Scientific Communication

Communication is very important for a career in science. Scientists must be able to communicate their discoveries in journal articles and in poster presentations. Oral communication is not only important to discuss your results with other students and your research advisor but also to present your research results at national and international conferences. Reading and understanding what other scientists have written and using this information to advance your own research is extremely important.

The Microbial Biology Graduate Program core courses require extensive writing of proposals and/or reports and reading, understanding, and discussion of journal articles. The Microbial Biology Fall and Spring Seminar courses are your chance to gain experience in listening and learning what other students and faculty are doing in their research and in presenting your own scientific findings.

There are many software tools available to help you prepare proposals, reports, and presentations. Many of these software tools are available for free or at minimal cost from the Rutgers Software Store. Obviously the most important is the Microsoft Office Suite. Also important is ChemBioDraw (free) for drawing chemical figures, metabolic pathways, and biological molecules. Very, very, very important is EndNote to collect and organize published papers and to insert citations into your papers, making bibliographies easy to compile. A cloud-based version of EndNote is available for free ( and the Windows/Mac version can be downloaded for free from the Rutgers Software Store. There are many videos on YouTube for EndNote training. The Rutgers Library subscribes to many scientific journals allowing electronic access from within the Rutgers network or from home. Databases to find relevant journal articles are PubMed and Web of Science. References can be downloaded directly from these databases into EndNote. Desktop and laptop computers can be purchased at a discount from the Rutgers Hardware Store (click PC Purchase Cycle for the best deals).

Please keep in mind that journal articles, books, and other documents are to help give you ideas and background information for a writing assignment. Do not copy other people's writing (or figures) into your own work without giving proper credit to the original writers (use quotation marks when copying from a source). Please read the Rutgers Academic Integrity document for graduate students. Plagiarism of other work will be detected (see and may result in failure of a course and/or expulsion. The Rutgers Graduate School has rescinded Ph.D. degrees from former graduates when it was determined that parts of their thesis were copied from other people's work. All of your writing should reflect your own originality and thinking rather than copying or even paraphrasing what others have written.

There are many venues and courses available to help with improving scientific communication skills. Foreign students can take PALS courses at any time during their graduate education (credits do not count toward the degree).

In addition these zero credit free Graduate Writing Program courses may be taken as Microbial Biology electives: 16:355:500 Prose Style
16:355:502 Graduate Writing
16:355:504 Writing Grants and Proposals
16:355:506 Writing for Publication
16:355:508 Writing the Dissertation