• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Science Communication
  • Major code SCOM-MAJ
  • Academic career Undergraduate


The Science Communication major aims to complement studies in the traditional science disciplines and to provide a solid foundation for professional science communication careers.

The compulsory courses provide training in the presentation and writing of science for diverse audiences, analysis of science and technology issues in the context of the wider community, and research methods for investigating public perceptions of science.

This major is a valuable adjunct for students wishing to enter scientific careers, because it enhances the communication skills and social awareness that are increasingly desired by science employers. These skills will strengthen your ability to:

  • Successfully apply for funding for your research,
  • communicate  aspects of your research with members of the public and your peers,
  • research and  understand public attitudes to your science, particularly in the context  of ethical controversy and risk,
  • communicate and apply your scientific knowledge to practical situations in socially  appropriate ways,
  • speak confidently at science conferences,
  • talk to the media about your work,and
  • advise governments on science policy issues such as technological development, healthy living and environmental sustainability.

This major is also an excellent foundation for students interested in pursuing careers as professional science communicators. If you have ever dreamt of:

  • making science exhibits for Questacon,
  • presenting television or radio shows about science,
  • becoming a science journalist,
  • rethinking the way science is taught in schools,
  • researching the ways that movies, novels and comics have shaped public attitudes to  science, or
  • campaigning for change on science-related issues such as climate change, nuclear power and animal ethics,

then this major is for you.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the Science Communication major will be able to:

  1. Recognise that ‘science’ has many meanings in society, including: bodies of knowledge, distinct sets of practices and methods, political and economic institutions, and, moreover, a human endeavour shaped by culture and context.
  2. Communicate science in accessible and appropriate ways with diverse communication partners.
  3. Use a range of means, media, and technologies to communicate science.
  4. Develop strategies to communicate complex and/or controversial science with stakeholders and different sectors of the public.
  5. Evaluate and critique the techniques and models used to communicate science.
  6. Appraise the interaction of interests, contexts and people shaping science as process, practice, discourse and industry in the modern world.
  7. Investigate diverse public attitudes to science and perceptions of science and the influences on these.
  8. Value the promotion of science communication to build democratic and ethical involvement in science discussions and decision-making.
  9. Comprehend shifts in the disciplinary development of science communication and how these can inform current science communication practice.
  10. Critically assess and use scientific and social science primary and secondary sources.
  11. Undertake science communication research drawing on a range of methods such as interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, and content analyses.
  12. Work collaboratively and independently on science communication research projects and activities.
  13. Model the inquiry and research values of science in their professional conduct.
  14. Cultivate a professional communication profile to advance their career. 

Other Information

Advice to Students

What 1st year courses should you enrol in?  SCOM1001 and ENVS1003.

In addition to the six compulsory courses, the Science Communication major must include 12 units of additional courses, for which there are several options to choose from. Students are encouraged to investigate each additional option and to follow their professional and intellectual interests when making a decision.

Students who are considering a future as a professional science communicator or science communication researcher are encouraged to choose SCOM3003 Special Topics in Science Communication to make up 6 or 12 additional units. This course allows students to devise their own project topic, which can have a focus on research, theory or practice. The flexibility of this course allows the greatest scope for extending your science communication expertise.

Students who prefer the more rigid structure of coursework are encouraged to choose one of the discipline specific additional courses (BIOL3191, ENVS3007, ENVS3028, or SCNC3200) or to consider a Masters level SCOM course.

Students who are undertaking another 3000 level science course that they believe comprises aspects that are relevant to science communication are invited to discuss their situation with the Undergraduate Convener. It is possible for the Convener to approve the inclusion of such a course within a student's Science Communication major sequence.

Other course options may be considered with permission of the major convener.

Students should seek further course advice from the academic convener of this Science Communication major.

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Major Requirements

This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must include:

36 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
SCOM1001 Science Communication 1: Science and Public Awareness 6
ENVS1003 Introduction to Environmental and Social Research 6
SCOM2001 Practical Skills for Communicating Science 6
SCOM2003 Science in Popular Fiction 6
SCOM3001 Science, Risk and Ethics 6
SCOM3002 Science in the Media 6

12 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
SCOM3003 Special Topics in Science Communication 6-12
BIOL3191 Biology, Society and Ethics 6
ENVS3007 Participatory Resource Management: Working with Communities and Stakeholders 6
ENVS3028 Environmental Policy 6
  SCNC 3200: Sci & Math Teach 2nd School
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