• Offered by Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Science Communication
  • Areas of interest Science Communication
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Joan Leach
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

This course introduces students to the history, theory and practice of science communication at an advanced level. It covers contemporary competing theories of what constitutes 'best practice' in science communication, the historical roots of the discipline, fundamental practical skills for communicating science with the public, and a deep understanding of science communication professional practice. It provides a solid foundation for further studies in science communication, touching on multiple communication mediums, considerations of different aims and audiences, and some specifics of communicating particular kinds of scientific information. Students will develop foundational science communication research skills in this course.

The course is compulsory for students in the Master of Science Communication and Master of Science Communication Outreach programs, but postgraduates in other disciplines, particularly in the sciences, can also benefit from its overview of the current science communication landscape.

The course will be run as a combination of online content, face-to-face or online classes and an intensive component on-campus.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Research and critically evaluate published papers on science communication history, theory and practice.
  2. Critically analyse examples of science communication practice in light of theory and best practice literature.
  3. Interpret published scientific knowledge and effectively translate it into multiple mediums for diverse non-scientific audiences.
  4. Critically evaluate the communication context of scientific issues and apply that evaluation to communication practice.
  5. Use social science research methods to research contemporary science communication professional practice

Indicative Assessment

• Oral exam on science communication history and theory (20%, LO 1,2,4).
• Report on interview with professional science communicator (30%, LO 1,2,5).
• Portfolio of ‘translations’ of a scientific journal paper for different mediums (25%, LO 3,4).
• Research assignment on the scientific production process (25%, LO 1,4,5).

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


2 hour seminar weekly online or in person, plus 8 hours of study time per week, including online lecture and reading material, plus attendance component to be negotiated.

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with SCOM4014

Prescribed Texts

Gilbert JK & Stocklmayer S. (2013) Communication and Engagement with Science and Technology: Issues and Dilemmas: A Reader in Science Communication. Routledge.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2601 25 Feb 2019 04 Mar 2019 31 Mar 2019 31 May 2019 In Person View
4777 25 Feb 2019 04 Mar 2019 31 Mar 2019 31 May 2019 Online View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions