Online Course

Advanced Science Writing

April 11 - June 19, 2022

Level Advanced

If you are ready to move beyond character, scene, and setting in your science writing, this is the class for you.

Additional Information

Whether you write about environmental issues, health and medical topics, tech, or other science-related topics, this workshop will help you take your work to the next level. We will take a deep dive into the structure and narrative arcs of writing excellent science essays and address ethics, revision, and marketing your work in this class intended for students with experience writing short or long-form narrative nonfiction.


Course Schedule

Week 1: The long & short of science writing

Short news stories and blog posts for major journals are a great way to build your platform and demonstrate to future editors that you can engage readers. In week one we will practice the art of distillation and write a teaser piece for a full-length essay.

Week 2: Finding your beat

Writing about science invariably means searching for and talking to scientists. This week we will talk about the tools and craft of interviewing subjects and will look at different options for finding information about current or historic research.

Week 3: The longform essay

This week we dive into what makes full-length narrative and research driven essays about science sing. We will discuss the reach and impact of this kind of work, and the range of journals, websites, and publishers who are are interested in featuring it. You will share your working idea for input and encouragement, or brainstorm with peers on a new idea for the essay you will write over the rest of the workshop.

Week 4: Where to begin & when to end

In scientific research, the narrative “arc” can be obscured by inconclusive results, long-term studies, or uncontrollable variables. We will discuss how structural and organizing principles can turn a pile of research and interview notes into a satisfying and informative story. This week you will develop an outline for your longform essay and will have the chance to get instructor and peer feedback.

Week 5: Ethics, logistics, and reconstructions, oh my!

Often when writing about the research or discoveries of others, you will have to navigate between knowing and speculating about what happened. But when does reconstructing a scene become fictionalizing a scene? This week we will discuss ethical approaches to conjecture and how to keep work factual and engaging.

Week 6: Showing and telling science

How much quantum physics is too much for non-experts? How can you explain plate tectonics or trophic cascades so that readers are hooked on the science, rather than overwhelmed? This week’s readings will offer different models of exposition styles, and peer review will give you a chance to check in with readers.

Week 7: Organizing for action

The best science writing balances action and exposition artfully. We will work this week on techniques for organizing your writing so that action moves the story forward while backstory and explanation raise the stakes for readers. This week you will submit a draft of your essay of up to 3,000 words for instructor and peer feedback.

Week 8: Revision

Revision, both structural and at the sentence level, can turn a good piece of writing into a great one. This week you will learn several strategies for revision and practice them on writing submitted earlier in the workshop.

Week 9: Pitch it!

The next step is finding your readers. We will look at a variety of outlets–online and print–that publish science- and research-driven writing. We will talk about how to craft strong pitches and query letters and practice both.

Week 10: Working with editors and fact checkers

Once your essay is accepted for publication, the next step is often fact-checking and editor-requested revisions. For our final week of class, we will share experiences with pre-publication requests, talk through how to streamline the fact-checking process, and brainstorm ways to promote your work on social media once it is published.

View Complete Syllabus

Course Instructor

Course Registration


Out of stock

Become a Supporting Subscriber today and get up to 10% off your purchase.

Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories


I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill