Postgraduate study

Science Communication and Public Engagement MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

We hope the programme will be fully on-campus in 2021-2022; however this will be dependent on Covid-19. The details provided are based on restrictions related to Covid-19 being removed. Should restrictions remain in place, changes to the delivery of the programme may be required. An update will be provided in early March 2021.

Please note this MSc is not a programme in communication science and does not specialise in marketing, advertising, or corporate communication.

About the programme

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

This is driven by a greater need to demonstrate and share the impact of publicly funded research, the need for research to be valued and a desire for a stronger evidence base for policy.

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

You will experience a variety of science communication and public engagement issues and methodologies. In the process, you will develop critical thinking skills and reflective practice.

The learning gained from one course is transferable to other courses, thus ensuring interconnection across the programme.

(*Revised 21 October 2020 with expanded career information.)

This MSc is a one-year programme, divided into three semesters. The final semester consists of a choice of research or practice-based project.

Teaching methods contain a blend of seminars with individual and small-group activities, together with practice-based sessions. Teaching styles will be designed to ‘model’ the practices in science communication and public engagement.

Compulsory courses

Semester 1

  • Principles and Practice in Science Communication and Public Engagement (20 credits)
  • Science, Society and the Media (20 credits)
  • The Role of Social Media in Science Communication and Public Engagement (10 credits)
  • Placement course

Semester 2

  • Dialogue for Science Communication and Public Engagement (20 credits)
  • Science Education (10 credits)
  • Science, Policy and Practice (10 credits)
  • Placement course
  • Choice of Elective courses (10 credits)

Examples of elective courses include*:

  • Digital Making and Information Visualisation for Science Communication and Public Engagement
  • Creative Arts and Science Engagement

Following semester 2

  • Dissertation (60 credits)

(*Revised 15 October 2020 to include examples of elective courses.)

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21

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

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a science-related subject.

We will also consider your application if you have a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in another discipline.

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 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

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 or Trinity ISE, 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.

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:

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees

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:

  • Programme Director, Dr Elizabeth Stevenson
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3258
  • Contact: e.stevenson@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Medical School, Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

Due to high demand, we operate a number of selection deadlines for this programme.

Applicants who are not made an offer at a specific selection deadline will either be notified:

  • that they have been unsuccessful in securing a place on the programme
  • that their application will be carried forward to the next selection deadline for further consideration at that time

The selection deadlines for applying to study in 2021/22 are:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 18 December 2020 29 January 2021
2 26 February 2021 31 March 2021
3 23 April 2021 28 May 2021
Final 30 July 2021 31 August 2021

You must submit one reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Elizabeth Stevenson
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3258
  • Contact: e.stevenson@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Medical School, Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG