31 July 2018

Stellenbosch University offers a Master’s programme (MPhil in Science and Technology Studies) with a focus on public science engagement. The course is presented under the auspices of the South African Research Chair in Science Communication (SciCOM), hosted at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST). A limited number of scholarships, to be awarded on academic merit, are available.

Given current policy changes that increasingly recognises the importance of effective public science engagement, this MPhil programme is particularly relevant to policy makers, research managers and communication professionals working government departments, universities, science councils, science centres, museums and science-based NGOs. It affords students a unique opportunity to explore the multi-faceted interactions between science and society from a wide range of perspectives. The contents is presented in the context of global trends in the science engagement landscape, but also rooted in science communication challenges in (South) Africa. The course focuses on developing creativity and critical thinking skills, as well as an evidence-based approach to best practice in public science engagement.

Students have to complete eight academic modules as well as a research assignment. Most students choose to focus on the modules during the first year of this programme, followed by a research focus during the second year. The eight modules are: (1) sociology of science; (2) science policy; (3) bibliometrics; (4) research uptake and societal impact; (5) science and its publics; (6) scientific communication; (7) public science engagement – theory and practice; and (8) public science engagement – actors and platforms. The modular structure of the course makes it possible for participants to structure it as part-time study over a period of two years, without the need to be in Stellenbosch permanently.

As part of the public science engagement modules, students undertake a field trip to a place where science and society meet. In the past, students have visited the Two Oceans Aquarium, The Cape Town Science Centre, The Heart of Cape Town Museum and the Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden.

To qualify, prospective students must have an honours degree or equivalent postgraduate qualification at NQF level 8. Applicants who are interested to enrol in 2019 should apply online before 31 August 2018 (non-South African citizens) and 30 September 2018 (South African citizens). Please contact Bernia Drake on berniav@sun.ac.za or +27 (0)21 808 3394 if you have any questions.

Note: Students who are interested to study science journalism should contact the Journalism Department at Stellenbosch University.