MNKOM9010 – Communicating Science

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Changes in the course due to coronavirus

Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021 the exams of most courses at the MN Faculty will be conducted as digital home exams or oral exams, using the normal grading scale. The semester page for your course will be updated with any changes in the form of examination.

Please note that there may be changes in the form of examination for some courses taught Spring 2021. We aim to bring both the course description and the semester page of all courses up to date with correct information by 1 February 2021.

See general guidelines for examination at the MN Faculty autumn 2020.

Course content

Communicating scientific knowledge is an important skill for PhD-candidates aiming for a successful career in academic research, private companies or in the public sector. Communication skills also contribute to critical thinking, dialogue between scientists, and a closer relationship between scientists and the public.

In this course, you will develop the skills you need to communicate science to fellow scientists and to the public. Participants will discuss and explore how the writing process contributes to scientific thinking, and how writing is an essential tool for learning, discovery and communication.

You will learn methods to generate ideas, strategies for how to draft, structure and revise a text or a presentation, and techniques to give and receive feedback from peers. You will learn to discuss communication theories and strategies, and use this knowledge to analyze various genres in science communication. You will also learn to evaluate and effectively employ visual communication in articles, online and in presentations.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you are able to:

  • outline the main traditions in science communication
  • analyze, compare and evaluate genres in science communication
  • communicate your own research to a specific audience by choosing an appropriate genre and style
  • reflect on the value of communicating science as a PhD-candidate and in a future career

Admission to the course

PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

The course has limited intake capacity (25 participants). Applicants are ranked by the following criteria:

  1. PhD candidates at the MN faculty who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included

  2. Other PhD candidates at the MN faculty

  3. PhD candidates at the University of Oslo

  4. Visiting PhD candidates

All applicants within 1st rank before applicants in 2nd etc. If admission is limited to a fixed number of participants, admission will be decided by drawing lots for students who are ranked equally.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.


The course is taught as a two-week intensive course, followed by two weeks of individual work with the home exam. The teaching consists of workshops, discussions and peer feedback sessions.

The course material includes both written, oral and visual science communication. The course requires active participation from all participants, both in writing assignments during workshops and in discussions based drafts written by fellow PhD-candidates.

The pedagogical framework for the course is based on process-oriented writing, combined with participatory methods from design and creative writing. The teaching encourages you to use writing and reflection as techniques to approach future communication challenges like a scientist.

The course is divided into three parts. The first part teaches you how to analyze a scientific article relevant to your field of study, and how to prepare a presentation related to your own research. Here, you will write and annotate a scientific abstract related to your own research project, and prepare a short conference presentation.

The second part teaches you the basic elements of storytelling, and how to communicate science to a broader audience using both textual and visual media. Here, you will write and annotate a popular science article and prepare a short presentation for a non-scientific audience. We will also discuss the main models to understand genres in science communication.

The third part, the home exam, teaches you how to employ your knowledge about science communication to a new and unfamiliar genre. You must choose a genre, an audience and an appropriate message to communicate, and submit a text, a video, a podcast or a graphical presentation as your final delivery. The submission must also include descriptions of analyzed reference works, reflections on the writing process, and a text describing the communication strategies in your own work.

Attendance at the first lecture is mandatory.

Attendance at 80 percent of the course and approval of the four assignments is required to be allowed to take the home exam.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Two weeks after the final day of teaching, participants must submit a written home exam.

Approval of the four assignments is required to be allowed to take the home exam.

Examination support material

Support material is allowed during the home exam period.

Language of examination

You may submit your home exam in Norwegian or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence can be granted an extended deadline. Re-scheduled examinations are not offered.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Jan. 16, 2021 4:15:18 PM

Facts about this course

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