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Master of Science Communication

We offer two types of Masters degree: The Master of Science Communication (MSciComm) and the Master of Applied Science (MAppSc) in Science Communication. Although the first-year coursework is largely the same for both degrees, the difference lies in the second (thesis) year. For students who are more research-oriented or have aspirations to eventually pursue a PhD in the theory-based academic discipline of science communication, the MSciComm is best suited to these objectives. By contrast, for those students who wish to pursue career opportunities as creative professionals or practicing science communicators in the science communication industry, the shorter MAppSc is likely a better fit for your needs.

To determine which of these is the more appropriate Masters degree for you, please read the descriptions of these programmes below. We are happy to discuss these options with you and to advise you on an appropriate pathway.

The Master of Science Communication is a coursework postgraduate degree designed to be completed in two years. Based on professional interests, applicants select an endorsement (specialisation) in Creative Nonfiction Writing in Science (CNFW), Science and Natural History Filmmaking (SNHF) or Science in Society (SSOC).

Students are required to take six 400-level papers from the list below (120 pts total) and two papers at 500-level (SCOM5A and 5B, 60 pts each). For full-time students, the degree can be completed in four academic semesters and allows the flexibility for the student to begin coursework at the start of either Semester 1 or 2. Part-time students can spread their 140-credit degree requirements over the course of four years.

Note that students in the filmmaking endorsement must start semester 1 and must be enrolled full-time.

For this degree, students complete a written academic thesis that includes original empirical research. Most theses also comprise a supervised creative product in the form of a book, film, or exhibit.

Master of Applied Science (MAppSc)

A shorter alternative to the full master’s degree is the Master of Applied Science (MAppSc). The MAppSc is designed to be completed within 18 months and is suitable for students whose paths are more commercially oriented. There is no academic thesis requirement for this degree. Instead, students complete a Supervised Independent Study; which includes a significant research-based creative project that reflects their endorsement area (e.g. those in the SNHF stream produce a short film; CNFW students complete a book or long-form magazine article; SSOC students design an exhibit or interactive display, etc.)

Master of Applied Science (MAppSc)

Contact information

For further information regarding the Masters options above, or to discuss whether it is the right fit for you, please email scominfo@otago.ac.nz

400- and 500-level papers