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Notation in Science Communication Courses

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NSC students are required to take the following science communication courses as part of their Notation:

  • PWR 91NSC: Introduction to Science Communication (4 units)
  • PWR Elective Course in Science Communication (PWR 91 or PWR 194, 3-4 units)
  • Non-PWR Elective Course with a significant science communication component (3-5 units)

In addition to these science communication courses, all Notation students are required to take the Portfolio Preparation courses (99A and 99B).

PWR 91NSC: Introduction to Science Communication

PWR 91NSC is open to all students but also serves as the required gateway courses for students in the Notation in Science Communication. This class is offered one to two times per year, typically in fall and winter quarters.

PWR 91NSC Course description and schedules

PWR Elective Courses in Science Communication

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

2023-2024 Course Information

Non-PWR Elective Courses in Science Communication

Choosing a Non-PWR Elective

NSC students are responsible for choosing a non-PWR elective course that supports their learning goals within the program.

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

  • 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)
  • have a focus on science communication
  • provide students the opportunity to produce an artifact they can include in their ePortfolio (i.e. written paper, oral presentation, multimedia project)
  • Not count as the student’s primary WIM course. However, students may count the course towards other requirements for their major.

Students record their choice of elective course by emailing the NSC Team ( after consultation with their NSC PWR Advisor.

Sample Non-PWR Elective courses

Below are sample courses that could qualify as non-PWR elective courses; see ExploreCourses for full descriptions. Students must email with their choice of 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

  • 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)
  • EMED123N: Does Social Media Make Better Physicians?
  • ENGLISH 157/BIOHOPK 157H/BIOHOPK 257H: Creative Writing and Science: The Artful Interpreter
  • ENGR 102W: Writing for Engineers​
  • ENGR 103: Public Speaking
  • ENGR 110/ENGR210: Perspectives in Assistive Technology (when taken for the 3 credit team project option)
  • 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
  • HUMBIO 128U/DESIGN 261/SUSTAIN 128: Upstreaming Health
  • ME 219: The Magic of Materials and Manufacturing
  • PUBLPOL 306: Writing and Rhetoric for Policy Audiences

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