The programme content focuses on challenges associated with the communication between science, public audiences and stakeholder groups in society, with a special focus on Africa. The content provides an overview of science communication as a field of research and touches upon issues of credibility and trust in the communication of scientific evidence and its importance for political discourse.
During the research component of the programme, students work closely with the research group associated with the South African Research Chair in Science Communication (SciCOM), hosted at CREST. The key research areas of the Chair are:
- Perceptions and expectations of science among different parts of the SA population (rural, semi-urban and urban)
- Mass media reporting of science as a source of public perceptions
- Science communication and social media
- Science communication and scientific advice for policymaking and specialized target groups
- Science communication by scientists and scientific organisations.
Students must complete eight structured course work modules of 15 credits each. The eight course work modules are:
- Science and its publics
- Science engagement in society – theory and practice
- Science engagement in society – actors and platforms
- Research uptake and societal impact
- Scientific communication
- Sociology of science
- Science policy themes
In addition to the course work modules, students must complete a research assignment of 60 credits. Most students choose to focus on the course work modules during the first year of the programme and complete the research assignment in the second year.
The modular structure of the programme 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.