Postgraduate study

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

Awards: MSc, PgCert, PgDip

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 a greater need to demonstrate the impact of publicly funded research, the need for science to be valued, increased government scrutiny and a 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.

Our part-time online distance 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. You may elect to begin with the Post-Graduate Certificate in the first instance and then decide to study for a Diploma and/or a Master’s 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.

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

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.

Our online learning technology is fully interactive, award-winning and 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.

Studying online at Edinburgh

Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:

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 Post Graduate Certificate. You can then opt to continue 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 Inf ormal Learning
  • Principles and Practice in Public Engagement with Science

Year 3 (Masters)

Dissertation project.

*(Revised 30 October 2019 update the list of 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
MScScience Communication and Public Engagement3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
PgCertScience Communication and Public Engagement1 YearPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
PgDipScience Communication and Public Engagement2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

To address the need for effective science communication and public engagement with science, there has been a significant rise in opportunities available for professionals with the specialist knowledge, skills and attributes necessary to pursue roles at the interface between scientific research and public.

These roles can be found in, for example, Higher Education Institutions, Research Centres, Museums, Science Centres, Learned Societies and consultancies for democratic decision-making. Examples of specific roles are engagement managers, information and education officers, policy and knowledge brokers, in addition to the traditional science communicator role.

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.

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: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)

  • 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, PTE Academic 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:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScScience Communication and Public Engagement3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgCertScience Communication and Public Engagement1 YearPart-timeTuition fees
PgDipScience Communication and Public Engagement2 YearsPart-timeTuition 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, and your residency 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
  • Biomedical Teaching Organisation
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
14 September 2020 28 August 2020

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.

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