Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


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.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Not available in 2024OnlineOnline timetabled
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 elective

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.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Heather Bray
Unit rules
Successful completion of
level 2 Unit(s) COMM2xxx
or level 2 Unit(s) SCOM2xxx
Unit(s) SCOM5311 Science Communication as an Academic Discipline
Advisable prior study
SCOM1101 Communicating Science.
SCOM2208 Science Writing.
SCOM2205 Science Presentations.
or SCIE2206
Contact hours
3 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.