Postgraduate study

Science Communication and Public Engagement (Online Learning) MSc, PgDip, PgCert

Awards: MSc, PgDip, PgCert

Study modes: Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

The fields of science communication and public engagement are currently enjoying unprecedented growth.

This is being driven by many factors including:

  • a greater need to demonstrate the impact of publicly funded research
  • the need for science and other expertise to be accessible to public audiences
  • desire for a stronger evidence base for policy decisions

Many career opportunities are emerging at the interface between science and various stakeholder groups and ever more creative methodologies for science engagement are being explored. The programme covers communication of all sciences, engineering, maths and technology and other disciplines.

Why Edinburgh

Our part-time, online learning programme provides an opportunity to gain a formal qualification in science communication without having to leave your job or move to a different location. There is no requirement to travel to Edinburgh, although you would be most welcome if you wish to visit.

You may elect to begin with the Postgraduate Certificate in the first instance and then decide to study for a Diploma and/or a Masters degree.

You will engage with other students from around the world, from a variety of different academic and professional backgrounds and you will enjoy a rich learning experience while studying on the programme.

Who this programme is for

The programme attracts students from across the globe, from a range of academic and professional backgrounds and provides a formal qualification for those working in science communication and public engagement or a conversion route for those interested in moving into this field or whose role at work is evolving.

Applicants often ask how much time they should set aside for study. We would recommend 10-15 hours per week.

Teaching blocks

The teaching is spread evenly throughout the year in three blocks, usually September to December, January to April, April to July.

Our online learning technology enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

The programme can be studied to PG Certificate, PG Diploma or Masters level - if you are interested, in a formal qualification in science communication then sign up for our Postgraduate Certificate. You can then opt to transfer to the Diploma and the Masters degree.

Year 1 (Certificate)

Courses currently on offer include:

  • Introduction to Science Communication and Public Engagement
  • Science Education
  • Understanding Science
  • Principles and Practice in Public Engagement with Science
  • Science in Context
  • The Role of Social Media in Science Communication

Year 2 (Diploma)

Courses currently on offer include:

  • Science, Policy and Practice
  • Dialogue for Science Communication and Public Engagement
  • Science and the Media
  • Creative Arts in Science Engagement
  • Museums Exhibitions, Interpretation and Informal Learning
  • Principles and Practice in Public Engagement with Science II

Year 3 (Masters)

  • Dissertation project.

Semester dates for the academic year 2022-23

These are key dates in the academic year, which vary slightly year to year. For your programme these are:

  • Welcome Week: 12 – 18 September 2022
  • Term 1: 19 September - 4 December 2022
  • Term 2: 9 January – 26 March 2023
  • Term 3: 10 April - 25 June 2023

You will experience a variety of science communication and public engagement practices and issues. In the process, you will develop your critical thinking skills and ability to reflect on your learning.

Your learning in individual courses is transferable, ensuring interconnection across the programme, thus providing opportunities for deeper learning and for the application of key principles in different contexts.

There has been a significant rise in opportunities available for individuals with the specialist knowledge, skills and attributes necessary to pursue roles at the interface between research and publics.

These roles can be found in, for example, higher education institutions, museums, science centres, learned societies and consultancies for democratic decision-making.

Examples of specific roles include:

  • engagement managers
  • information and education officers
  • policy and knowledge brokers

Additionally, many students on the programme are in full-time employment and their roles have developed to involve science communication and public engagement. They have found the programme extremely useful and in some cases has led to promotion within the organisation.

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent.

We may also consider your application if you have relevant work experience; please contact us to check before you apply. You may be admitted to certificate level only in the first instance.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Please note that cost listed is per year.

Tuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Biomedical Teaching Organisation
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Biomedical Teaching Organisation
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG