Science Communication (16SCM)


The minor in Science Communication offered by the Department of Communication is available to undergraduate students interested in developing their understanding of and abilities in communication science to public audiences. It is open to students in all undergraduate majors on campus who want to deepen and broaden their knowledge of how citizens make sense of science and technology in their everyday lives. Required coursework includes 15 credit hours, including (1) an overview course that introduces major issues in contemporary debates about science communication and public engagement, (2) electives that allow students to develop further understanding of communication processes and practices, and (3) a capstone course that engages students on more advanced topics such as climate change, risk communication, environmental communication, and others.


  • Completion of 15 credit hours
  • A maximum of TWO (2) courses may be used (double-counted) towards both departmental major requirements and minor requirements.
  • A maximum of TWO (2) courses may be used (double-counted) towards any additional minor(s) requirements.
  • No more than six (6) transfer credits may be counted towards the minor.
  • A grade of ‘C’ (2.0) or better will be required for all courses taken to fulfill minor requirements.
  • No coursework may be taken for S/U credit.

Required Courses (6 credit hours)

  • COM 289 Science Communication and Public Engagement.
  • Capstone Course: Advised 400-level COM elective (e.g. COM 436, 479, future risk communication or advanced science communication course by permission). Note: Recommended to take after at least 9 credits in the minor.

Elective Courses (9 credit hours)

Choose 1 course from EACH Group (2 courses total) AND choose 1 additional course from either of the 2 Groups. At least 6 credits must be completed at 300-400 level.

Group I – Foundational Communication Skills

COM 110 Public Speaking
COM 211 Argumentation and Advocacy
COM 301 Presentational Speaking
ENG 316 Introduction to News and Article Writing [Req: ENG 101]
ENG 323 Writing in the Rhetorical Tradition [Req: ENG 101]
ENG 333 Writing for Science and Research [Req: Junior Standing]
ENG 426 Analyzing Style [Req: ENG 101]

Group II – Understanding Public Communication Processes and Practices

COM 200 Communication Media in a Changing World
COM 201 Introduction to Persuasion Theory
COM 226 Introduction to Public Relations
COM 292 Language, Communication, and Culture
COM 321 Survey of Rhetorical Theory [Req: Sophomore standing]
COM 327 Critical Analysis of Communication Media [Req: COM 240 and COM 257, Corequisite: COM 240]
COM 362 Communication and Gender [Req: Junior standing, COM 112]
COM 392 International and Crosscultural Communication
COM 395 Studies in Rhetoric and Digital Media [Req: ENG 101]
COM 402 Advanced Group Communication [Req: COM 202]
COM 411 Rhetorical Criticism [Req: Junior standing]
COM 417 Advanced Topics in Communication and Race [Req: COM 257,Corequisite: COM 250]
COM 421 Communication Law [Req: Junior standing]
COM 436 Environmental Communication [Req:COM 230 or STS 214]
COM 441 Ethical Issues in Communication [Req: COM 110, 112]
COM 442 Communication and Conflict Management [Req: COM 112]
COM 447 Communication and Globalization [Req: COM 327]
COM 451 Visual Rhetoric [Req: COM 201 or COM 321]
COM 456 Organizational Communication [Req: COM 230]
COM 466 Nonprofit Leadership & Development
COM 467 Advanced Topics in Gender and Communication [Req: COM 327 or COM 362]
COM 479 Climate Change Communication
COM 487 Internet and Society[Req: COM 250 or COM 257 or STS 214]
COM 493 Advanced Topics in Public Relations [Req: Juniors and Seniors]
ENG 341 Literature and Science [Req: Sophomore Standing]
ENG 425 Analysis of Scientific and Technical Writing [Req: Junior standing]
ET 455 Adaptive Management and Governance [Req: Junior standing]
MEA 488 Meteorology for Media [Req: ENG 331, ENG 332, ENG 333 or COM 110]
NR 484 Environmental Impact Assessment [Req: Senior standing; 4 credits]
PRT 442 Recreation and Park Interpretive Services [Req: Junior standing]
STS 214 Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society
STS 302 Contemporary Science, Technology and Human Values [Req: Sophomore standing]

Note: Students who have officially declared the minor and who wish to take a course on the elective list for which they do not currently meet the prerequisites should express their interest in the course to the minor adviser to discuss the possibility of applying for a waiver of the course prerequisite(s).


Students interested in the Science Communication minor must contact the minor advisor before their junior year and/or before the completion of 90 credits toward undergraduate degree.


The University Minor Declaration Form must be submitted to Registration and Records for inclusion of the minor on the student’s official record no later than during the registration period for the student’s final semester at NC State. The minor must be completed no later than the semester in which the student expects to graduate from his or her degree program. Students will receive official recognition on their transcripts for the completed minor.

Contact Person

Dr. Andrew R. Binder, Associate Professor of Communication
201 Winston Hall, Campus Box 8104

SIS Code: 16SCM