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

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

  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

Students interested in taking additional, non-SCOM-coded courses to further expand their knowledge and skills with science courses relevant to science communication are advised to consider:

ENVS1003 Introduction to Environmental and Social Research

STAT1003 Statistical Techniques or STAT1008 Quantitative Research Methods

ENVS3007 Participatory Resource Management: Working with Communities and Stakeholders

ENVS3028 Environmental Policy

BIOL3191 Bioethics and Society

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

A minimum of 18 units must come from completion of courses from the following list:

SCOM1001 Science Communication 1: Science and Public Awareness (6 units)

SCOM1002 Science Communication 2: Scientific Evidence and Social Change (6 units)

SCOM2003 Science in Popular Fiction (6 units)

SCOM2006 Science and Humour (6 units)

SCOM2015 Speaking of Science (6 units)

SCOM2016 Science in the Media (6 units)

SCOM2031 Science, Risk and Ethics (6 units)

A minimum of 18 units must come from completion of courses from the following list:

SCOM3004 Science Communication Internship (6 units)

SCOM3005 Special Topics in Science Communication (6 units)

SCOM3007 Science Communication Project Design and Delivery (6 units)

SCOM3012 Science Communication and the Web (6 units)

SCOM3027 Science Politics (6 units)

SCOM3029 Cross Cultural Perspectives in Science Communication (6 units)

SCOM3032 Making Modern Science (6 units)

SCOM3033 Health Promotion Principles and Practice (6 units)

SCOM3501 Strategies in Science Communication (6 units)

A maximum of 12 units may come from completion of courses from the following list:

SCOM3003 - Science Communication Research Project (6-12 units)

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