SCOM3325 Science Communication as an Academic Discipline

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Science Communication major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
Recent geopolitical events have highlighted the complex relationship between scientific knowledge and social, political, and economic structures. Where does science communication fit in a post-truth world? In this unit, we will examine the contribution of a range of theoretical approaches to science communication scholarship to answer this question, including Public Understanding of Science, Science and Technology Studies, and Social Studies of Science and Society. We will also look at the contribution of other theories, such as Feminism and Post-Colonialism, to our current understanding of the relationship between science and society. We will examine the shifts in the discipline towards dialogue and public participation to enhance public engagement with science and technology. Students will participate in masterclasses with leading researchers in the field, and work together to prepare a series of Q&A-style forums.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate understanding of key theories and concepts in science communication; (2) apply key theories and concepts to the construction of arguments about controversial issues in science communication; and (3) reflect on their ethical responsibilities as learners and future science communicators.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) blog posts; (2) essay; and (3) group presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Heather Bray and Dr Sam Illingworth
Unit rules
any Level 2 COMM unit
any Level 2 SCOM unit or
enrolment in Master of Science Communication (51580)
Advisable prior study:
SCOM1101 Communicating Science; SCOM2208 Science Writing; SCOM2205 Science Presentations; SCIE2205
Contact hours
4 x 15 minute online lectures per week; 1 x 2 hour workshop per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.