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Introduction - The modern knowledge societies advocate access to scientific and technological knowledge as a social right and as a duty and commitment to scientists, and research institutions. In Brazil the scientific production is mostly realized in graduate programs. Objective - To analyze the conceptions that coordinators of graduate programs in public health in Brazil have about the public communication of science. Method - This is an analytical-exploratory research with qualitative and quantitative measurements. Fifty-one coordinators answered a fill form. The collected data were interpreted from the perspective of Content Analysis. The data were processed by the software Classification HiÃ©rarchique Classificatoire et CohÃ©sitive (CHICÂ®), resulting in degrees of greater or lesser similarity and implication. Results - The conception of the coordinators has a major similarity, in understanding the public communication of science as a communication aimed to specific groups and public institutions (0.99), as academic and communication actions planned (0.91), as scientific communication and scientific events (0.87) and as a translation committed to managers (0.83), and a minor similarity, understood as methodology oriented to a popular communication (0.83) and as communication directed to the expanded society (0.78). The implication graph points to the conception of public communication of science as academic and scientific communication, with reliable indices ranging from 0.89 to 0.98 and as communication expanded society-oriented with reliable degree ranging from 0.72 and 0.96. Conclusion - The understanding of public communication of science as a compromise and as a right is incipient. The public commmunication of science is still largely seen as scientific communication aimed to the academic community or as communication of results directed to managers and public institutions.