Our MSc in Science Communication combines professional practice, policy studies and cross-disciplinary theory and skills, to offer an academically stimulating experience and a solid grounding for a career.
Developed by academic staff from The University of Manchester's Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine and Manchester Institute of Innovation Research , the programme will feature masterclasses and project support from leading professionals in print, broadcast and online journalism, museums and science centres, public policy and advocacy, specialist public relations and editorial services, project and event management, together with experienced science communicators from across the University.
Science communication deals with the communication of scientific ideas, practices and issues to diverse audiences. Students on this programme will spend time building up practical communication skills, and thinking about the broad range of challenges that science communicators face. Does science communication matter for society? Whose interests are furthered by science news? What are the ethical issues in the communication of health research? When we talk about public engagement, what kind of public do we mean?
The course considers these questions among others through insights drawn from history, innovation and policy research, media studies, and the first-hand experience of long-serving communicators, and feeds the discussion back into its approach to practical skills.
This programme provides a framework that enables to students to enhance their academic and 'real world' learning at the same time. By bringing practitioners into the classroom, and enabling students to participate in the many forms of science communication that are happening in Manchester, students gain a good sense of the range of science communication activity, and of the personal, intellectual and professional skills that will support them as they set off in their careers.
Applicants may informally request from the Course Director, or may be sent, examples of study materials to enable them to test their ability to engage effectively with the course.
Teaching and learning
Teaching includes a mixture of lectures, small-group seminars, discussions and practical exercises. Activities will be included in the taught elements, for individual students and for groups. Students will engage with primary and secondary academic literatures, with professional literatures, and with mass media products about science, technology and medicine. Students will learn at special sites of science communication, such as museums, media institutions, and public events. Participation and volunteering will be encouraged so that students can further their own interests alongside the taught curriculum. All students will meet regularly with a mentor from the Centre's PhD community, with a designated personal tutor from among the staff, and, from Semester 2, a dissertation supervisor.
Coursework and assessment
All modules are assessed by academic and practical tasks set in parallel. Students should expect assessments, which are written and spoken, and use a format appropriate to the relevant professional group or medium.
Students may choose their own topic or medium for the many of the assessments. There is a small taught element which is assessed through a formal exam. Assessed work also includes a project created under the supervision of a science communication professional.
The final assessment piece is a substantial piece of original research (the dissertation).
This programme is intended for students interested in science, technology, medicine, mathematics or engineering who are seeking to work in journalism, science policy, science publishing, medical, environmental and other related campaigning and advocacy groups, public relations in the public and private sectors, museums and science centres, science festivals, or other public engagement fields. It also provides an appropriate grounding for PhD-level research in science communication studies.
Past MSc graduates who took our former science communication pathway in History of Science, Technology and Medicine have gone on to a wide range of relevant posts, including:
-Public Engagement Officer, Centre for Life, Newcastle
-Senior Policy Analyst, Department of Energy and Climate Change
-Director, Scientia Scripta (science-focused copywriting agency)
-Assistant Curator of Technology and Engineering, Science Museum
-Education Assistant, Catalyst Science Centre, Widnes
-Junior Consultant, Six Degrees PR
-Technical Author, Calrec Audio
-Researcher, Pioneer Productions (TV)