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PG Cert/ PG Dip/ MSc Science, Communication and Society

Course Description

Are you passionate about the dialogue between science and the public? Are you curious about how scientific knowledge is created and consumed in the past, present and future? Scientific change in disciplines ranging from biological and physical sciences to engineering and medicine feels like it has never been so rapid. It is increasingly important that developments in science, medicine and technology are effectively communicated so as to allow individuals to have an informed opinion on controversial issues.

*This course will be taught at the Canterbury campus*

Visit the website: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/93/science-communication-society

Course detail

The Kent MSc in Science, Communication and Society gives experienced, practical, professional and critical perspectives on science communication. Students will explore how journalists, documentary makers, lobbyists, museum curators, politicians and government research bodies enter into scientific dialogue with the public. The course evaluates different strategies for tailoring science to particular audiences, and is illustrated by specific historical examples and present day issues and controversies. It provides training in practical transferable skills pivotal to communicating science across a range of professional settings, making appropriate use traditional modes of communication alongside current and developing technologies.


It is intended primarily, though not exclusively, for the following:

• Science graduates intending to pursue a career in media, education, policy or other communicational area of science;
• Practising scientists wanting a career change into media, education, policy or other communicational area of science;
• Continuing professional development for scientists or teachers of science;
• Humanities graduates with an interest in history of science, technology or medicine.

Format and assessment

The MSc has been developed by the School of Biosciences, a leading school in teaching, research and science communication, and the School of History, which has a dedicated research centre in the History of the Sciences. It integrates current theory and practice in communicating science with insights from historical and ethical perspectives. Two core modules have a case study-driven approach to science communication, learning from key scientific moments in history and from science communicators who work in a variety of different professions (eg, media, politics, education, journalism).

Two optional modules allow you to specialise in a particular area relevant to science communication, based on your interests and experience, focusing on either practical/scientific or humanities-based approaches to the study of science communication. An extended research project allows you to take a practical approach to science communication, or to do in-depth research on a historical or contemporary episode in science.

In some cases, these projects may be undertaken in conjunction with external partners, such as Research Councils, charities and NGOs.

You can opt to take only the core modules, resulting in a postgraduate certificate, or to take the compulsory plus two optional modules, leading to a postgraduate diploma.

Continuous assessment throughout the year is diverse, innovative and context-driven, from short pieces of writing to longer essays, and from the development and evaluation of science communication activities to mock professional reports and grant applications. The aim of each assessment is not only to monitor understanding, but also to integrate information across modules and give you practical experience in a range of transferable skills for future employability.


The opportunities for careers in science communication are significant as professional science organisations recognise the increasing importance of public engagement. Graduates of this MSc bring together skills drawn from both sciences and humanities, and the programme is designed to build a portfolio of outputs that can be used in subsequent applications, including blogs, funding applications and the development of specific science communication events. Graduates from the programme have moved into roles in museums, medical writing agencies, research funding councils, public engagement roles in professional science organisations, as well as PhD positions in science communication.

How to apply: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply-online/93

Why study at The University of Kent?

- Shortlisted for University of the Year 2015
- Kent has been ranked fifth out of 120 UK universities in a mock Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) exercise modelled by Times Higher Education (THE).
- In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Kent was ranked 17th* for research output and research intensity, in the Times Higher Education, outperforming 11 of the 24 Russell Group universities
- Over 96% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2014 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.
Find out more: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/why/

Postgraduate scholarships and funding

We have a scholarship fund of over £9 million to support our taught and research students with their tuition fees and living costs. Find out more: https://www.kent.ac.uk/scholarships/postgraduate/

English language learning

If you need to improve your English before and during your postgraduate studies, Kent offers a range of modules and programmes in English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Find out more here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/international/english.html

Visit the PG Cert/ PG Dip/ MSc Science, Communication and Society page on the University of Kent website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Sandra Richards

Why did you choose this programme?

I took the MSc in Science, Communication and Society as it incorporates both a healthy dose of history and science combined – exactly where my interests and hobbies lie – resulting in a respected academic qualification.

My background is as a specialist medical scientist, having worked within an NHS diagnostic lab for a number of years. I knew at some point I wanted to take my amateur reading of history further while still maintaining my love all of things scientific, and this course was right for me.

How is it going?

The seminars are lively and interesting, quite a contrast to undergraduate life! And the other students are a lot of fun and we have a great time together both in and outside of the classroom. But you are expected to put in a lot of hard work, too. You are mentally stretched from the beginning and encouraged to grow as a writer. However, you are not alone; the support from classmates and lecturers is very solid and as a dyslexic student, this is very important to me. It's all about team work.

How have you found the supervision process?

We are fortunate to have two very fine lecturers; both Dan and Charlotte seriously know their stuff within their respective disciplines and the two subjects are brought together harmoniously. It's an academic relationship that works beautifully.

Who would you reccommend this course to?

For anyone with a passion for history, science and communication, this course is perfect. Not only will you come out of it with an MSc degree, your mind and communication and writing skills will also flourish and grow.


Entry Requirements

Minimum 2.1 degree in a relevant subject. English Language requirements: View Website

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