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Science Communication and Employability (MULT20011)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeMULT20011
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Why is it essential scientists learn to communicate effectively about science and technology to a variety of audiences? What makes for engaging communication when it comes to science and technology? How does the style of communication need to change for different audiences? What types of media can be used with greatest effect for each communication task? What are the nuts and bolts of good science writing? What are the characteristics of effective public speaking?

Weekly seminars will consider the important role science and technology plays in twenty-first century society and explore why it is vital scientists learn to articulate their ideas to a variety of audiences in an effective and engaging manner. Other topics include giving talks about science to non-scientists, writing press releases, communicating about climate change, communicating with politicians, science performance and how science is reported in the media. We will also focus on effective communication in the context of employability: writing a CV, job application and cover letter, interview skills, using LinkedIn and other social media and what communication skills employers are looking for in science graduates.

Students will develop skills in evaluating examples of science and technology communication to identify those that are most effective and engaging. Students will also be given multiple opportunities to receive feedback and improve their own written and oral communication skills.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Articulate the range of purposes of communicating about science and technology
  • Identify the common features of effective communication in written, oral and other forms of communication
  • Understand the nature of different audiences for science and technology information
  • Communicate science and/or technology effectively to different audiences, using a variety of different techniques and media
  • Provide constructive feedback to other students on their communication skills (both written and oral)

Generic skills

On the completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Communicate effectively in both written and oral forms
  • Demonstrate awareness of and ability to use appropriate communication technology
  • Provide constructive feedback on other students’ work
  • Reflect on their own communication skills

Eligibility and requirements


25 points of Level 2 subjects approved as core in the Bachelors of Biomedicine, Engineering or Science, or included in the following Bachelor of Environments majors: Civil Systems, Environmental Science, Geomatics, Landscape Management, Engineering Systems (previously Physical Systems).



Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • One written assignment “Writing for different audiences” (1000 words, plus 500 words of peer review). Satisfactory participation in peer review of other students’ written assignments is a hurdle requirement. Initial submission for peer review will occur in week 4, final submission in week 8. (30%)
  • Online science blog (minimum of 1500 words during semester). Students must post to the blog at least 3 times during semester and also respond to the posts of other students. (30%)
  • Group project (approximately 60 hours of contribution to group work). Students will interview a University of Melbourne researcher and a) write a press release based on the research, b) produce visual material to explain the research to a primary school audience; and c) give a group oral presentation. Due week 12 (40%)

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    CoordinatorMichael Wheeler
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hoursOne 2-hour seminar, one 1-hour seminar per week, and one 1-hour tutorial per week
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

Time commitment details

Estimated total time commitment of 170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts


  • Breadth options

    This subject is available as breadth in the following courses:

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 10 August 2019