Science Communication (M.Sc.Com. or G.Dip.)
Develop the knowledge and skills to understand and effectively engage audiences in science and scientific issues.
Build the theoretical foundations and practical experiences needed for a meaningful career in science communication.
The program is delivered in partnership with Science North, Canada’s 2nd largest science centre, which provides students with experiential learning opportunities for research and application of science communication principles. Some courses are offered on the Laurentian campus, at Vale Living With Lakes; others are a short distance away at Science North.
Dr. Chantal Barriault
Telephone: 705-675-1151 ext. 4139
Office: LL 132, Vale Living With Lakes Centre; Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture
What makes this program unique?
Enroll in one of our two degree options:
Master's Degree in Science Communication:
Completion time: September to August, including work placement and Major Research Paper
Completion time: September to June, including work placement
Each class incorporates practical components that allow students to apply the theory and best practices that they've learned in class to real world projects. Students hone their skills by visualizing real data sets, developing actionable communication plans, and documenting research as it evolves at Laurentian University, Science North, and our community research partners. Our projects are often collaborative in nature, with students working in multidisciplinary teams to develop multimedia assets that are built on a foundation of best communication principles. Our 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 and writing reflections on their experiences.
Every two weeks we welcome guest lecturers in the field of science communication. They showcase career opportunities in the field and provide real world context to the theories and practices taught in class. Topics presented range from public speaking tips, science journalism, medical writing, animation, filmmaking for social media, focus group facilitation, media training, and risk communication.
Field trips normally take place in November and February and expose students to a wide range of communication styles and techniques exemplifying effective communication. Students will be responsible for assignments based upon critical analysis of selected experiences during the trip. Institutions which may be visited include the Ontario Science Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum, both in Toronto, and the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo. An underground tour of the neutrino and dark matter physics research facility SNOLab in Sudbury is usually scheduled in the spring term. There are also opportunities to attend science communication related conferences and events throughout the year.
Students are required to complete an 8 week internship at an organization involved in communicating science. These internship opportunities provide our students with invaluable real world experience and allow them to produce high quality science communication products they can add to their portfolio.
Internships take place during the last term of the program, from May-June.
Follow us on social media to learn more about the student experience:
Twitter - @LUSciComm
Instagram - @LUSciComm
Facebook - @LaurentianScienceCommunication
Michelle Reid, MSc., G. Dip.
Michelle assists with coordinating student applications, internship placements, guest speakers and workshops, major research projects, multimedia production, and experiential learning opportunities. Prospective students, interested researchers, and community partners are encouraged to contact her with any questions about the program.
Suitable candidates for the Master’s in Science Communication and Graduate Diploma should have a minimum of 70% GPA from a 4-year Honours (course based or thesis) B.Sc. BAS, or B.Eng. Candidates will also be considered if they have obtained degrees in a relevant discipline such as psychology, science and society programs, anthropology or other university programs from which they have gained a demonstrated ability to understand scientific knowledge and to analyze scientific issues. Candidates who do not meet these criteria but feel that their work or volunteer experience makes them suitable for our program should email the program director (Dr. Chantal Barriault, firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss their eligibility.
In addition to recent university graduates, applicants 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.
Admission will be granted on the basis of a written application where students must demonstrate their interest in science communication issues and their ability to communicate science.
International applicants are encouraged to review Laurentian University’s English Program Language Requirements at https://laurentian.ca/admissions/graduate.
Step 1. To begin the application process, click here to create an account through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre. This application portal will allow you to send transcripts from your previous institutions directly to Laurentian University.
Step 2. Once you have completed the OUAC application, you will receive an email from Laurentian’s Office of Admissions directing you to the Mylaurentian Portal . Credentials required to log in to the MyLaurentian Portal will only be provided upon successful completion of the OUAC application.
Step 3. Once you have logged in to the MyLaurentian Portal, locate “Reference Submission” in the left-hand navigation menu, and provide the contact information for three references, two of which must be academic references. This will initiate a process by which Laurentian will contact your referees for their documentation.
*You are required to upload the following documents to the MyLaurentian portal:
- Personal statement of interest: Brief explanation (1-2 pages in length) of why you are interested in our program, how you think our program can help you accomplish your personal goals, what you believe you can bring to the program, and what you hope to get out of the experience. This document is an opportunity to express your passion for furthering your professional development in the field of science communication.
- Evidence of science background: Brief description (about half of a page) of academic pursuits, work experience, or volunteer efforts in science-related fields. Applicants can provide a lengthier document if they need to demonstrate that they have significant science experience in addition to their core degree.
- Evidence of communication ability: Two pieces of communication created in any medium (written articles, presentations, posters, videos, blogs, infographics, outreach materials, etc.) that illustrate your ability to communicate technical information to a target audience. We encourage you to synthesize specialist documents like honours theses or published works into condensed plain language formats that are appropriate for non-experts in the topic of choice. These pieces would preferably, but not necessarily, cover a science topic. This section could also include a description of past communication experiences (ie. describing an event you participated in or public speaking experiences) that you feel would give us a better appreciation of your ability as a communicator. If you wish to submit multimedia files (ie. a video, a podcast), please upload the file to an online location and copy the URL into a PDF that you submit to the application portal.
- Curriculum Vitae/Resume
- Three References
- Official transcripts or WES course-by-course evaluation (for studies completed outside of North America)
Step 4. Once the Admissions Office receives all information and the application is deemed complete, the application file will be forwarded to the department. A Science Communication Program Admissions Committee will meet to review the suitability of all candidates only after receiving complete application files for all applications submitted prior to the application deadline. The committee will select a maximum of 15 successful candidates and forward these recommendations to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Laurentian University. The Graduate Studies office will verify the dossier and if satisfactory, the Dean of Graduate Studies will forward the recommendation to the Office of Admissions at Laurentian University for admission.
Step 5. If approved for admission, the Office of Admissions will send the student an Offer of Admission via MyLaurentian. Applicants wishing to accept the offer of admission must indicate their response on MyLaurentian within 3 weeks of receiving the offer. Once the student has accepted the offer, a transition to the registration process occurs.
For Current Students
The degree options listed below are for the upcoming academic year, not the current academic year. If you are a current student looking for which courses to take in order to complete your degree options from a previous academic year's curriculum, please consult with an academic advisor.
Students must follow these regulations while in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Master in Science Communication (33 credits)
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 5125 Major Research Paper in Science Communication
SCOM 5136 Communication Science Through New Media
SCOM 5146 Science Communication Practice II: Professional Experience
Electives (Choose one)
SCOM 5076 Communicating Science Through Exhibits
SCOM 5106 Communicating Science Through Traditional Media
Graduate Diploma (27 credits)
SCOM-5016EL-Audiences and Issues
SCOM-5026EL-Learning: Theories and Practice
SCOM-5036EL-Theories and Principles of Science Communication
SCOM-5056EL-Design Theory in Science Communication
SCOM-5066EL-Science Communication Practice
SCOM-5116EL-Research Methods in Science Communication
SCOM-5136 EL Communicating Science Through New Media
SCOM-5146 EL Science Communication Practice II: Professional Experience
1 of the following 2 courses:
SCOM-5076EL-Communicating Science Through Exhibits
SCOM-5106EL-Communicating Science Through Traditional Media
Students enrolled in the Graduate Diploma do not 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.
Students in enrolled in either the Masters of Science Communication or the Graduate Diploma will register for all of the courses in the list below, and will select only one of the following electives for their second term:
SCOM-5076 EL-Communicating Science through Exhibits (3cr)
SCOM-5106 EL-Communicating Science through Traditional Media (3cr)
Students are able to register for their desired elective later in their first term once they have a clear idea of which course best suits their interests.
To learn more about each course's learning objectives, click on the course code below to open the course description.