Science and Communication


Course Objective

a) Gain theoretical insight in the nature of science,
b) Gain theoretical insight in the nature of communication,
c) Gain theoretical insight in the relationship between science and
d) Gain insight in the role of science communication in this
e) Acquire knowledge of different theories and models of science
f) Acquire knowledge of different strategies, media and activities for
science communication,
g) Learn how to practically apply theoretical concepts from the field of
science communication in communicating science,
h) Develop practical skills for science communication (especially
writing and giving oral presentations).
i) Reflect on your own knowledge and competencies pertinent to your
projected (ideal) role as science communicator.

Course Content

Science is all around us and shapes our lives in many different ways.
From the vaccines you need to get when traveling abroad to the
smartphone you use on a daily basis, and from the public transportation
you use to get to the university to the ingredients of your toothpaste:
scientific knowledge is elemental to all of these. Simultaneously,
society shapes the ways in which science and technology develop too.
Science, technology and society influence each other continuously—or, to
put it differently, they ‘communicate’.

Students of the Science Communication specialization are expected to
become experts in understanding and designing interactions between
science and society. In order to make this interaction fruitful and
valuable for both science and society, it is first of all important to
gain theoretical knowledge about science, about communication and about
science communication. Science and Communication provides students with
the theoretical and conceptual foundations of the discipline of science
communication. Thus, you will develop an in-depth understanding of
communication processes at the core of several interfaces, including
those between scientists from different disciplines, between different
sciences and their stakeholders, and between science and the public.

Teaching Methods

Lectures (18 h)
Workgroups (15 h)
Home-study for group assignments (12 h)
Home-study for individual assignments/exam (100 h)

Method of Assessment

a) Participation. (10%)
This consists of the following:
- (small) individual assignments,
- a pitch presentation and
- a "job application".
All these are assessed as pass or fail. If you pass all of them, you
have earned the first 10% of your final mark. For each one you fail, you
have to do an alternative assignment.
Nota bene: if you fail your participation, this cannot be compensated
with an alternative assignment!
b) A group assignment in which you develop a label to an exhibit at a
science museum and write an accompanying essay. (10%)
c) A review of a science communication effort of your own choosing (an
exhibit at a science center or museum, a public lecture, a (popular)
science book, et cetera...). (10%)
d) "TED-talk" in which you present the research you did (e.g. for your
Bsc thesis or (first) Msc internship). (20%)
e) Exam. (50%)

To pass, your grades for assignments (a), (b) and (e) have to be 6 or
higher. Assignments (b), (c) and (d) are all mandatory, but grades for
these individual components can be compensated by other grades.

In case your weighed average of (a) to (e) (with sufficient grades for
(a), (b) and (e)!) is not sufficient, you have to take a resit. This can
either consist of a second attempt at (c) or (d), or a re-exam.


Academic articles. Direct links to articles will be provided on Canvas.

Target Audience

The course Science and Communication is a compulsory course for students
of the Master specialisation Science Communication
(Wetenschapscommunicatie) and is a prerequisite for the internship.
Science and Communication is an optional course for students from other
master programs in the health and life sciences.

General Information

Course Code AM_470587
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. C.A.C.M. Pittens MSc
Examiner dr. C.A.C.M. Pittens MSc
Teaching Staff P. Klaassen MA
dr. J.F.H. Kupper
dr. ir. M.G. van der Meij

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Study Group
Target audiences

This course is also available as: