Science and Agricultural Journalism

Sharon Wood-Turley, Program Chair
112 Gentry Hall
(573) 882-7645
Fax: (573) 884-4444
swt@missouri.edu

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, in cooperation with the Missouri School of Journalism, offers a degree program in Science and Agricultural Journalism. This curriculum prepares students to communicate about issues related to science and agriculture, including: the food system (including everything from traditional production agriculture to grape and wine production), natural resources, the life sciences, the environment, and medical and agricultural biotechnology.

Graduates are prepared to enter a wide variety of media professions including: public relations, marketing, multimedia/web production, photography, magazine writing, reporting and broadcast.

Students must meet all GPA requirements of the Missouri School of Journalism. Check with your advisor for details. The department offers the Bachelor of Science with a major in Science and Agricultural Journalism.

Assistant Teaching Professor W. Allen*, S. Wood-Turley*
Instructor L. Sowers, N. Furstenau

Major Program Requirements and Options in Science and Agricultural Journalism

When you major in science and agricultural journalism, you gain access to the strengths of two nationally renowned programs: the Missouri School of Journalism and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Students combine courses in a subject area related to agriculture and the food system with a specialization in a specific medium/communications focus in the School of Journalism.

The Science and Agricultural Journalism Program provides you with five subject matter tracks to select from:
(Note: Tracks do not appear on transcripts or diplomas.)

  • Agricultural Marketing
  • Agricultural Science
  • Conservation and Environmental Sciences
  • Food and Wine
  • Science

In addition, you can focus on one of the following media emphasis areas in the Journalism School, or select courses from a combination of:

  • Convergence Journalism (a combination of media skills)
  • Magazine Journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Print and Digital News
  • Radio-Television Journalism
  • Strategic Communications (Advertising and Public Relations)

Agricultural Marketing Track

The Agricultural Marketing Track prepares students for careers in the agribusiness, government and other sectors where the specialized skills of writing, multimedia, marketing and strategic communications are in high demand. This track includes courses within the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources in the Ag Marketing System, Ag Sales, Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship, New Products Marketing, International Food Trade and Policy, Agribusiness Finance and Agribusiness Management Strategy.

Agricultural Science Track

The Agricultural Science Track prepares students for careers in the news media, agricultural industry, government and other sectors where an in-depth knowledge of plant, animal and food science is in high demand along with specialized skills in writing, multimedia and other forms of communication. This track includes courses within the college of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources in Plant Growth and Culture; Genetics of Ag Plants and Animals; Animal Science; Global Animal Agriculture; Food Science and Nutrition; Meat Classification, Grading and Judging; Elements of Food Microbiology; and Principles of Meat Science.

Conservation and Environmental Sciences Track

The Conservation and Environmental Sciences Track prepares students for careers writing about the environment, energy, conservation and nature. From climate change, endangered species and clean water to wildlife, forestry and outdoor activities - students in this track will gain an understanding of the complex issues on these beats and the complex job of communicating about them. This track includes a specialized course in Field Reporting and can include a trip to the annual national meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists, a non-advocacy group. Other courses within the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources in this track include Introduction to Environmental Science, Ecology and Renewable Resource Management; Introduction to Meteorology; Climates of the World; Soils and the Environment; Environmental Economics and Policy; and Water Quality and Natural Resources Management.

Food and Wine Track

Interest in food and wine is growing among consumers and the news media industry. Also, dairy, meat and wine are major industries in Missouri. This track prepares students for journalism and strategic communications careers in this increasingly important sector. The Food and Wine Track includes a specialized course in covering food and wine. Other courses within the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources in this track include Introduction to Food Science, Elements of Food Microbiology, Introduction to Viticulture (grape production) and Enology (wine production), Grapes and Wines of the World, Principles of Wine Production and Principles of Wine Cellar Operation.

Science Track

The Science Journalism Track prepares students for careers covering news and information on the frontiers of science - from biotechnology and nanotechnology to astronomy, climate, geology and the human brain. Students in this track will gain an understanding of the scientific, social, political and economic forces that shape the world of science and technology today, a world that increasingly affects the way we live and learn. This track includes such courses as Explaining Research; Earth Systems and Global Change; Introduction to Meteorology; Physics for Poets; Mind, Brain and Behavior; Science, Technology and Society; and Readings in Science Journalism. This track will enable excellent preparation for students in both journalism and strategic communications.

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While the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources does not offer a graduate degree in science and agricultural journalism, the College does offer graduate degrees and certificates in a number of disciplinary areas. The catalog provides a complete list of these degree options at the University of Missouri, including the School of Journalism.  

SCI_AG_J 1160: Introduction to Science and Agricultural Journalism

Introduction to journalistic writing for print, broadcast, Web. Introduction to writing for public relations. Also includes writing for live Web publication: cafnrcornerpost.com. Provides overview of career opportunities.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: instructor's consent


SCI_AG_J 2150: Problems in Science and Agricultural Journalism

For undergraduates majoring in science and agricultural journalism. May be repeated.

Credit Hour: 1-6
Prerequisites: instructor's consent


SCI_AG_J 2210: Communicating Science to the Public

For science majors. Introduction to the history, theory and practice of communicating science to the general public. Emphasis on the interplay of science, human values and politics; also, the art and craft of writing and talking to lay audiences. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: ENGLSH 1000 and a declared major in a science or engineering field or instructor's consent


SCI_AG_J 2940: Internships in Science and Agricultural Journalism

May be repeated for credit.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: instructor's consent


SCI_AG_J 3201: Topics in Science and Agricultural Journalism

Instruction in select subject matter areas in the field of communications.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: instructor's consent


SCI_AG_J 3210: Fundamentals of Communications

Instruction in writing about conflicts in agriculture and the environment and their cultural impacts. Emphasis on media literacy, critical thinking, communication and the interplay of science and human values.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: ENGLSH 1000 and sophomore standing


SCI_AG_J 3210W: Fundamentals of Communications - Writing Intensive

Instruction in writing about conflicts in agriculture and the environment and their cultural impacts. Emphasis on media literacy, critical thinking, communication and the interplay of science and human values.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: ENGLSH 1000 and sophomore standing


SCI_AG_J 3240: Communicating on the Web

Learn to make a useful, content-driven web site using web authoring software (this is not a programming class). This course emphasizes informative content and functional design.

Credit Hours: 3


SCI_AG_J 3385: Problems in Science and Agricultural Journalism

Opportunity to apply journalism skills to agricultural subjects; opportunity to integrate communication processes within single medium or across media. Section 1: Corner Post Staff, Section 2: Problems in Science and Agricultural Journalism. May be repeated for up to 9 credit hours.

Credit Hour: 1-4
Prerequisites: instructor's consent


SCI_AG_J 4301: Topics in Science and Agricultural Journalism

Instruction in select subject matter areas in the field of communications. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 and Junior standing


SCI_AG_J 4301H: Topics in Science and Agricultural Journalism-Honors

Instruction in select subject matter areas in the field of communications. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 and Junior standing; Honors Eligibility required


SCI_AG_J 4301HW: Topics in Science and Agricultural Journalism - Honors/Writing Intensive

Instruction in select subject matter areas in the field of communications. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 and Junior standing; Honors Eligibility required


SCI_AG_J 4301W: Topics in Science and Agricultural Journalism - Writing Intensive

Instruction in select subject matter areas in the field of communications. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 and Junior standing


SCI_AG_J 4410: Readings in Science and Agricultural Journalism

An examination of modern journalistic book-length storytelling about science, the food system, environment, natural resources and society. Students will learn about the authors and how they use theory and techniques of storytelling. Students will gain a deeper knowledge about how to pursue such information-gathering and writing, as well as develop their critical-thinking abilities and expertise in the subject matter covered by the books. They will read, analyze and write about the books and the ideas and times that shaped them. Each course will examine a particular subject grouping of books, for example several on farming, or on conservation, or on climate change.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: English 1000


SCI_AG_J 4414: Field Reporting on the Food System and Environment

(Same as JOURN 4414). Field reporting on the social, political, scientific, economic and ethical dimensions of the food system and environment, with emphasis on explanatory story-telling. Includes multi-day field trip. Graded A-F only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: instructor's consent


SCI_AG_J 4415: Current Issues in Science Journalism

(Same as JOURN 4415) Focuses on covering the interplay of one or more current issues of concern to journalists, scientists and society. The focus for any given semester may be biotechnology, climate change, energy, food safety, global population growth, wildlife or another issue. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: JOURN 2100 or instructor's consent


SCI_AG_J 4480: Will Write for Food (and Wine)

(same as JOURN 4480) Course focuses on food and wine writing in current U.S. culture. Come ready to create mouthwatering narrative and actively seek publishing your finished work. An emphasis will be placed on class participation and written critiques of peer-reviewed articles in class. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 or JOURN 4804. Restricted to Journalism and Science Agricultural Journalism students only


SCI_AG_J 4480W: Will Write for Food (and Wine) - Writing Intensive

(same as JOURN 4480) Course focuses on food and wine writing in current U.S. culture. Come ready to create mouthwatering narrative and actively seek publishing your finished work. An emphasis will be placed on class participation and written critiques of peer-reviewed articles in class. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: JOURN 4450 or JOURN 4804. Restricted to Journalism and Science Agricultural Journalism students only


SCI_AG_J 4482: Field Reporting: Wine Country Writing

(same as JOURN 4482). Students will examine wine culture, agricultural issues in the vineyard, wine trends, the historical context of wine and Missouri settlement, and more. Come ready to shape articles into sharp focus and make them fresh with input from fellow student critiques. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: JOURN 2100


SCI_AG_J 4482W: Field Reporting: Wine Country Writing - Writing Intensive

(same as JOURN 4482). Students will examine wine culture, agricultural issues in the vineyard, wine trends, the historical context of wine and Missouri settlement, and more. Come ready to shape articles into sharp focus and make them fresh with input from fellow student critiques. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: JOURN 2100


SCI_AG_J 4940: Internships in Science and Agricultural Journalism

May be repeated for credit.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: instructor's consent
Recommended: 60 or more credit hours completed


SCI_AG_J 4970: Agriculture and the Media Senior Seminar Capstone

Provides background, knowledge of trends and experience with agricultural media.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: instructor's consent
Recommended: Science and Agricultural Journalism seniors take last Spring semester before graduation


SCI_AG_J 7301: Topics in Science and Agricultural Journalism

Selected current topics in science and agricultural journalism. Specific topics to be announced at time of registration. Course graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hour: 1-3
Prerequisites: Instructor's consent


SCI_AG_J 7414: Field Reporting on the Food System and Environment

(same as JOURN 7414). Field reporting on the social, political, scientific, economic and ethical dimensions of the food system and environment, with emphasis on explanatory story-telling. Includes multi-day filed trip. Graded on A-F basis only.

Credit Hours: 3
Prerequisites: instructor's consent