Postgraduate MSc

Science Communication and Future Media

School of Environment & Life Sciences

Distance Learning


Three year


September 2019

Next enrolment

In a nutshell

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.

You will:
  • 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
  • Learn to develop and enhance your public portfolio through a range of creative projects

students accepted

This is for you if...


You love science and wish to nurture your confidence and expertise in using creative digital skills to develop a reflective and critical practice as a strategic communicator


You want to gain practical and transferable skills informed by theory, a creative portfolio and access to world-class networks


You want a flexible distance-learning course that can fit around your current commitments

Course details

All about the course

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.

The course is delivered in blocks so depending on when you start the course, you may study block two before you do block one. 

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 a three day residential at MediaCityUK in year one and a four day trip at an International Science Communication site in year two.

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

  • 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  
  • 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 one

The World of Science Communication and Future Media

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.

Science and Storytelling

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.

Public Involvement and Citizen Science

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.

The Arts and Science Communication

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 two

Science Communication as Live Performance

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.

Global Challenges in Science Communication

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.

Science Writing, Backpack Journalism and Mobile Media

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.

Creative Contexts and Practices

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 three

Final Year Project

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.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


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.


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

School overview

Our school is renowned for the quality of its teaching and research, and is supported by over 80 academic staff at the forefront of their specialisms. Our expanding suite of programmes cover geography and environmental management (GEM), wildlife, biology, chemistry, disease ecology and biomedical sciences and we work closely with our partners to ensure course content develops the skills that employers are looking for.

We have recently been presented with a ‘Bronze Award’ from the Equality Challenge Unit’s (ECU) Athena SWAN Charter for its commitment to gender equality.

If you are looking for a vibrant, welcoming and highly professional environment in which you can realise your potential, the School of Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Salford offers you a world of opportunities.

Our facilities

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.

Postgraduate staff profiles

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

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

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.

A taste of what you could become

A science journalist

An events manager

A science consultant

A museum curator

A public relations executive

And more...

Career Links

Links with industry

Through The University of Salford’s Industry Collaboration Zone and MediaCity Campus we work with the BBC, ITV, The Science and Industry Museum 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.


What you need to know

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 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.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

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.

Alternative entry requirements

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).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2019 £5,040per year
Full-time international 2019 £9,240per year
Distance learning 2019 £630 per 15 credit module
Additional costs

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. You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2019

January 2020

September 2020