Sheffield University really has been a hub of science outreach and engagement activities, not least because that’s where we’re based…
Many of the staff holds between them a staggering and broad range of experience when it comes to inspiring and involving people with science, technology, engineering and medicine. So it’s probably great news that the Faculty of science, in partnership with Medicine and Dentistry and journalism, has finally decided to give you the opportunity to have their collective wisdom endowed upon you, by way of a Masters (MSc) in Science Communication.
The course will open its doors to its first cohort of plucky communicators this autumn, offering both a practical and academic approach to get to grips with successfully communicating science to the public, and how to navigate one’s way through the world of the media.
There will be hands-on lessons, researching and producing podcasts, working in a newsroom, organising events and exhibitions as well as the more classic theoretical modules looking at why you’d want to communicate science at all, the best way to achieve public understanding, and some of the issues and controversies that science communicators might get involved in. The best way of learning is by doing and you’ll get plenty of practical experience.
There will of course be many opportunities to develop your communication skills, written and oral, and get to grips with how to deal with TV, radio and ‘new’ media and the pitfalls you might encounter.
On top of this you’ll write a dissertation, to earn the title of “Master”, to bring together everything you’ve learnt, giving you the opportunity to reflect on the sometimes hidden literature on the subject of public engagement and science communication. Even this could be work-place based though, based on experience and evaluation of events, for example.
The course director, Allan Pacey is a researcher and head of Andrology at the University of Sheffield, and has himself been involved in commentating on science stories in the media, both radio and TV (pictured left), and has even been involved with documentary projects on Channel 4 (The Great Sperm Race), the BBC and a documentary about sperm donation (Donor: Unknown). He’s even been a panellist on a debate that ‘Brainwaves hosted! Other Sheffield Uni staff include senior media fellows.
Finally, and possibly best of all, it’s in Sheffield! Having been a student here for 7 years I couldn’t possibly put across how much I love this city! It’s vibrant but friendly, so if you’re looking for something outside London… well, we’ve got our arms wide-open and ready to welcome you! Not to mention, the city (both unis, industrial partners, museums and galleries and more) host undoubtedly one of the biggest National Science and Engineering Week programmes of events for the school and public.
This project has been in the pipeline for quite a while and the staff are super-excited that it’s taking off this year, so why don’t you join them in the joy of inspiring and informing the public with science!
If you’re interested in registering for the course then you’ll need an upper second class degree in a Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Maths, Medicine or Physics-related degree, a passion for science and communicating it then visit the website www.sheffield.ac.uk/sciencecommunication