As science communications have grown increasingly complex and convoluted, the world needs individuals who can communicate science, medicine and health concepts effectively and accurately in ways audiences can understand.
The UBC Certificate in Biomedical Visualization and Communication is a new integrated skills program that sits at the intersection of art, science and communication. It’s a one-of-a-kind program that blends scientific knowledge, critical thinking, co-creativity, teamwork, and communication skills built on empathy and active listening.
Begin with a foundational course in biomedical communication in which you learn how to communicate concepts clearly and effectively. Next, learn approaches to co-creativity, including design thinking, art fundamentals, improvisation, prototyping, visual maps and user testing. Increase your science literacy and gain a common medical language with a comprehensive introduction to anatomy, physiology and biomedical vocabulary. Complete the program with a team-based capstone project with a client in which you apply all that you’ve learned.
A unique aspect of the curriculum is a focus on diversity and inclusivity in biomedical communications. Throughout the program, you learn how to recognize and address the needs of diverse communities, including Indigenous, racialized and other groups that face barriers to healthcare information.
The program is tailored to meet the needs of students with diverse backgrounds, and fosters and encourages peer-to-peer learning. The 100% online format is designed to attract a wide community of learners who are partnered in cohorts that reflect real-life teams.
You’ll complete the program prepared to work confidently and creatively on a cross-functional team to create engaging and informative biomedical communications for healthcare clients.
- 2022 Program Dates: January 10 - December 9, 2022
- Applications Open: Sept 1, 2021
- Application Deadline: Oct 31, 2021
- Format: 100% online
- Curriculum: Four 12-week courses + final project, offered over 3 terms
- Schedule: Part-time, 180 hours of online learning
- Cost: $11,000
- 2022 Term Dates:
- Term 1: January 10 – April 8, 2022
- Term 2: May 2 – July 29, 2022
- Term 3: September 12 – December 9, 2022
The program is a collaboration between the UBC Faculty of Medicine Hackspace for Innovation and Visualization in Education (HIVE) and the Centre for Digital Media. The capstone projects during which students work on a team with a client are expected to spark discovery and act as an incubator for visual solutions that serve healthcare, education and the public.
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The program’s curriculum provides you a unique skill set that combines scientific knowledge and critical thinking, creative approaches to design, and teamwork and communication. You’ll complete the program ready to contribute confidently and creatively to biomedical communications projects for healthcare clients, in any variety of roles or capacities.
Our curriculum is built in part on the lived experiences collaborating with teams at the Centre for Digital Media and at the HIVE (Hackspace for Innovation and Visualization in Education). Multidisciplinary teams, made up of different roles and talents, can yield creative and engaging ideas and effective biomedical communication solutions if team members speak the same medical language, and have the listening, visualization and science literacy skills to engage with one another.
Scientific knowledge and critical thinking
- Understand the basic structures and functions of the human body
- Gain foundational skills to research, source materials and disseminate medical information
- Use medical language comfortably and confidently, and increase your science literacy
- Recognize and apply the values of diversity and inclusion to biomedical communications
Teamwork and communication
- Practise communication techniques that build trust and understanding on teams, with clients and with audiences
- Advocate for diversity and inclusion to create anti-racist, anti-oppressive, accessible and human-centered communications
- Hone your skills in empathetic listening and responding
- Discover how to frame problems and gather different perspectives
- Form collaborative habits to improve communication, listening and adaptability
- Communicate rationale for solutions
- Learn how to pitch and secure a successful project
- Understand collaborative processes teams use such as Agile sprints and scrums
Creative approaches to design
- Understand the essential tools needed to communicate with diverse audiences
- Practise the visual modalities used for problem solving in biomedical communications
- Develop strategies to make information relevant and memorable
- Develop a personal and effective communication style
- Practise improvisation skills to spark creativity
- Explain human-centered design methodology
- Use prototyping, visual maps and user testing to guide a project
- Understand and apply user experience principles to design products and services
Is this the right program for you?
This part-time certificate gives you a broad set of practical interpersonal, creativity, science, research and communication skills specific to the science communication field.
It’s designed to prepare you to work in any number of roles in biomedical communications, depending on your experience and education. While our students are expected to come from a variety of backgrounds, what we are looking for is a passion for clear communication, an appreciation for creativity and design, and a desire to help people learn and understand.
|If you’re a:||You may already have skills in:||You will gain skills in:||So you can:|
Just some of the companies and industries that are looking for these skills include:
- advertising and digital agencies specializing in medical and pharmaceutical clients
- animation studios
- health gaming
- mobile applications development
- patient education
- publishing (e.g. textbooks, journals, ebooks)
- biomedical technology start-ups
Are you interested in becoming a certified medical illustrator?
The UBC Certificate in Biomedical Visualization is not an accredited medical illustrator graduate program. Accredited programs are rigorous and competitive two-year full-time master’s degrees, and typically require an undergraduate degree, a portfolio, a letter of intent, references and your transcript(s).
The UBC Certificate in Biomedical Visualization and Communication is a one-year, part-time 100% online program. You take two courses in each of terms 1 and 2, and participate in a team-based capstone project in term 3.
You progress through the courses in sequence with a single group of peers (a cohort). The cohort model with no more than 35 students promotes peer-to-peer learning, and offers you an opportunity to grow, learn and build relationships with a consistent group of people throughout the program. For the capstone project, you’re placed on a real-life team in which you apply all of the communication and teamwork skills you’ve learned in your courses.
Modular Online Learning
The four core courses are made up of online learning modules, released weekly, that combine online lectures, readings, videos, multimedia materials, exercises, assignments and quizzes. One course includes 3D and virtual labs.
While you progress through each course on your own time, you’ll be expected to complete each module every week before moving on to the next. You will also need to log on at various times for virtual sessions and to collaborate with your classmates.
In term 3, you participate in a team capstone project with a client from the community. You can expect to participate in daily working group sessions and scrums, and a weekly video check-in with your instructor. Projects are presented at the end of the term.
Program Hours and Expectations
In both terms 1 and 2, you should set aside a minimum of 4–5 hours per course, per week to complete all online learning requirements, exercises, quizzes and assignments.
Assessment and Grading
Courses are graded as pass/fail. The work you hand in is assessed using rubrics, and some work might be evaluated by your peers. You’re also assessed on participation. Deliverables might include:
- lab assignments (individual and group work)
- sketchbook and discussion board reflections (individual)
- biomedical visualizations (individual).
You will be provided with a version of Adobe® Creative Suite if you do not own an edition. Please visit Adobe Creative Cloud for system requirements to run Adobe applications.
Your program fees include professional art supplies, including notebooks, pigments, watercolour paints and pencils.
The program is offered over three terms, each approximately 13 weeks in length, including breaks. You take two courses in terms 1 and 2. The capstone project course is offered in term 3.
All courses are 100% online, and include live lectures, recorded material, videos, exercises and assignments. You can expect to spend four hours or more per week per course completing the modules and assignments, reflecting on your learning, visual journalling and reflection, and participating in online group discussions. Each weekly module must be completed in full before progressing to the next module.
The comprehensive Final Project brings together a multidisciplinary team of students to create a design proposal and prototype for a client with a biomedical communication need.
This capstone course offers you an opportunity to apply all of your learning from the previous courses, and bring your unique talents, experience and perspective to the team. You not only come away with a portfolio-worthy example of your work, you gain hands-on industry experience in a realistic client scenario.
|Jan 10 – April 8, 2022||Foundations in Biomedical Visualization - Seeing, Listening, Communicating||More|
|Jan 10 – April 8, 2022||Managing Creativity||More|
|May 2 – Jul 29, 2022||Foundations of Human Structure and Function||More|
|May 2 – Jul 29, 2022||User Experience Design (UX)||More|
|Sep 12 – Dec 9, 2022||Final Group Project||More|
Our instructors include specialists, educators and pioneers in biomedical visualization and communication, interactive and human-centered design, journalism, and graphic and visual arts. All hold master’s degrees or higher, and are experienced in adult education.
The total program fee is $11,000. The fee Includes all courses, Adobe® software and professional art supplies.
|Application fee (non-refundable)||Upon applying||$100|
|Deposit (non-refundable)||Following acceptance into the program
(secures your spot and pays for materials)
|Instalment 1||November 30, 2021||$5,000|
|Instalment 2||April 15, 2022||$5,000|
All fees are in Canadian dollars and are subject to change. Fees can be paid by Visa®, Mastercard®, cash, money order or certified cheque.
Applications Open: Sept 1, 2021 and application deadline for the January 2022 program is October 31, 2021.
Before Applying to The Program
Please read and understand the program handbook. The handbook contains detailed information about the program curriculum as well as important policies, terms and conditions that you should understand.
Before applying to the program, we would be happy to discuss your eligibility, prior experience and the relevance of the program to your goals. Please contact us by email or phone.
The program is open to applicants of all nationalities, regardless of residency or citizenship status in Canada. We recommend applicants who live outside of Canada live in a time zone in which they can ensure they can join live online discussions and video chats to facilitate group work.
To accommodate learners from a variety of backgrounds, admission requirements for the UBC Certificate in Biomedical Visualization and Communication are broad. You must:
- have a minimum of two years post-secondary education
- be motivated to enrol in this program by relevant professional or personal experience or interest.
Your online application must include:
- A letter of intent (maximum 500 words): You should outline your motivation and interests for pursuing the program, your current experience, what you feel you will gain from the program, what strengths you bring and how the program contributes to your future personal and/or professional goals.
- A copy (official or unofficial) of your diploma, degree or certificate.
To ensure you can participate fully in the program, you’ll need to read, write and speak comfortably in English. While you don’t need to prove English language proficiency, we recommend an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based score of 80, or equivalent.
When You Apply
When you submit your application and pay the application fee, you will receive an email within five business days to confirm we’ve received your application and that it’s complete. If you're accepted into the program, you’re required to pay the non-refundable deposit within 10 business days to secure a place in the program.