Honours

The Honours Specialisation in Science Communication is a unique opportunity to investigate how an aspect of science that you are passionate about has been communicated in the public arena, might be communicated better, or is affected by such things as government policy and community opinion.

If there is a communication or policy angle on your chosen science discipline that you think might make a good honours project, talk to the science commmunication Honours Convenor about the possibility of taking honours in science communication or jointly in science communication and another discipline.

Research topics

There is a lot of flexibility in the research topics that can be pursued in science communication honours projects. Examples of projects could be:

  • a content analysis of how a science topic has been reported in the news (or in movies, or on blogs, or in high school textbooks, etc), with a view to understanding the effect this might have on public attitudes to the topic.
  • the development, testing and evaluation of a tool for communicating science, for example a creative approach to science teaching, a short film designed to engage people with some aspect of science, a science centre exhibit, etc.
  • a survey of public attitudes towards some aspect of science, for example reasons why people are attracted to scientific careers, or whether they trust scientists, or what they think about a controversial new scientific development, and what influences their opinions.
  • a study of the kinds of forces that influence public debates about science, for example an examination of the links between government policy, industry pressures, community demands, and scientists' public image on climate change debates.
  • an investigation into how scientists disseminate their ideas and communicate with each other, with politicians, with interested publics, with stakeholders, and so on.
  • an examination of the communication needs of specific groups of people who use scientific information in their daily lives or their work.

The kinds of projects that are possible are limited only by your imagination and your interests. The very best projects come from original ideas, initiated by enthusiastic people who are interested in some aspect of science and in how it is communicated.

Past science communication honours students have looked at:

To help you think about project ideas, have a look at the kinds of science communication research projects currently underway at CPAS. If any of these research areas spark your interest, have a chat to the Honours Convenor. You can also browse projects by theme, and contact theme convenors for more information.

How to apply

To apply for Honours Specialisation in Science Communication please follow the instructions published on the Pathways to Honours page on the ANU College of Science website.

Scholarships

For information about available scholarships, please visit the scholarship page on the main ANU website.

Career opportunities

Honours in science communication is the ideal cap to a bachelor’s degree for students interested in pursuing science communication research. Honours is strongly recommended as a requirement for commencing a PhD and/or an academic career in science communication. Students will also benefit from an honours year if they are interested in research-based careers in policy, for example working for the public service to produce evidence-based policy, or working within the community sector to lobby for evidence-based change. Honours can also be a wonderful opportunity for students to gain expertise in a very specific area of science communication, to enhance job prospects where such expertise is required.