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Science Communication and Future Media

MSc

School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Biomedical Science

Start Date(s): September; January

Duration:

Three years part-time distance learning

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Distance Learning - £630 per 15 credit module £5,040 in total

In Brief:

  • Enjoy excellent job prospects in the growing field of science communication
  • This course is delivered in partnership with industry giving you the opportunity to tap into world-class professional networks
  • Access to state of the art MediaCityUK facilities during the course residential
  • A part-time only course
  • Based at MediaCityUK
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

A new generation of science communicators are in demand to work across and within the cultural, digital, health, environmental industries and higher education sector. 

Science communication now embraces groundbreaking scientists, artists, games developers, creative technologists, curators, social entrepreneurs, environmental and health policymakers and citizen scientists.

This course bridges the creative science communication skills gap in an era where digital literacy, critical thinking and creative innovation make professionals stand out from the crowd.

Designed with this next generation of collaborative pioneers in mind, this course will kick start and accelerate your career, build your global network and support you as you develop your portfolio.

You will critique the ethical challenges that new communication systems pose whilst considering global challenges around health, wellbeing, equality and sustainability as intrinsic to your practice.

You will gain practical and transferable skills informed by theory, a creative portfolio and access to world-class networks to advance your career.

‘The course helps us to expand our abilities to communicate science online in more engaging ways. I’ve also been working collaboratively with scientists to develop creative ways of communicating science through immersive experiences. I now spent more time talking to scientists and I’m  building  my network and connecting with scicomm practitioners with different practices. I’m currently working on an immersive experience coming to MediaCity soon and the course has been useful in helping me think that through’.

Damon Reid, Creative Technologist, Media City

Take a look at our Scicomm community here

Follow us on twitter
https://youtu.be/P6rBhnQWQ48

Course Details

The course is delivered through distance learning, collaborative tasks, a creative portfolio and a final project. The blended learning option includes two  residentials.

Each trimester includes two, 15 credit modules, run sequentially, with one group task and one individual assignment per module.

Each 15 credit module comprises 21 hours of online learning materials, 10 hours of webinars and 109 hours of independent study.

Features  

  • Course content reflects and connects your needs with industry trends  
  • Digital skills and emerging technologies focus  
  • Become part of a global learning community  
  • Connectivity and access to world-class facilities  
  • Co-delivery with industry practitioners  

Benefits

  • Learn alongside cutting edge researcher-practitioners  
  • Secure a global competitive edge and excellent employment prospects  
  • Gain real world, practical and problem solving experience  
  • Create a portfolio to showcase and help secure future work  
  • Access to a national and international peer and industry network

Block 1  

This module explores how science is communicated through digital environments and why thinking digital is central to any science communications strategy. You will explore the ecosystem of digital science communication, the trajectory of the changing media landscape within the field, whilst nurturing        your skills and practical expertise towards becoming an innovator and early adopter of new environments. This module covers the shift in science communication away from traditional media formats towards social media, the growth of mobile and wearable technologies, connected devices, immersive media and        the Internet of Things.      
This module focuses on the art and science of storytelling across a range of cultural forms, formats and methods to explore the crucial considerations to digital storytelling strategies for communicating science. Using examples drawn across a range of formats, you will develop an understanding of narrative        techniques and tools to apply to a factual or fictional context.      
This module introduces the idea that science communication is most effective when the public are involved in the co-creation of knowledge. This will be demonstrated by introducing co-design methods; from citizen science, to patient and public involvement in research, to human-computer-interaction. You        will examine theoretical ideas on the relationship between democracy and science, whilst focusing on how digital environments, tools and applications shape science 'upstream' of research.  You will consider the motivations, opportunities and challenges of engaging a diverse range of actors        to bridge the gap between scientific institutions and citizens. The role of scientific citizenship and science capital will be considered in this regard.      
This module explores the idea of the knowledge economy and the historical context of disciplinary divisions, as an entry point into understanding areas of common ground in artistic and scientific practice. You will be introduced to different formats of artistic work that operate around science, examining        case studies of renowned artists, and experimenting with forms of art production. With support and guidance from tutors, you will identify an art/science collaborator with whom to develop your critical and creative practice.      

Block 2  

With the proliferation of science festivals, science education programmes and the advent of broadcasting live via social media, the importance of live performances has grown considerably. This module develops your presentation skills and introduces a range of formats, from social media content to stand        up shows. You will develop the skills to produce, exhibit and distribute accessible performances. This module offers an opportunity to explore production and post-production techniques in order to integrate compelling props and audio-visual elements.      
This module focuses on contemporary matters of global concern in science communication. Using key case studies, debates and problem-based learning, you will explore how to frame ethical questions and concerns around global challenges and the development of new and emerging technologies. You will explore        and evidence how the science communication sector is responding to these needs.      
This module explores how science writing and journalism has changed in a digital era and the impact this had had on publishing and news production.  You will explore online formats, publishing platforms and industry standards in mobile science communication. You will gain critical and practical        insights into the changing economy of media management, the relationship between traditional print outlets and online media and how principles of content generation and syndication have changed around new media consumption habits.      
This module focuses on developing your professional skills as a reflective science communicator operating effectively in a digital environment. You will be guided to focus on developing creative habits and strategies to transfer ideas and skills into real world contexts through problem-based learning.        You will locate your work within a professional context and community of practice that has the potential to continue beyond the life of the course.      

Block 3  

This module provides a critical, reflective space in which to dive deeply into an aspect of science communication by developing a project from concept to planning and final delivery. You will consolidate your knowledge, skills and abilities acquired through the course by critically reflecting on your        chosen methodologies from across your portfolio. You will be encouraged and supported to find a scientific or artistic partner through our extensive networks. With support and guidance from a tutor, you will explore and express yourself as an independent learner.

Entry Requirements

Minimum grade 2:2 and we welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

Applicants are invited with degrees in a range of disciplinary backgrounds including science, technology, computing, engineering and mathematics and arts and humanities subjects, including media and design.

To apply, please submit:- 

A 300 word statement of motivation outlining why you want to apply including:

i) Mention any relevant skills and experience

ii) Creative career ambitions

iii) How the course will support your ambitions

B Provide a CV or link to an online CV that includes portfolio links (e.g. an acceptable format would include Linkedin) 

Prospective students will be interviewed.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

EEA applicants based in the UK may be able to take an English language test at the University. Please contact salfordlanguages@salford.ac.uk for more details.

Suitable For

This part-time, online science communication masters is designed with the creative professional and freelancer professionals in mind. We are looking for prospective students from a range of backgrounds (arts, humanities and design as well as science, technology, computing, engineering and maths graduates) who wish to nurture their confidence and expertise in using creative digital skills to develop a reflective, critical practice as a strategic communicator.

You may be a recent graduate, already working freelance or in full-time employment in a range of industries in the cultural, digital and science industries sector. Relevant occupations include professionals working in higher education, museums and galleries, research funding councils, publishing, broadcast and entertainment.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Distance Learning£630 per 15 credit module £5,040 in total
International Distance Learning£1,155 per 15 credit module, £9,240 in total

As well as course fees, additional fees may apply as follows:

UK field/residential trip (approx £300)

International residential/field trip (approx £560)

Access to laptop, smart phone, internet, a microphone and headphones 

Additional equipment (approx £500)

International students that opt for the residentials will need to cover any additional costs associated with visas.

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section

Teaching

The course is delivered by the Salford SciComm Space in collaboration with industry experts and professional science communicators. It will provide you with an applied online student experience that encourages independent study and reflection on practice in the real world. It is delivered through distance learning, collaborative tasks, a creative portfolio and a final project and there are two optional residentials in year 1 and year 2. Students taking the distance learning only option, gain access to unique virtual learning experiences.

In depth:

This distance learning science communication masters degree models in practice the key theories of science communication by designing and supporting interactions between students, tutors and industry practitioners. The course is enhanced by digital technologies, tools and resources. It is designed to provide educational experiences that engage you -the student- as a co-creator, co-inquirer and co-producer of knowledge giving you more responsibility over how, when, with whom and what you learn.

You will engage in problem based learning via live briefs, where key skills and approaches are introduced by tutors and practitioners. You will learn in an open and exploratory way, individually and in collaboration with peers, to test how creative ideas and approaches work in practice, including, where appropriate, in the current workplace.

Additional support includes online tutoring, online peer support and group seminars as students reflect on and develop their creative practice. You will draw on real world experiences as you advance your digital scholarship and creative portfolio.

The final project is to deliver an original science communication campaign or science communication experience, from conceptualisation to delivery with support from tutors and industry practitioners.

Optional Residentials

Residentials are available to UK students and students with tier 4 visas for a study trip. Two residential trips are offered (but not compulsory) and comprise 1x 3 day residential at Media City in Year 1 and 1 x 4 day trip at an International Science Communication site in year 2.

Students taking the distance learning only option will be provided with an equivalent collaborative experience via a unique Virtual Learning Environment.

Assessment

Assessments include a range of cultural artefacts (1 per module) and a final project, which are assessed as part of a creative portfolio.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Dr Chloe James

Chloe is Programme Leader for the MSc and a practicing medical microbiologist, whose research has inspired art/science collaborations and seen Chloe appear on the BBC numerous times.

Modules include:

World of Science Communication & Future Media

Professor Andy Miah

Andy's research on the ethics of emerging technologies spans such areas as life extension and artificial intelligence. In 2015, he was the 2015 Josh Award winner for Science Communication.

Modules include:

Scicomm as Live performance, The Art of Scicomm, Science Writing & Backpack Journalism

Dr Erinma Ochu

Erinma's expertise in citizen science and art-science projects is internationally renowned. Her background in neuroscience, film and cultural participation ensures a trans-disciplinary approach to the programme.

Modules include: 

Science & Storytelling, Public Involvement & Citizen Science, Global Challenges in Scicomm

As a scientist, the course makes me conscious of the importance of communicating science. It helps me to organise my ideas and concepts around science communication (scicomm). Scicomm used to be something I did intuitively, now it has a clear purpose. I’ve definitely improved how I communicate  my science, I’m  a  much  better  presenter, even in academic presentations. I more open now to different scicomm activities. I’ve taken part in amazing scicomm events and initiatives such as the Exposure Science Film Hackathon where I collaborated  with artists and storytellers to make a short film and I did my first  podcast  with  the  School of Batman, talking about my parasitology research.

Eleonora Aquilini, PhD
Post-doc scientist

The Masters is fantastic. Our lecturers are so supportive and encourage us to explore our creative sides to communicate in new ways. The weekly webinars are very inspiring and thought provoking. The Manchester Science Festival residential at Media City was a wonderful fun learning experience.

Michaela Parnell, BSC (Hons) Biology, Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) advocate & activist.


Take a look at some of the projects we have recently been involved with


Alienated Life


GameLab - part of Manchester Science Festival 2017

Employability

Career Prospects

This science communication MSc is designed to equip the modern science communicator with the practical skills and theoretical grounding to carry out science communication, public engagement and policy roles in a wide range of institutions, from Universities to science festivals, museums and galleries to research funders, science and health charities, NGOs and science businesses spanning education, entertainment, PR/ advocacy and sustainable development.

Science communication professionals contribute to a wide range of industries including:

  • Media and creative industries;  
  • Science centres and museums;
  • Science education and outreach;
  • Research councils and policymaking.

Graduates could undertake roles (within these sectors and others) such as:

  • Broadcast, Media and Entertainment;
  • Science Journalism;
  • Science Advocacy;
  • Professional Consultancy;
  • Public Relations;
  • Science publishing;
  • Public Engagement; 
  • Public Involvement and Impact; 
  • Knowledge Exchange;
  • Museum education, exhibition and curation;
  • Events production, management.

Links with Industry

Through The University of Salford’s Industry Collaboration Zone and MediaCity Campus we work with The BBC, ITV, The Museum of Science and Industry and festivals including Manchester Science Festival and Abandon Normal Devices, plus online publishing platforms such as The Conversation, Wakelet and Digital Science as well as a range of creative and digital companies.

The university is also founding partner in HOME, educational sponsor of The Manchester Science Festival and organises the Salford International Media Festival at Media City. Students will benefit from interacting with and learning from high profile industry and cultural professionals made available through these collaborations.

Further Study

Graduates may be interested in studying for a PhD at Salford.

Facilities

Watch our video  

Our cutting edge MediaCityUK facilities

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