Science Communication Unit student working with broadcast

Prepare for a range of science communication careers through academic and practical experience.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start dateOctober 2022
Location: South Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits

Applications open on 4 October 2021

Overview

This course will prepare you for a wide range of professional science communication careers, including:

  • Broadcast
  • Online journalism
  • Science policy
  • Public relations
  • Engagement and outreach
  • Digital campaigning
  • Exhibition development

For students who want to focus solely on broadcast media and filmmaking, we also offer an MSc in Science Media Production.

Through a mix of academic and practical modules, we will encourage you to develop your creative and intellectual abilities, working on ideas that communicate science, technology and medicine in original and effective ways and to a professional standard.

Our academic modules draw on work in the humanities and social sciences to help you think afresh about the relationship between science and society, the potentials and constraints of the media environment, and the challenges these pose for science communication.

A final dissertation project gives you the opportunity to research in-depth a topic of your choice.

The course also develops skills in technical practice through a programme of practical options in which you can develop specialisms in particular media. The practical modules benefit from our in-house TV and radio facilities. We are also fortunate to be close to the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, which provide excellent material for museum studies work.

The course includes a work placement at a media company or other science communication organisation.

The majority of the teaching is by Science Communication Unit staff. This is supplemented with the expertise of professionals drawn from our wide network of industry contacts.

In addition to easy access to leading science and engineering research teams at Imperial itself, our central London location means that you will also be able to make the most of a wide range of volunteering opportunities, cultural events and workshops, which can help further build your network of contacts.

For more information and examples of student work, please see the Science Communication Unit website.

Structure

Modules shown are for the current academic year and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Please note that the curriculum of this programme is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for your year of entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.

Structure

Core modules

You take all of the core modules below.

  • Media Representation of Science
  • Science and its Social Contexts
  • Science Communication Practical Projects*

* You will choose two strands in the Science Communication Practical Projects module, which may include: Digital Media Campaigning; Exhibitions; Radio; Television; and Writing for Journalism.

 

Optional modules

Academic options

You choose three of the following academic options:

  • Documentary Film
  • Ethics 
  • Museums, Heritage and Science
  • Narrative
  • Science Policy
  • Science and Communication for Development
  • Sound, Sign, Meaning in Radio

Please note: the programme is substantially the same from year to year but exact modules may vary.

Dissertation

In term three, you will undertake a substantial piece of academic research which engages critically with the relevant scholarly literature and which involves some element of investigative work.

The research is written up as a 10,000-word dissertation.

Work placement

This is an attachment or internship with a science communication organisation, lasting typically three or four weeks, which will enable you to gain experience of the real world of science communication and to put into practice and develop skills and knowledge gained on the course.

You will benefit from the supervision and guidance of professional science communicators and will be able to widen your range of contacts both in the media industry and in the world of science.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Supervised Workshops
  • Seminars
  • On-line reading materials
  • Supervised small groups/individual projects based on industry practices
  • Supervised work placements in the communications sector

Assessment methods

  • Essays
  • Practical coursework projects, including group projects
  • Dissertation

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Admissions

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in a scientific or science-related subject.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the higher College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

Interview

After you apply you may be invited for an interview with members of our staff.

We hope to interview UK based applicants in person, however, these interviews may be moved online if necessary. Overseas applicants will be interviewed online.

How to apply

Applications open on 4 October 2021.

How to apply

Aptitude assignment

When you apply online, you must complete an aptitude assignment for your chosen course.

This should be attached along with your personal statement, under the 'personal statement' section of the online application form.

Download aptitude assignment [PDF]

Making an application

Apply online

Applications for 2022 entry open on 4 October.

When applications open, you can apply online.

Visit our Admissions website for details on the application process.

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses.

Application fee

There is an application fee for our taught Master's courses. This helps cover some of the costs associated with processing the large volume of applications we receive.

The fee applies per application and not per course:

  • £80 for all taught Master's applications
  • £135 for MBA applications

There is no application fee for MRes courses, Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas or PhDs.

We don’t want the application fee to be a barrier to qualified students who can’t afford it. So, we have put an application fee waiver in place.

Find out more about the application fee and waiver

ATAS certificate

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

Further questions?

Find answers to your questions about admissions. Answers cover COVID-19, English language requirements, Visas and more.

Visit the FAQs

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

Find out more about fees and funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Home rate of tuition

2022 entry

Full-time - £11,000
Part-time - £5,500 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Home fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens' Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication).

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021.

Overseas rate of tuition

2022 entry

Full-time - £25,000
Part-time - £12,500 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Overseas fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens' Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication).

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021.

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you're a UK national, or EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government, if you meet certain criteria.

For 2021-22 entry, the maximum amount is £11,570. The loan is not means-tested and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.

Scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Find out more about our scholarships to see what you might be eligible for.

A number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students. Find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Further information

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