• Offered by Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Science Communication
  • Areas of interest Science Communication
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Rod Lamberts
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Sem 1 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. On-campus activities will also be available.

As the very first course in science communication at ANU, Science and Public Awareness (SCOM1001) offers a smorgasbord of ideas, information and approaches to all things science communication. It’s designed to help you taste a little bit of everything and see what flavours of science communication most appeal to you!


SCOM1001 provides an introduction to contemporary social and communication issues in science, technology, and society. In the course, we will ask a whole range of questions, like:

  • Why communicate science with the public, the media or the government? 
  • What are the best ways to go about it and what are the potential pitfalls? 
  • How do we make sense of science as it flies between, and well beyond, the lab?
  • What kinds of factors affect public attitudes to science? 
  • Is it OK to be a scientist and have influence beyond your scientific expertise?
  • Just what is “the public” anyway? 


Topics include: the history of science communication; competing theories of what science communication is for; different models of effective science communication; obstacles facing scientists wanting to communicate their work; practical skills for communicating science via multiple platforms and venues; the different languages of science; cross-cultural considerations when communicating science; and the influence of popular media, science centres, politics, history, and cultural values on the public context of science communication. 


Focusing on current events and issues facing scientists, science communicators, policy makers, and the community, SCOM1001 students are encouraged to discuss their own perceptions of science and technology in the context of society, and the problems with (and solutions to) communicating science with non-expert audiences. A strong emphasis is placed on collaboration with other students, and students are expected to take an active approach to learning. 


SCOM1001 is also a solid foundation for a Major or Minor in science communication, and for working towards a science communication career. Science communication is a growing area of employment, as science organisations continue to realise the importance of communicating about their work with the public, the media, governments, business, clients, patients, community groups and other stakeholders. 


Science communication graduates have built careers as health promoters, environmental lobbyists or activists, science journalists, science presenters, communications officers for science organisations, science policy analysts working in government, and more. Of course, the skills, ideas, and approaches offered by studying some introductory science communication will also help you if you want to be a research scientist!

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Work professionally in a collaborative environment.
  2. Understand and describe the key issues and importance of effective science communication, recognising how social contexts affect the practice and communication of science.
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of the presentation of science in various media
  4. Understand and practice modes of scientific communication appropriate for stakeholders and publics.
  5. Synthesise personal interests, values and aspirations with reflective professional development.
  6. Use an active approach to learning
  7. Abstract and characterise key elements of science-based evidence underlying social issues
  8. Defend and construct evidence-based arguments for a position based on sound scientific and science communication/ social evidence
  9. Integrate personal interests, values and aspirations with practical and theoretical development in science communication

Indicative Assessment

  1. Reflective Writing Activity x 2 (10) [LO 5]
  2. Short Essay (20) [LO 2,4,5,6,7,8,9]
  3. Term 1 Quiz (20) [LO 2,3,7,8]
  4. Story Assignment (25) [LO 5,6,8,9]
  5. Podcast Assignment (25) [LO 1,2,4,5,6,7,9]

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.


One 2 hour lecture and one 2 hour tutorial per week. Two assessment items will be in tutorials. There will be reading and /or other material to consider in your own time before each tutorial class. These will be available via the course Wattle site.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts



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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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
4486 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 In Person View

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