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MSc Communicating Science and Technology

How can you communicate complex scientific ideas and data effectively? What are the techniques and challenges of science communication in a globalised, polarised and rapidly changing world?

The MSc in Communicating Science and Technology offers you a solid grounding in the theory and practice of communicating science to a wide range of audiences and via a variety of media, old and new.

The course provides training in analysing public attitudes to science, practical skills in creating and communicating scientific content, and guidance in public engagement on contested subjects. Alongside these, it includes core content on equality and diversity in STEMM and innovation, the role of social identities and global dimensions in science communication, the function of the arts in communicating and interpreting science, and the critical importance of sustainability and social responsibility within science and technology communication.

Drawing on the multi-disciplinary expertise of the Institute for STEMM in Culture and Society (ISTEMMiCS) at the University of Birmingham, this programme bridges the gap between the arts and sciences. It is designed to equip students and professionals with a STEMM background with the skills to engage in science communication and enable people trained in the social sciences and humanities, or working in fields from media and the arts to public relations and policy, to apply their knowledge and insights to science and technology.

You will study six core modules:

Science Communication in Theory and Practice 1
This module will guide you in understanding public attitudes toward science and technology, providing you with insights into the thinking behind today’s science communication practice and the skills necessary to summarise and convey research findings from a range of different fields.

Science and Technology in Culture, History, Literature and the Arts
This module will analyse the varied ways in which history, literature studies and the wider arts can inform science communication and understandings of science in society. The module will give an historical overview of the emergence of the idea of modern science, the role of the ‘scientist’ and the practice of science communication.

Communicating Science in Diverse, Unequal and Polarised Societies
This module will focus on the challenges of communicating science within societies that are unequal, socially diverse and politically divided and where, as a result, expertise and ‘official’ forms of knowledge may be challenged or treated with scepticism. It will introduce research into, and current debates about, access, exclusion and discrimination in science careers and communication, enabling students to understand how inequalities associated with race, gender, sexuality and (non)religion have been embedded into scientific institutions historically, and how such inequalities impact upon trust in scientific institutions today.

Science Communication in Theory and Practice 2
This module will introduce you to the different methodologies that inform the way we think about science and publics, including quantitative and qualitative sociology, social psychology, media studies and historical research. The module will incorporate specialist lectures that introduce the theoretical contexts of different forms of qualitative and quantitative research and reflective seminar-based activities that will be designed to allow critical engagement with framing issues in STEMM research outputs.

Sustainable Futures and Responsible Research
This module will focus on how science communication can influence public attitudes toward and debates about technology, the environment and sustainability, in both positive and negative ways. It will encompass a variety of themes – such as the use and disposal of plastics, zero-carbon initiatives, aviation, biodiversity and the climate crisis – and will explore how these raise questions about knowledge, trust, expertise and one-directional models of science communication.

Masterclasses in Communicating Science and Technology
This module will focus on the skills and principles that contribute to effective practice in science communication, with particular reference to the role of social identity in the communication of science and the challenges of communicating science to diverse and pluralistic audiences, both in the UK and internationally. It will challenge you to think about stereotypes and presumptions that science communicators might hold, and how these stereotypes might affect the way scientific concepts and new technologies are received by publics.

00:00 Intro
02:13 ISTEMMICS
03:23 The degree programme
05:24 Modules
11:15 Entry requirements
13:21 Careers and employability
15:47 Costs of study: Fees
16:24 Financial support
16:45 Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme
17:21 International scholarships
17:28 Closing dates for applications
18:00 Postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham

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