• Total units 24 Units
  • Areas of interest Science Communication
  • Minor code SCOM-MIN
  • Academic career Undergraduate

The Science Communication minor aims to complement studies in the traditional science disciplines.

Depending on the courses selected by the student, the minor can 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 minor 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 minor can also be a foundation for students considering pursuing careers as professional science communicator.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Recognise the existence of diverse public attitudes to science, perceptions of science and definitions of science.
  2. Communicate science with diverse groups of people using different media.
  3. Undertake science communication research.
  4. Explain why science communication is valuable for scientists and society.

Other Information

Advice to Students

What 1st year courses should you enrol in? There are no compulsory courses in the Science Communication minor. Of the six courses on offer, any four can be chosen to make up a minor sequence. But how to choose which four?

One sensible option would be to choose SCOM1001, ENVS1003 and two other courses, since SCOM1001 and ENVS1003 are recommended (but not compulsory) prerequisites for the others. But it is also important to consider your interests and strengths. The following is a summary of the options and a guide to making this decision.

Each course in brief:

SCOM1001 - introduction to science communication theory and history, influences on public attitudes to science, and skills for communicating science in diverse contexts

ENVS1003 - introduction to qualitative and quantitative methods for researching public attitudes to science, and designing research projects

SCOM2001 - in depth focus on organising professional conferences, communicating your research to peers through live presentations, and public speaking

SCOM2003 - in depth focus on the analysis of the science content of fiction, research into public responses to that content, and using fiction to communicate science

SCOM3001 - advanced course in developing comprehensive, professional strategies for communicating science when it involves risk or ethical dilemmas

SCOM3002 - advanced course in writing about science and science-related events for news media, and analysing the relationship between news media and science

Courses with a substantial focus on developing your research skills: SCOM1001, ENVS1003, SCOM2003, SCOM3001

Courses with a substantial focus on practical communication skills: SCOM1001, SCOM2001, SCOM3001, SCOM3002

Courses with a substantial focus on understanding science in the mass media: SCOM1001ENVS1003, SCOM2003, SCOM3002

Courses with a substantial focus on understanding public attitudes to science: SCOM1001, ENVS1003, SCOM2003, SCOM3001

Courses which best enhance your skill set as a working scientist: SCOM1001, ENVS1003, SCOM2001, SCOM3001, SCOM3002

Courses with a substantial opportunity to use your discipline-specific scientific knowledge: SCOM1001, SCOM2001, SCOM2003, SCOM3001, SCOM3002

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

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Minor Requirements
This minor requires the completion of 24 units, which must include:

24 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
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