NSC Courses

Students in the Notation take courses that focus on science communication and ePortfolio preparation.  Some of these courses are taught by the Program in Writing and Rhetoric; students also take at least one non-PWR elective with a science communication component.

PWR Elective Science Communication Courses

PWR offers several elective courses in science communication each year. These courses are open to all students, not just those in the NSC.

NSC students are required to take PWR 91NSC: Introduction to Science Communcation and one additional PWR elective course. 

The 2019-2020 NSC PWR elective course offerings are as follows:

PWR ePortfolio Preparation Courses 

PWR offers two courses in ePortfolio preparation that bookend a student's NSC experience. 

PWR 99A is a 1-unit course introducing ePortfolios and folio thinking for students in the Notation in Science Communication (NSC). The course will assist students in designing an ePortfolio and in selecting and reflecting on work samples that represent student learning in science communication. This is the first of a two-part ePortfolio requirement for the NSC. It should be taken as early in the NSC program as possible, and no later than spring quarter of junior year.

PWR 99B is a 2-unit course that supports graduating NSC students in building their final ePortfolios in preparation for the Spring evaluation process. Students will focus on key portfolio elements — reflection, storytelling, and visual design — to best highlight their science communication skills. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with science communication professionals and learn more about science communication careers.

Notation in Science Communication Non-PWR Elective Courses

In addition to their PWR coursework, NSC students are required to take a non-PWR elective course. 

Students record their choice of elective course by submitting the NSC Non-PWR Elective Application form after consultation with their NSC PWR Advisor.

In selecting courses for their elective, students should keep in mind the following criteria. A non-PWR elective course must:

  1. be offered by a department, program or interdisciplinary program at Stanford (Note: A course taken while studying abroad may count if you receive credit for it on your Stanford transcript)
  2. have a focus on science communication
  3. provide students the opportunity to produce an artifact they can include in their ePortfolio (i.e. written paper, oral presentation, multimedia project)

Note: Students cannot count their primary WIM course as their non-PWR elective course.

Below are samples of courses that could qualify as non-PWR elective courses; see ExploreCourses for full descriptions. Students must submit the NSC Non-PWR Elective Application form for any potential elective course, whether that course is on this list or not, in order for that course to count toward their progress in the Notation.  If you have questions about the non-PWR Elective course requirement, email notationsc@stanford.edu.

  • BIO 137: Plant Genetics (cannot double count as WIM)
  • BIO 196A: Biology Senior Reflection (cannot double count as WIM)
  • BIO 197WA: Senior Writing Project: The Personal Essay in Biology (cannot double count as WIM)
  • BIO 199W: Senior Honors Thesis: How to Effectively Write About Scientific Research (cannot double count as WIM)
  • BIOE 131: Ethics in Bioengineering
  • CEE 32D: Construction: The Writing of Architecture
  • COMM 177C / EARTHSYS 177C: Specialized Writing and Reporting: Environmental Journalism 
  • CS 181 / 181W: Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy (cannot double count as WIM)
  • CS 191W: Writing Intensive Senior Project
  • CSRE 41A: Genes and Identity
  • EARTH 14: Our National Parks
  • EARTHSYS 200: Environmental Communication in Action (cannot double count as WIM)
  • EARTHSYS 135 / 235: Podcasting the Anthropocene (cannot double count as WIM)
  • ENGLISH 157/BIOHOPK 157H/BIOHOPK 257H: Creative Writing and Science: The Artful Interpreter
  • ENGR 102W: Writing for Engineers​
  • ENGR 103: Public Speaking
  • ENGR 199W: Writing of Original Research for Engineers (cannot double count as WIM)
  • ENGR 202W: Technical Writing
  • ENVRES 245: Psychological Insights for Science Communication
  • FEMGEN 129/HUMBIO 129: Critical Issues in International Women's Health
  • FEMGEN 146/PUBPOL 166: The Politics of Epidemics
  • HRP 214: Scientific Writing
  • HRP 215: Scientific Writing for Basic and Translational Scientists
  • HUMBIO 82B: Advanced Data Analysis in Qualitative Research
  • ME 219: The Magic of Materials and Manufacturing
  • PUBLPOL 306: Writing and Rhetoric for Policy Audiences

For questions visit NSC FAQs or email: notationsc@stanford.edu