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FAQs for prospective postgraduate students

FAQs and anwsers

Are there scholarship opportunities for postgraduate study of science communication at the University of Otago?

Yes, there are limited and highly competitive scholarship opportunities.

  • Some scholarships can be found through Universities New Zealand.
    Universities New Zealand website
  • PhD study: If you have a research degree (e.g. MSc or Honours), you may be eligible to apply for a PhD scholarship at the University of Otago. These scholarships are open to application from both international and domestic candidates.
    PhD scholarships
  • For the MSciComm, there are a very limited number of University of Otago scholarships available for the second year of the programme (the thesis year).
    Masters' scholarships
  • The New Zealand government offers scholarship opportunities to students from some developing countries.
    Manaaki New Zealand Scholarships
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When are applications due?

This depends.

If you want to study Science and Natural History Filmmaking, you must begin the course in New Zealand’s semester 1 which starts in February. Because there is a quota for this stream, all applications are considered in one batch, with a deadline of 31 October.

If you want to study in either the Creative Nonfiction Science Writing or Science in Society streams, it is preferable to start in semester 1, which starts in February, but possible to start in semester 2, which begins in July. There is no quota for either of these streams and applications are considered as they arrive.

Late applications may be considered. International applicants must have enough time to apply for a visa to study in New Zealand. New Zealanders and Australians do not need a visa to study in New Zealand and so later applications may be considered.

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What papers (classes) are available?

Information about what is on offer.

What kind of jobs do science communication graduates get?

The jobs our graduates get are hugely varied.

See profiles of our graduates and what they are doing now

We also regularly feature graduate updates on the Department’s Facebook page.

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How much does it cost to study with the Department of Science Communication at University of Otago?

Fees vary for domestic and international students.

For further information, please contact:


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Is it possible to study science communication via distance learning?

Yes. The Department of Science Communication offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Science Communication via distance learning.

Postgraduate Certificate in Science Communication

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What postgraduate qualifications are available with the Department of Science Communication at the University of Otago?

The Department of Science Communication offers the following postgraduate qualifications:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (one semester full-time equivalent)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (two semesters full-time equivalent)
  • MAppSc (three semesters full-time equivalent)
  • MSciComm (four semesters/ two years full-time equivalent)
  • PhD (three years full-time)

Further information is available on our Study page

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What are the entrance requirements for postgraduate study with the Department of Science Communication?

Applicants are expected to have a B average in appropriate upper level undergraduate papers.

Application materials for the PGCert and PGDip in a science communication endorsement should include:

  • Your CV
  • Academic transcripts

Application materials for the MAppSc in a science communication endorsement or an MSciComm should include:

  • Your CV
  • Academic transcripts
  • Two confidential referee reports
  • A cover letter that explains why you want to study science communication, and
  • Example of your work that demonstrates creativity

If you are unable to upload examples of your work into the online application form, you may send them directly to us at the Department of Science Communication either via post or electronically.

Postal and contact details for the Department

Items sent by post are not returned. Successful applicants have provided a wide variety of different things as examples of their work, including a film clip or podcast, photographs, a piece of creative writing, song lyrics, and art work.

Admission to the research degree of MSciComm requires a B+ average in appropriate papers.

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What is the difference between the MAppSc and MSciComm?

The MAppSc takes three semesters full-time equivalent. The third semester involves a 40-point project paper in which most science communication students produce something creative. It is not a research degree and so is more appropriate for students whose paths are more commercially oriented.

The MSciComm is a research degree that involves the equivalent of two years (four semesters) full-time study. The first year involves coursework and the second year involves full-time thesis work. Most MSciComm students incorporate a creative component in their master’s thesis.

It is possible to apply for either the MAppSc (with science communication endorsement) or the MSciComm after completion of the coursework in the PGDip (with science communication endorsement).

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