The UNSW The Science of Science Communication (BEES6800) course teaches how to effectively communicate across a range of audiences about why science matters, how it works and its relevance in Australia and across the globe. We live in a time where fake science news threatens our ability to communicate science effectively. Understanding the art of evidence-based science communication has become more important than ever before.

Throughout the course, you’ll learn how to communicate scientific knowledge effectively in a digital age where content is easily accessed; however, understanding it is harder to achieve. By the end of the course, you’ll have the ability to apply science communication strategies across multiple platforms, facilitate public engagement and speak to a range of audiences.

Course breakdown

The Science of Science Communication course is an online course.

Course outcomes include:

  1. Apply strategies in communicating science with words, visuals and in multimedia across multiple types of audiences ranging from peer to public.
  2. Write concisely, storyboard a presentation, design a PowerPoint slide deck, present effectively and employ narrative to engage with multiple audiences. Apply these science communication skills to other areas of study, research and in the workplace.
  3. Community and the nature of science with the objective to maintain and gain public trust in science.
  4. Apply robust measurement in evaluating the effectiveness of science communication.
  5. Apply the models of science communication to the practice of science communication.
  6. Employ the art of knowing the audience and telling a good story.
  7. Design an effective social media science communication strategy for multiple audiences.

There are three online assignments that directly address the course outcomes, and there is no final exam.

Conditions for enrolment 

Students need to have completed at least 48 Units of Credit (UoC) to take this science elective course. While there’s no assumed knowledge of science communication, you may find it helpful to obtain a copy of The Science of Communicating Science by Dr Craig Cormick, CSIRO publishing (2019).

Career opportunities

Well-crafted communication of science plays an important part in establishing a dialogue between research and society. Good marketing and effective communication can be a strong influence on how science is perceived by people.

As a science communicator, you might be explaining climate change in a press release, briefing a government representative on a policy decision or developing a communications strategy inside a science organisation. Those who excel at science communication have a passion for storytelling and presenting the benefits of science.

Science communicators can also be found working in social media marketing, curating or designing museum exhibitions or writing scientific publications. In each of these fields, skilled communication with a variety of audiences is required.

Relevant roles

  • Communications manager
  • Social media producer
  • Public relations manager
  • Advertising manager
  • Market researcher
  • Marketing manager
  • Product manager
  • Direct marketer
  • Campaign manager
  • Copywriter
  • Science communicator
  • Museum curator
  • Science journalist

What our graduates say

“The best aspects included the freedom to explore through the openness of the assignments whilst also getting plenty of resources and references. The uniqueness of this course is one of the greatest things because it was incredibly informative and the level of knowledge around science communication was not what I had expected. The information was delivered in an effective manner through a mix of medium, such as videos as well as written information meaning that it was not just large amounts of continuous texts. In addition, the information was clear and well broken down, so it was manageable.”

- The Science of Science Communication course graduate.

Find out more

For more information, please contact Dr Carol Oliver.

E: carol.oliver@unsw.edu.au

T: +61 4 1747 7612