MSc Science Communication

Year of entry: 2020

Overview

Degree awarded
MSc
Duration
1 year (full-time), 2 years (part-time)
Entry requirements

We require an Upper Second honours degree from a UK university or overseas equivalent in:

  • science
  • social policy
  • non-science public engagement roles.

This course is both an advanced study course for experienced practitioners, and a conversion route from other backgrounds.We may also consider applicants based on evidence of alternative study, research or professional experience that meets the University's requirements.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Please apply via our online application form . See the application and selection section for details of the supporting documents we require.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible. We reserve the right to close applications if the course is full.

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
MSc Y Y N N

Course overview

Please note that this MSc is not a programme in communication science and does not specialise in marketing, advertising, or corporate communication.

  • Develop the skills you need for a career in media, science policy, museums, outreach, PR and many other sectors, as well as research.
  • Learn from professionals working in journalism, public relations, filmmaking, policy and science outreach at intensive one-day schools on science communication policy and practice.
  • Choose specialisms to explore your own interests through a research project and a professionally mentored project.

Open days

Attending an open day is a great way to find out what studying at Manchester is like. Find out about our  upcoming open days and see details of CHSTM's specific schedule for open days .

We are also happy to meet potential students individually. Please contact us for an appointment.

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2020, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £9,750
    International students (per annum): £21,500
  • MSc (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £4,875
    International students (per annum): £10,750

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment. Please note we can only accept part time applications from international students if they do not require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Scholarships/sponsorships

Several sources of funding are available. For current possibilities, please see the funding page on the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine website. Please note that funding application deadlines are usually significantly earlier than the course application deadline.

Alumni bursary

The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health offers an alumni bursary of £1,000 towards tuition fees for successful applicants who are recent University of Manchester graduates and who are commencing one of our postgraduate taught master's programmes in 2020.

The bursary is available to students or alumni who:

  • graduated in 2019 or are graduating in 2020;
  • hold a first class honours degree; 
  • have home or overseas fee status; 
  • are applying for full- or part-time study; 
  • are self-funded and not in receipt of any other funding support.

The bursary will be applied as a fee reduction automatically for those students and alumni who meet the alumni bursary criteria so there is no application process.

Contact details

School/Faculty
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
Contact name
Postgraduate Admissions Office
Telephone
+44 (0)161 275 5220
Email
Website
http://www.chstm.manchester.ac.uk
School/Faculty
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We require an Upper Second honours degree from a UK university or overseas equivalent in:

  • science
  • social policy
  • non-science public engagement roles.

This course is both an advanced study course for experienced practitioners, and a conversion route from other backgrounds.We may also consider applicants based on evidence of alternative study, research or professional experience that meets the University's requirements.

English language

International students must demonstrate English proficiency through a secure and approved testing system.

We ask for English language proof if you are from non-majority English speaking countries (a list of majority English speaking countries, as defined by the UK Home Office, can be found here ).

Specifically, we require a minimum of:

  • IELTS : 6.5 overall with 6.0 in writing
  • TOEFL: 90 internet-based (with 20 in writing)

See further information about requirements for your country .

We may also accept evidence of a confirmed place on a University Pre-sessional English language course . If you wish to be considered for a pre-sessional course, please contact the Admissions Team pgtaught.medicine@manchester.ac.uk

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For more details see entry requirements from your country .

Relevant work experience

You need to be able to demonstrate relevant work experience in your chosen pathway.

Application and selection

How to apply

Please apply via our online application form . See the application and selection section for details of the supporting documents we require.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible. We reserve the right to close applications if the course is full.

Advice to applicants

We require the following documents before we can consider your application.

  • Transcript of your studies to date, translated into English.
  • One academic reference on letter headed paper, signed and dated. We do not request references on your behalf. 
  • Degree certificate (if you have already graduated).
  • Personal statement or statement of purpose.
  • CV.

If English is not your first language, we require proof of your English language ability. If you have already taken an English language qualification, please include your certificate with your application. We may be willing to consider your application without this document, but if we choose to make you an offer, the conditions will include IELTS (or equivalent qualification).

Interview requirements

Applicants may be interviewed as part of the selection process. We may ask to see a sample of written work, in a relevant area, as a basis for interview discussion. Interviews will be held face to face if possible. Otherwise, and normally for applicants based outside the UK, we will interview by Skype.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

CAS Information

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1,000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Please upload a copy of your current valid passport with your application showing the photograph page with your application. For CAS purposes, this must show your full name, date of birth, nationality, passport number and the date the passport is valid until, which must be later than the date of your planned arrival in the UK, and the start date of your course.

You cannot use your CAS to apply for a visa more than three months before the start date of your course, the Admissions Team will contact you at the appropriate time.

Your CAS number is only valid for one Tier 4 application.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again.

Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course details

Course description

Our MSc Science Communication course is ideal if you are interested in science, technology, medicine, mathematics or engineering and want to work in the field of science communication.

You will develop the skills required to work in a range of sectors, including media, science policy, filmmaking, science outreach, public relations, museums and science centres, science festivals, and other public engagement fields.

Developed by the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine and Manchester Institute of Innovation Research , the course features masterclasses and project support from leading professionals in a wide range of sectors, together with experienced science communicators from across the University.

You will spend time building up practical communication skills, and thinking about the broad range of challenges that science communicators face. Does science communication matter for society? Whose interests are furthered by science news? What are the ethical issues in the communication of health research? When we talk about public engagement, what kind of public do we mean?

You will consider these and other questions through insights drawn from history, innovation and policy research, media studies, and the first-hand experience of long-serving communicators, and link these to practical skills.

Special features

Real world learning

We bring practitioners into the classroom and enable you to participate in the various forms of science communication that take place in Manchester to complement your academic learning with real life experiences.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through a mixture of lectures, small-group seminars, discussions and practical exercises. Activities will be included in the taught elements for both individual students and groups.

You will engage with primary and secondary academic literatures, professional literatures, and mass media products about science, technology and medicine.

You will also learn at special sites of science communication, such as museums, media institutions, and public events.

We encourage participation and volunteering to help you further your own interests alongside the taught curriculum. All students will meet regularly with a mentor from the Centre's PhD community, with a designated personal tutor from among the staff and, from Semester 2, a research project supervisor.

Applicants may informally request examples of study materials to help you test your ability to engage effectively with the course from the Course Director.

Coursework and assessment

All units are assessed by academic and practical tasks set in parallel. You should expect both written and spoken assessments that use a format appropriate to the relevant professional group or medium.

You may choose your own topic or medium for many of the assessments. Assessed work also includes a piece of original science communication research.

The final assessment is a project created under the supervision of a science communication professional (the mentored project).

Course unit details

The full-time version of the course runs for 12 months from September. There is also a part-time alternative, covering half the same classes each semester over two years. Part-time study involves a limited number of days' attendance per week and can be combined with part-time employment.

All students take three course units consisting of weekly lectures and discussion seminars:

  • Introduction to Science Communication (30 credits)
  • Communicating ideas in science, technology and medicine (15 credits) 
  • Introduction to Contemporary Science and Medicine (15 credits)

All students also attend a series of specialised courses focusing on science communication practice and science policy, with sessions led by invited contributors including journalists, documentary filmmakers, museum professionals, policy analysts, outreach officers and other relevant experts. You will choose two of the following four units to specialise in for assessed work (although you can sit in on all these units):

  • Science, media and journalism (15 credits)
  • Science museums, science centres and public events (15 credits) 
  • Science, government and policy (15 credits)
  • Health communication (15 credits)

The course is completed by two more open-ended elements allowing you to specialise towards your preferred interests.

The science communication research project (30 credits) gives more scope for independent investigation and includes new research on a particular science communication topic.

The mentored project (60 credits), completed over the summer at the end of the course, involves working with support from a science communication professional on developing and analysing an activity close to professional practice. Our course teaches the current trends in science communication, so details of our units may vary from year to year to stay up to date. This type of change is covered within the University's disclaimer , but if you are in doubt about a unit of interest, please contact us before accepting your offer of a place.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Introduction to Contemporary Science and Medicine HSTM60011 15 Mandatory
Science Communication Research Project HSTM60022 30 Mandatory
Introduction to Science Communication HSTM60561 30 Mandatory
Communicating ideas in STM HSTM60571 15 Mandatory
Science Communication Mentored Project HSTM60622 60 Mandatory
Health Communication HSTM60032 15 Optional
Museums, Science Centres and Public Events HSTM60582 15 Optional
Science, Government & Public Policy HSTM60592 15 Optional
Science, Media and Journalism HSTM60602 15 Optional

What our students say

Read about graduate Amie Peltzer's experience of the course on the Biology, Medicine and Health Student blog .

Facilities

You will have use of a shared office in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, including networked computer terminals and storage space, and use of a dedicated subject library housed in the PhD office.

You will also be able to access a range of facilities throughout the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .

Careers

Career opportunities

Amie Peltzer - MSc Science Communication

"At the beginning of the course, I was unaware of just how many different routes were open to science communicators - there are a lot of different options depending on your scientific background and communication strengths.

"The MSc course certainly helped me create a solid grounding in scicomm from which I can now build upon in the future."

Amie Peltzer / MSc Science Communication graduate and Trainee Medical Writer

This course can open up careers in a wide range of sectors, including journalism, science policy, documentary filmmaking, medical, environmental and other related campaigning and advocacy. You may also enter careers in public relations in the public and private sectors or work in museums and science centres, at science festivals, or in other public engagement fields.

Our MSc also provides an appropriate grounding for PhD-level research in science communication studies.

Previous graduates have gone on to a wide range of relevant posts, including:

  • Research Communications Officer, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain
  • Senior Policy Analyst, Department of Energy and Climate Change
  • Assistant Curator of Technology and Engineering, Science Museum, London
  • Technical Author, Calrec Audio
  • Assistant Producer, Pioneer Productions (TV)
  • Science and Policy Press Officer, Cancer Research UK (London)
  • Communications Assistant, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • Podcast Producer, Venturi Group
  • Science Writer and Policy Researcher, Society of Chemical Industry
  • Assistant Producer, Sandpaper Films
  • Medical Writer, Ashfield Healthcare Communications
  • EU Project Officer, University of Malta