M.A., Science Concentration

Cultivate ways of thinking that are essential to covering any scientific field.

Interpret studies, unearth important details, place scientific developments in context - and make science come alive. 

What You'll Study

Students focus on the themes and ways of thinking that can be used to cover any scientific field, whether it’s health, technology or the hard sciences. They examine several disciplines up close – including, physics, climate science and ecology in the fall, and evolution, genetics and medicine in the spring. Students also get a landscape view, looking at history, patterns of discovery and innovation. The seminar emphasizes understanding the culture and practice of science, giving students the skills to interpret a peer‐reviewed study as well as a clear‐eyed view of the peer‐review process. It places particular emphasis on writing creatively and compellingly, whether in a short news story or in a long piece of narrative nonfiction. Many of our most successful students come to the program without prior academic or professional exposure to the sciences; deep curiosity is far more important.

Recent guest lecturers have included physicist Imre Bartos, who worked on the gravitational wave discovery; paleoclimatologist Gisela Winckler; historian of science Daniel Kevles; and sociologist Alondra Nelson, dean of social sciences at Columbia.


Student Work

Shayla Love '16 M.A., Science Concentration, published her thesis about the Cultural Revolution and inherited trauma. 


Read her thesis in Mosaic.

Livia Albeck-Ripka, M.A. Science '17, published part of her thesis in The New York Times. Her story looks at the effects that climate change has on the mental health of an indigenous community in Rigolet, a town near Canada's eastern edge.

Why Lost Ice Means Lost Hope for an Inuit Village