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Study Science Communication at Otago

The science of stories. The stories of science.

Connect people with science to inspire wonder, nurture greater understanding of the natural world, and empower meaningful action to address society’s greatest challenges.

Apply for the Master of Science Communication (MSciComm) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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Apply for the Postgraduate Certificate in Science Communication (PGCertSciComm) through the Dunedin campus in 2022

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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 new 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.

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.

What will I learn?

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.

These papers are:

  • MFCO 103 Introduction to Communication Studies
  • SCOM 109 Communicating Science: An Introduction
  • MFCO 222 Science, Technology and Society
  • SCOM 301 Science and the Public

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

What about further study?

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. 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.

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.


Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Master of Applied Science (MAppSc) in Science Communication


This programme requires three semesters of study.
With approval, SCOM 5A may replace APPS 597 and one 400-level paper.
Up to two of the prescribed papers may be replaced with other 400-level papers with approval from the Head of the Department of Science Communication.

Minor subject requirements

Science Communication as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, 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 Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), 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

Level Papers Points

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

Key information for students

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