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About the Notation in Science Communication

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The Notation in Science Communication (NSC) provides undergraduates with a new opportunity to develop their ability to communicate technical information to a variety of audiences using multiple genres and modes. Through a combination of coursework, advising and reflection, selected students can earn a special designation on their official transcripts that indicates their advanced work in science communication.

Smiling image of student Allie Skaldic who has long, dark brown hair and is wearing a dark blue top
Student Voices | Allie Skalnik

"Science communication is a joyous thing. It’s the chance to learn, to better understand the world. It’s the opportunity to connect with other peoples’ humanities. It’s the sacred task of telling someone else’s story. It takes trust, it takes humility, and it takes wonder. There’s nothing harder. And there’s nothing worthier."

Why complete a Notation in Science Communication?

The Notation in Science Communication reflects Stanford’s commitment to addressing society’s compelling need for strong communicative literacy among its scientists and engineers. It gives students the opportunity to develop as specialists capable of explaining science in clear and compelling ways to a range of audiences. Through the NSC coursework, students also develop collaborative problem-solving skills and strategies for communication across media that will benefit them here at Stanford and in their future professional careers.

The Notation will:

  • enhance your ability to communicate within your academic discipline 
  • develop your ability to communicate science to prospective employers, journalists, and wider public 
  • demonstrate to employers or graduate programs your expertise in science communication

NSC Learning Outcomes

Through their NSC coursework, students will learn how to:

  • Communicate to specialist audiences using precise technical language, accurate visual and diagrammatic representations of data, and appropriate disciplinary conventions
  • Employ critical thinking and intellectual rigor in developing analyses of complex issues in science, including proposing appropriate actions, solutions, or responses
  • Communicate to non-specialist audiences through minimal use of jargon, careful use of metaphors, and other rhetorical strategies to increase audience interest and understanding
  • Communicate science using a range of appropriate modes and technologies, including oral, visual, and multimedia components
  • Understand the broader societal impacts of effective scientific communication 
  • Analyze how rhetorical choices influence the way science is communicated and understood across genres, contexts, and audiences
  • Reflect on the range and effectiveness of varied communicative strategies for conveying scientific information and crafting persuasive and accessible arguments about science
  • Reflect on how ePortfolios provide opportunities for crafting a professional identity as a scientist and communicating work to both institutional and industry audiences

Students will demonstrate mastery of these skills through their ePortfolios. The ePortfolio evaluation committee will use these learning outcomes as part of the criteria for assessing portfolios to determine if a student has earned a notation.


Questions? Reach out to the NSC team ( for more information.