SCOM5311 Science Communication as an Academic Discipline

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
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 scholarly fields 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 fields, 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 are able to (1) evaluate key theories and concepts in science communication; (2) construct scholarly 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.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Heather Bray
Unit rules
Enrolment in Master of Science Communication (51580)
Advisable prior study:
SCOM1101 Communicating Science; SCOM2208 Science Writing; SCOM2205 Science Presentations; SCIE2205 or SCIE2206
SCOM3325 Science Communication as an Academic Discipline
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.