Masters or Graduate Diploma in Science Communication
Build the theoretical foundations and practical experiences needed for a meaningful career in science communication. Join the first program of its kind in Canada that trains people in this rapidly growing field in partnership with an industry-leading science centre, Science North. Learn the theory and best practices underlying strong communication in this immersive 10 -12 month experience that includes an 8-week work placement in an established public communication environment.
Discover the challenges of effectively communicating scientific information while exploring the issues involving science in society. Gain real world context with guest lectures from diverse communication fields, hands-on workshops, and field trips to institutions leading the field in science communication. Apply your knowledge of design and rhetorical theory, understanding and engaging diverse audiences, social and traditional media, exhibit development, and research methods to address the current issues involved with communicating science-related topics to non-experts.
Laurentian University in partnership with Science North
Masters in Science Communication (M.S.Com) or Graduate Diploma in Science Communication (G.dip).
Aims of the Study Program
The program aims to equip students with the expertise needed to share contemporary research with local and international audiences using a variety of modes of communication. Students will learn about public engagement best practices and develop new educational experiences by working closely with Staff Scientists and Science Communicators at Science North.
The knowledge and skills gained in the program prepare students for a growing number of careers in science communication. Graduates can expect to find employment with government agencies, NGOs, science centres, museums, zoos and aquariums, academic institutions, leading research centres, media production companies, and wherever communicating complex scientific ideas and information is needed.
Students gain a strong foundation in the theory and best practices underlying strong communication. Through an interdisciplinary approach, students will explore the role of science in society, how audiences engage with the scientific enterprise, and the psychological and socio-political challenges involved in effective public communication. Students will learn the approaches and skills needed to develop, lead, and evaluate communication efforts across a variety of media types, platforms, scientific topics, and target audience groups.
Students hone their communication skills by visualizing real data sets for knowledge translation, developing actionable communication plans, and documenting research as it evolves at Laurentian University, Science North, and with our community research partners. These communication products are often shared with targeted audiences online, in workshops, and through science centre exhibits and events, with students evaluating the efficacy of the outreach through writing reflections on their experiences.
Students enrolled in the Masters of Science Communication will conduct original research and write a major research paper to complete the program.
Students in enrolled in either the Masters of Science Communication (33 credits) or the Graduate Diploma (27 credits) will register for all of the courses in the list below, and will select one of the electives for their second term:
SCOM 5016 Audiences and Issues
SCOM 5026 Learning Theories and Practice in Science Communication
SCOM 5036 Theories and Principles in Science Communication
SCOM 5056 Design Theory in Science Communication
SCOM 5066 Science Communication Practice I: Orientation
SCOM 5116 Research Methods in Science Communication
SCOM 5136 Communication Science Through New Media
SCOM 5146 Science Communication Practice II: Professional Experience
Electives (Choose one of the following courses):
SCOM 5076 Communicating Science Through Exhibits
SCOM 5106 Communicating Science Through Traditional Media
Students enrolled in the Masters of Science Communication will also enroll in:
SCOM 5125 Major Research Paper in Science Communication
With the exception of this major research paper, students in both the Graduate Diploma stream and Masters in Science Communication stream will take all of their classes together.
Time to complete
Masters of Science Communication: 1 year
Graduate Diploma: 10 months (8 months of course work + 8 week internship)
Start of studies
All students begin the program in the first week of September.
Suitable candidates for the Master’s in Science Communication and Graduate Diploma must have a minimum of 70% GPA and an Honours B.Sc., B.Eng. or a BA in a relevant discipline such as science, technology and society programs, liberal science, anthropology or other university programs from which they have gained a demonstrated ability to understand scientific knowledge and to analyze scientific issues.
As for all graduate level studies at Laurentian University, a GPA average of 70% or more is required for entry into the program. Admission will be granted on the basis of a written application. In addition, applicants must demonstrate their interest and commitment to involvement in science communication as well as their communication ability. Evidence of communication ability may be provided in the form of an Honours thesis or comparable written report, extra-curricular projects such as science presentations, workshops or seminars to public audiences, or multimedia communication pieces.
Documents: Three letters of reference, a statement of interest, proof of communication ability, and a CV.
The School of Graduate Studies requires that non-Canadian applicants whose mother tongue is neither English nor French provide proof of language proficiency. A score of 550 in TOEFL or 95 in the Michigan Test for English Language proficiency is required for this program.
Successful applicants are graduates from four year honours programs in science, engineering or technology, or with equivalent qualifications or experience. However, applicants might also include graduates of science, technology and society programs, liberal science, or other university programs from which they have gained a demonstrated ability to understand scientific knowledge and to analyze scientific issues.
In addition to recent university graduates, those who have obtained science degrees and now work in the field of science, science communication or science education such as research scientists, technologists, science centre and museum interpreters, science journalists and science teachers will have the opportunity to enhance their expertise as professional communicators through this program.
Mode of admission
Contact the Program Director Dr. Chantal Barriault to indicate your interest in applying to the program and to determine if you are an eligible candidate.
Visit the Laurentian University Application Portal to submit your formal application with supporting documentation. https://laurentian.ca/admissions/graduate
Deadlines for application
Admission to the program is possible up until March 1 of the year in which you wish to start the program for the September intake.
Program Director, Dr. Chantal Barriault firstname.lastname@example.org