Expand your knowledge and skills in science communication theory and practice

Registration is now open for the 2016 online short course in Science Communication at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
More than 120 communicators and researchers from the developing world completed this course successfully during 2015. Scroll down to read comments from participants from Nigeria, India, Ghana and South Africa who completed the course during 2015.
The next course kicks off on 1 September 2016 and will run for 12 weeks. The first six weeks are devoted to thematic content and discussions, followed by 6 weeks for a practical project. The six themes are:

  • Setting the scene: Definitions and rationale
  • Practical skills for the science communication professional
  • Platforms and role players in public science engagement: Science and the media
  • Innovation in science communication: digital engagement and creative approaches
  • Science communication (and public science engagement) as a field of research
  • Global voices and beacons in science communication

The course is 100% online (i.e. there is no need to travel to Stellenbosch) and participants may access course materials and work on the weekly assignments when it is convenient for them. Participants must have access to a reliable and reasonably fast and stable internet connection, in order to be able to download the multimedia components of the class and participate in online forums.
The course will be presented through the web-based learning management system of Stellenbosch University. Successful participation will require five to six hours per week, adding up to 30 – 36 hours over a period of six weeks. Participants should plan to spend at least another 10 – 15 hours on the final practical assignment. Upon successful completion of the course students will receive a certificate of competence from Stellenbosch University.
The enrolment fee is R7 000 for South African citizens and US$500 for students who are not South African citizens. Places are limited and will be allocated on a "first-paid-first-served" basis. Students will not be given access to the course platform unless their fees are paid. Participants must have a recognised university bachelor's degree or relevant tertiary diploma.

The closing date to apply is 1 August 2016
This course is presented by the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST), the home of a DST-NRF Research Chair in Science Communication, in partnership with the Centre for Science and Technology Mass Communication (CENSCOM), based in the postgraduate Department of Journalism at Stellenbosch University. The course has been conceptualised by science communication researcher Marina Joubert of CREST.  Two of the six modules will be presented by other experts. Prof George Claassen, director of CENSCOM, will take the lead on a course module focusing on science and the media. Dr Lars Guenther, postdoctoral researcher at CREST, will be responsible for a module on research in the field of science communication and public engagement.  The voices and views of global leaders in the field of science communication will be included via video lectures and conversations.

Click on this link to access the online application form
Note: click on "General Public" if you do not have a Stellenbosch University staff or student number. Click on "SU Member" if you have a Stellenbosch University staff or student number (past or present).
If you need any further information, please contact Rolene Langford.


“I have found the course to be extremely useful in developing my knowledge and skills in communicating science to diverse audiences. I now have the confidence to venture into other areas using the new skills I have acquired in the course.” (Science editor, Nairobi, Kenya)
“The course has had a major impact on my understanding of what science communication is and what it should involve, and this has given me insight for various activities that I am currently involved in. I have been able to take what I have learnt in the course and influence what is being developed in terms of science communication in my organisation.” (Research manager, Pretoria, South Africa)
“The course provides food for thought about how the essence of academic research articles can be distilled to be understandable to a wide range of people without over-simplification or distortion. It made me think about a number of different ways of communicating science such as storytelling, games, art, poetry, etc. It will help in advising or training people I am connected with who are communicating science.” (Science centre director, Accra, Ghana)
“This course enabled me to understand that the issues facing science communicators are shared no matter the science discipline and various solutions were revealed to enable an improvement of science communication.” (Science communication professional, Pretoria, South Africa)
“The course has made me aware of the intricacies of communicating science. It has caused me stop to consider and appreciate the complexities behind communication – the pitch, the format and the consequences.” (PhD student, Cape Town, South Africa)
“The course is comprehensive and well structured. I have gained a lot of new knowledge and insights. The lessons on risk communication and evaluating science communication activities are the two priority areas that I intend to apply further in my work.” (Science communicator, Nairobi, Kenya)
“The course has improved my knowledge and overall awareness of science communication practices and clarified several key concepts, models and processes. The knowledge and skills acquired throughout this course are valuable and very useful for current and future projects.” (Social science researcher, Cape Town, South Africa)
“I found the course to be extremely useful for scientists and non-scientists alike. It is helping to pave my way towards a successful career in any science environment.” (Science communicator, Krugersdorp, South Africa)
“The course definitely impacted on my own role in community engagement in higher education. I am able to apply the new skills in practice to assist academics in making their research much more accessible.” (Academic manager, Fort Hare, South Africa)
“The course has encouraged me to take a stronger stance at an executive and management level in promoting the strategic relevance of science communication in setting a strategic research agenda for our institute. Postgraduate science students and early career scientists must be encouraged to see science communication as an essential part of their education and a legitimate career path.” (Science communication manager, Grahamstown, South Africa)
“The course provided new insights that could be applied to my work as a researcher and lecturer. It demystifies the notion that science communication is complex to accomplish.” (Journalism lecturer, Kampala, Uganda)
“The course has helped me with tools to develop personally and professionally. It has empowered me with confidence and presented new ways to be involved in the development and growth of young scientists.” (Science outreach officer, Cape Town, South Africa)
“The course has strengthened my knowledge and filled in knowledge gaps so that I now feel confident to take up a project where I can showcase my skills of the societal work contributed by our lab.” (Science communicator, Pune, India)
“This course was a great way to gain exposure to the extensive resources and theoretical basis in science communication. I enjoyed the pace and the balance between research papers, blogs, articles and videos. I don't have the time to go and search for this information, so to have it all presented to me in this way was fantastic.” (Web and social media manager, Pretoria, South Africa)
“The course taught me that science communication is complex, diverse, non-formulaic, engaging, evolving, and integral to driving science advancement.” (Science communicator, Pretoria, South Africa)