Study Science Communication at Otago

The science of stories. The stories of science.

Being a scientist today means not just navigating the world of research, but also integrating with the community, sharing knowledge and informing policy.

With a qualification in Science Communication, you’ll have the creative flair and practical tools to inspire wonder, nurture greater understanding of the natural world and empower meaningful action to address society’s greatest challenges.

New applications for the minor in Science Communication are currently paused. Further information will be available later in 2023. Current students are encouraged to contact the Department of Science Communication.

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Why study Science Communication?

Science communication is rapidly expanding as an academic field, with endless opportunities for meaningful careers connecting society with advances in the understanding and application of science and technology, as well as nurturing creativity and enjoyment of science.

The minor in Science Communication introduces students to the theory and practice of effective science communication, including the tools to be a creative and powerful communicator in the modern world. It is designed to complement an existing major in either the humanities or the natural sciences and is composed of five papers – four compulsory and one elective.

Career opportunities

Graduates of our programme are employed in a huge range of empowering careers, including regional and city councils, non-profit organisations, Crown Research Institutes, science and natural history magazines, video game development, commercial television, government ministries and museums.

Science Communication at Otago

What will I learn in the minor?

The four compulsory papers provide a background to communication theory, an understanding of the societal context within which science and science communication operate, as well as a whole host of practical skills such as film making, hosting public events and creative nonfiction writing.

An additional elective paper allows you to pursue more specialised interests, from the philosophy of science, to journalistic writing, to public health promotions.

Details of the papers in the minor

Further study in Science Communication

Our department offers exciting opportunities for further study at Otago, with an extensive postgraduate degree programme. We teach creative thinkers how to use stories to communicate the science they are most passionate about.


To enable students to develop their skills and interests further through real-world experience in a workplace environment, we offer a popular internship paper with a range of professional partners.

Producing creative works

In addition to an academic thesis, our students produce creative works that go into the public domain – be it a film, podcast, book, website, exhibition or any other creative endeavour involving the communication of scientific information.

Our graduates are well-connected with industry professionals and leave equipped with an advanced job-ready skillset as well as a deep theoretical understanding of our field.

Background required

There are no prerequisites for enrolling in the minor. We welcome students interested in any aspect of science communication, whether that's creative writing, public speaking, film making, organising public events, engaging young people in science, informing government policy or anything else.

Take the minor alongside any major subject, and gain work-place ready skills that will place you a step ahead in any career.


Science Communication as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

No new enrolments will be accepted for the minor in Science Communication for 2024.  Please contact the Department of Science Communication for further information.


MFCO 103 Introduction to Communication Studies

SCOM 109 Communicating Science: an Introduction



Above 100-level

MFCO 222 Science, Technology, and Society

SCOM 301 Science and the Public

One of MFCO 220, MFCO 223, MFCO 321, ECOL 212, ENGL 228, ENGL 327, HIST 229, HIST 306, PHIL 225, PHIL 235, POLS 207, PUBH 202, PUBH 203, RELS 217, RELS 317, SOCI 208, TOUR 306




Total 90

SCOM papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
SCOM109 2024 Communicating Science: an Introduction 18 Not offered in 2024
SCOM301 2024 Engaging the Public with Science 18 Semester 2
SCOM402 2024 The Craft of Storytelling 20 Not offered in 2024
SCOM403 2024 Science and Creative Non-Fiction Writing 20 Not offered in 2024
SCOM404 2024 Science Communication Internship 20 Not offered in 2024
SCOM406 2024 Science Communication Strategies and Resources 20 Not offered in 2024
SCOM409 2024 Introduction to Science Communication 20 Not offered in 2024
SCOM412 2024 The Techniques of Natural History and Science Filmmaking 20 Not offered in 2024
SCOM419 2024 Special Topic: Key Voices in Science Communication 20 Semester 1
SCOM432 2024 The Craft of Storytelling 20 Semester 1
SCOM433 2024 Science and Creative Non-Fiction Writing 20 Semester 2
SCOM434 2024 Science Communication Internship 20 Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year
SCOM439 2024 Introduction to Science Communication 20 Semester 1
SCOM495 2024 Thesis Preparation and Proposal 20 Not offered in 2024

SCCM papers

Papers for "SCCM" not found.

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2023 Calendar and supplementary material.

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