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Science communicators play a vital role in society. They share significant research findings with the world through the media, they run incredible events to inspire the public, and they help individuals get the advice and information they need in healthcare, technology and many other contexts. Our MSc Science Communication is designed to give talented science graduates the extra skills they need to inform, educate and entertain people without the same specialist knowledge.

The course is based in the University of Sheffield's Faculty of Science – one of the largest science faculties in the UK, with world-class expertise across biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology. It is taught in partnership with Sheffield's Department of Journalism Studies, which is widely considered one of the UK's top journalism schools. This collaboration was created to give you expert insights into how scientists communicate their research, and how the media industry informs the public about the latest scientific developments.

Course structure

This course is designed to develop your science communication skills through a combination academic study and practical training. Throughout your course, you will have the opportunity to produce a portfolio of high quality science communication work, spanning science journalism, public engagement activities, and event organisation. This can give you a range of project and practical experience to include on your CV, as you consider the relationship between science, the media, and the wider public, and the role that science communication plays in society.

Sheffield's science communication scene

Training sessions can cover writing skills, how to record and edit packages for film and television, graphic design and event management. Regular small group tutorials give you the time to debate and discuss topics, and practice key communication skills. Your final project dissertation can be based around a print, broadcast or digital portfolio, an event you've organised or a work placement you've completed. Previous students have based their dissertation around work they've completed at organisations ranging from Magna Science Adventure Centre here in South Yorkshire to the CERN research institute in Switzerland.

Teaching is led by expert scientists who have lots of experience of sharing their work with the public, and professional journalists with backgrounds in print, broadcast and online journalism, from Fleet Street to the BBC. You'll be able to gain first-hand insights from industry professionals through our course seminar series – past speakers have included staff from national newspapers, film production companies, and the BBC. You'll also meet regularly with your designated personal tutor and your project dissertation supervisor.

Current modules - all students will study:

Full academic year:

  • Developing Communication Skills (15 credits): develop the skills required for an online-focussed fast-paced social-media world including audio and online publishing production and editing skills.
  • Language and Communication: A Data-driven Approach (15 credits): this module will introduce you to large text archives which have become the main source of data across a range of disciplines.
  • Project Dissertation (60 credits): students complete their dissertation within a choice of three pathways: critical analysis of the literature, developing experimental methods to test a hypothesis, or a practice based approach (which may include an optional work-placement).

Semester one:

  • Research Methods (15 credits): get an overview of key research methods, and the different ways in which research can be conducted.
  • Ethics and Regulation (15 credits): study ethics with particular reference to British media as well as an exploration of media ethics from a historical and international perspective, and the moral responsibilities of all journalists.
  • Topical Science (30 credits): a series of short lectures on important topics in contemporary science spanning the general areas of science in chemistry, physics and biology.

Semester two:

  • Public Engagement (15 credits): plan, organise and deliver a public event/Festival in Science.
  • Communicating with the Media (15 credits): topics covered include the development of communication strategies, the understanding of news values and news cycles, and strategies for successful and ethical communication.

Learning, teaching and assessment

You'll be taught through a mixture of tutorials, workshops, practical exercises and lectures, and by producing written assignments, spoken presentations, print materials and digital content. 

After your degree

Through practical training and opportunities to get involved in science journalism, public engagement and event organisation throughout your degree, MSc Science Communication graduates will be in a great position to pursue exciting jobs across science, technology and the media.

Previous graduates are now working in press offices, newsrooms, research Institutes and charities at organisations including the Wellcome Trust, the NHS and the National Institute for Genomic Medicine.

Meet our graduates.

Funding and scholarships

Funding is available, depending on your fee status, where you live and the course you plan to study. You could also qualify for a repayable postgraduate masters loan to help fund your studies.

Find out more.

How to apply

To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

Online application form

Early applications are encouraged. Any applications received after all places have been filled will be deferred for entry the following year.

Visit the MSc Science Communication page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!






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