Special Academic Initiative: Science and Nature Writing

Science and Nature Writing at Kenyon empowers students to become skilled storytellers who effectively communicate about complex topics in science, nature and technology to general audiences. In this interdisciplinary initiative, students write artfully, creatively and with precision about the natural world.   

Science and Nature Writing cultivates a vibrant literary science community and situates scientific knowledge and its discovery within disciplines across the college. In Science and Nature Writing courses, students explore genres ranging from ecopoetry and creative non-fiction to popular science writing and biomedical narrative. Working closely with faculty and each other, Kenyon students learn to communicate the narratives that underpin STEM research and enrich the stories they tell with scientific detail.

In the Science and Nature Writing initiative, we interpret “science,” “nature” and “writing” broadly, responding to the interests and ambitions of participating faculty, staff and students. This approach leads us to the following description of SNW at Kenyon that welcomes a diversity of approaches. Science and Nature Writing as taught and practiced at Kenyon:

  • Reaches a wide audience, including engaged general readers.
  • Manifests graceful, even literary language, while at the same time being precise and clear.
  • Finds opportunity in the tension between accuracy and creativity.
  • Embraces many forms and genres, from poetry and science fiction to creative nonfiction and journalism.
  • Extends beyond the written text to include visual and auditory media.
  • Integrates scientific knowledge and its discovery with disciplines across the college.
  • Connects human and scientific narratives, enriching both and breaking down false boundaries between them.
  • Surprises, delights, informs and persuades readers.
  • Seeks general insights that extend beyond a specific topic.


Core Courses

  • ENGL 206: Introduction to Science and Nature Writing
  • ENGL 391: Intermdeicate Science and Nature Writing

Additional Courses

  • ANTH 150: Science and Pseudoscience
  • ANTH 323: Bioarchaeology of Africa
  • ANTH 421: Neanderthals
  • BIOL 241: Evolution
  • BIOL 243: Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 247: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • BIOL 261: Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 391: Ornithology
  • CHEM 110: Environmental Chemistry
  • ENGL 103: Science, Fiction and Science Fiction
  • ENGL 103: Waste Lands
  • ENGL 103: Denaturing "Nature"
  • ENGL 103: Health and Healing
  • ENGL 267: Literature, Medicine, and Culture
  • ENGL 265: Plant Poetics
  • ENGL 268: Climate Emergencies
  • ENGL 379: Environmental Regionalism (Literatures of the Mississippi River Valley)
  • ENVS 106: Reading the Ohio Landscape
  • ENVS 231: Earth Systems Science
  • ENVS 342: Disease Ecology
  • HIST 238: The Scientific Revolution and the European Enlightenment
  • INDS 291: ST: Science and Nature Fiction Writing
  • MATH 128: History of Mathematics in the Islamic World
  • NEUR 471: Current Topics in Neuroscience
  • PHIL 245: Philosophy of Natural Sciences
  • PHYS 106: Astronomy – Planets and Moons
  • PHYS 107: Astronomy – Stars and Galaxies

The specific SNW content of courses on the additional courses list may vary depending on the instructor. Students should consult with the director of the initiative for more information.