Science, Media and Communication (MSc)
1 year (Full-time) / n/a (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)
This degree is offered jointly with Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Techniquest, a science discovery centre based in Cardiff.
To offer knowledge and expertise relating to the organisation and funding of scientific research, the reporting of scientific innovation and controversy, and the role of citizens, experts and the media in decision making. Students will also receive practical, hands-on training in presenting science via news media or directly to audiences ranging from school children to the general public.
- Innovative, interdisciplinary degree based on collaboration between internationally respected academics and a leading science discovery centre.
- Strong links to a wide range of media and science organisations including the national museum of Wales, Wales Gene Park, local and national media, science communication centres, and policy makers in regional, national and European institutions.
- Offers excellent opportunities to develop expertise in an area of increasing importance for policy, industry and scientific communities.
The course is offered as a series of modules taught by staff based in the university and Techniquest, a science discovery centre based in Cardiff. All students take courses in Research Design, Science Technology and Society, Science in the Media, Visitor Studies and Reporting Science. Students also have the option of a highly participatory ‘Presenting Science’ module based in Techniquest. After successfully completing this taught element, students complete the programme with a 20,000 word dissertation.
The MSc in Science Media and Communication is organised around a sequence of five 20-credit specialist modules, one 20-credit option and one 60-credit supervised dissertation on relevant topic of your choice. The specialist modules that make up the core of the MSc are:
Module 1: Research Design and Methods (20 credits)
This module provides students with an introduction to the principles and practice of research design and methods. It introduces students to the main data collection methods used in social sciences and provides a common grounding in how to critically evaluate the research of others and make appropriate choices in their own research projects, enabling them to specify, design and conduct a research project.
Module 2: Introduction to Science, Technology and Society (20 credits)
introduces students to a range of social science perspectives and methodologies for exploring and understanding the contemporary importance of science and technology in modern society. By reviewing the development of ideas and schools of thought within STS, the course highlights core similarities between these approaches as well as specific tensions between them.
Module 3: International News Production 1 (20 credits)
This module gives a general orientation and clear understanding of best principles and practice in print, broadcast and online journalism before students choose whether to follow a broadcast news (+ online), documentary, newspaper (+ online) or magazine (+ online) skills pathway.
Module 4: Visitor Studies (20 credits)
This module gives students a critical understanding of the role of museums and visitor centres in communicating science. We examine the core assumptions, concepts and techniques adopted by museum communicators. We investigate the ‘publics’ that make up the target audiences in these centres through exploration of how school visitors and the general public engage with science in such settings, together with methods of assessing the effectiveness of these forms of science communication and the value of different activities.
Module 5: Media, Science and Health (20 credits)
This module examines the production, content and reception in health and science reporting, whether it involves ‘moral panics’ about the threat of climate change, fears about genetically modified food, or concerns about cloning. . It explores the factors which shape coverage, examines a series of case studies (MMR, BSE, genetics, obesity) of coverage of science/health events and locates all this in social context by looking at public responses to media ‘scares’.
Optional modules. Indicative options include:
- Presenting Science (Delivered by Techniquest);
- International News Production 2
- Citizen Media
- Media, Activism and Participation
- Academic skills including knowledge of current social science research and theory.
- Practical experience of research design, data collection and data analysis.
- Science communication skills including presentation and writing in a range of different genres.
Science communication for medical research charities, NGOs, museums, education and government departments.
The course is particularly suitable for professionals and others pursuing careers in Science Communication. This includes careers in political parties, public relations, government agencies, statutory and voluntary organisations, ‘think tanks’, museums and the media.
- Professor Bella Dicks researches the field of digital qualitative methods, heritage, museums, culture-led economic regeneration, social disadvantage and class. She is particularly interested in how places and people deal with the cultural and social dislocations accompanying de-industrialisation and how regeneration strategies connect (or otherwise) with community members on the ground. .
- Dr. Rob Evans’ academic home is in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS), and his interests are in the nature and use of expertise. This translates into questions about the sorts of knowledge needed to make decisions, who possesses it and how it is shared and acted upon. His work has played a central role in founding what has been called 'Studies of Expertise and Experience' or the 'Third Wave of Science Studies.'
- Sara Hadwin’s journalistic career stretches from reporter to publisher. She has launched a newspaper and edited an evening newspaper, weekly newspapers, websites and lifestyle and arts magazines. She is a member of the Society of Editors and was national vice-president from 1997-98 and national treasurer for two years, serving on parliamentary and legal committee.
- Professor Adam Hedgecoe is course convenor for MSc Science, Media and Communication (MSc). He is a sociologist of science and technology with a particular interest in the social impact of genetics tests and the way in which medicl research is regulated.
- Dr. Andy Williams is a lecturer at Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. He was previously the RCUK Research Fellow in Risk, Health and Science Communication (2008-10). He has a number of research interests which intersect journalism studies and cultural studies. His current major research interests relate to news sources and the influence of public relations on the UK media, especially in the area of science, health and environment news.
Candidates should have an Upper Second Class Honours degree from an approved UK or overseas university or a recognised relevant professional qualification. For applicants without these qualifications, strengths in other areas will be considered, such as for those aged 25 years and over, a minimum of two years’ experience in a position of responsibility relevant to the proposed course of study.
Where English is not the applicant’s first language we do require an IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in all other subsections. If English is not your first language, you may need some help to meet the challenges presented by lectures, seminars and assignments. The In-sessional team provides ongoing English language and study skills support especially for current international students during their academic studies.
Applications are considered on a rolling basis and early applications are encouraged. Applications are completed online in the ‘How to Apply’ section of the Cardiff University website.
Further Information & How to Apply
Please see the School of Social Sciences taught programmes webpages for more information. Applications should be made via the online applications service. Please make the best use of the Personal Statement section and state clearly how your background, skills and interests are relevant to the communication of science and the study of social science. Please pay particular attention to outlining what you see as the challenges and importance of science communication and the public understanding of science, with reference to a particular sub-discipline(s) of science and specific areas of public concern.
The deadline for applications to this course for international applicants is August 1st; for other applicants, the deadline for applications in September 1st. The different dates are due to the need to allow sufficient time for visa processing for international applicants.
UK & EU Full Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
International Full Time for 2014/15 unless otherwise specified below
Next intake: September each year
Name: SOCSI Taught Masters Administrator
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0284 / +44 (0)29 2087 5178
Name: Prof Adam Hedgecoe (SSRM – Science, Technology & Society Pathway)
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 70027