing on the Emerald Isle; In the Wild: Science Writers Explore Montana’s Wilderness and Wildlife Biology; In the Field: Writing About How Science Can Save Our Wild Lands. Finally, two additional electives are chosen.
Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Johns Hopkins University
MA in Science Writing
- Students attend a one-week Live the Writing Life Summer Residency that includes workshops, receptions, readings, excursions, and personal writing time
- Science Writing students also complete a residency in various locations according to the course chosen, working directly with scientists, medical professionals, and technology specialists in the field
- The program guides students in taking complicated, high-level scientific and medical subjects and presenting them in a way that is more easily understood by the layperson
MA in Writing - Fiction
- An optional 1-week residency changes location each year and has occurred in Maine, Virginia, and Ireland
- Students graduate with a publishable portfolio or their work
- Students learn through writing and the study of reading with a foundation in creating writing
MA in Writing - Nonfiction
- Students gain a broad foundation in journalism and personal writing
- Graduates gather the best of their work for their thesis project and end up with a publishable portfolio
- Working under a faculty mentor, students complete a capstone workshop where they practice and perform public readings