Science Communication MSc modules

On this page, you will find information about the modules you will study on the Science Communication MSc.

Developing Communication Skills (15 credits)

This module will equip students with the skills required for an online-focused fast-paced social-media world.

Primarily workshop and tutorial-based, candidates will be introduced to film, audio and online publishing production, including editing skills.

Candidates will also study the ethics of science communication, career structures and progression and how to present themselves to an audience.

Learning will be assessed by the creation of a portfolio of work.

Dealing with Data (15 credits)

This module introduces students to the use of large text archives which have become the main source of data across a range of disciplines.

Researchers and practitioners in any field that rely on textual data need to handle large text/media collections to answer a variety of research questions: How do we communicate facts? What characterises fake news? How do the sources present an event or a person? What is typical of modern media (Twitter, Facebook etc.) reports? Quantitative methods help content-analytic work by making accessing and processing large amounts of data efficiently.

Project Dissertation (60 credits)

The dissertation exercise provides the student with a choice of three pathways to undertake a piece of scholarly research work in the area of Science Communication.

These include critical analysis of the literature, developing experimental methods to test a hypothesis, or a practice-based approach (which may include an optional work-placement).

Research Methods (15 credits)

The Research Methods module is designed as an introduction to social scientific research methods as applied in the communications, media and journalism fields.

The module provides an overview of key research methods, and the different ways in which research can be conducted.

Topics covered in detail include content analysis and discourse analysis, but students are also given brief introductions to other available methods such as surveys, questionnaire design, focus groups, interviewing, and different aspects research design, project management and academic writing.

Ethics and Regulation (15 credits)

This module concerns the study of ethics with particular reference to British media. But it also explores media ethics from a historical and international perspective, and discusses the moral responsibilities of all journalists.

There will also be study of truth-telling, story-telling, media representation of vulnerable groups and study of journalists' relationship with their sources.

Students will explore how ethical behaviour is encouraged in journalism, and consider how the industry codes seek to achieve this.

Topical Science (30 credits)

What are the ‘hot’ topics in science? Why are these important?

This module delivers a series of short lectures on important topics in contemporary science spanning the general areas of science in chemistry, physics and biology.

The aim is the strengthen individuals all-round knowledge of these important areas of science, enhancing the other non-specialist areas of a science-based graduate.

At the same time students will learn how to use the many tools available to communicate science, including written work, web-based materials and broadcasting techniques.

Communicating with the Media (15 credits)

This module will provide you with knowledge and skills necessary to communicate messages through the media.

Case studies and practical workshops will help you learn about the practice of media communication.

You will learn how the media operates and how to communicate messages through interviews, and news releases.

Topics covered in the module will include the development of communication strategies, the understanding of news values and news cycles, and strategies for successful and ethical communication.

Public Engagement (15 credits)

This group project works towards the planning, organisation and delivery of a public event/ Festival in Science.

This will run in parallel with British Science week (usually in March).

The delivery of this group project will be by the students, under supervision of the module co-ordinator.

The group will develop and use their communication skills to liaise and engage with the public and prepare the materials and resources required to stage an effective event.

The cost of travel and accommodation associated with your placement is not included in your course fees. Many students choose to complete their placements in Sheffield, or close to their home town in order to avoid additional costs. Students may earn salaries during their placement, however this is not guaranteed. 

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 25 March 2020

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