What will I learn?

Look at science in its wider social context and explore how scientists can work with different groups and communities, traditional knowledge, the arts, and the humanities to respond to pressing issues facing society today.

Many of the most pressing issues facing New Zealand and the world today climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and how to respond to new technologies can't be solved using traditional scientific approaches.

In the age of social media, clickbait headlines and 'fake news', new means of communicating science and engaging different groups and communities are required.

The 180-point Master of Science in Society is a cross-disciplinary programme that combines taught courses, research projects and your choice of final project to give you a practical understanding of the role of science in society.

You'll learn how to engage New Zealanders in conversations about the science that impacts their lives so they can make informed decisions. Find out how you can influence policy change and research priorities.

Broad perspectives

Develop your understanding of contemporary scientific issues, and draw from a range of diverse fields such as philosophy, history and the creative arts to gain a broader and more nuanced perspective on science.

Gain an insight into the range of perspectives different communities have on scientific and environmental issues, and explore the important role of matauranga Maori and other indigenous knowledge in science decision-making.

The Master of Science in Society is suited to students who are interested in science but don't want to pursue a traditional postgraduate science research programme. If you're interested in more effective public engagement around key scientific issues like conservation and pest eradication, or you're keen to pursue a career in science policy or advocacy, this degree is a good choice for you.

How you’ll study

The Master of Science in Society has two parts. The first part takes place in Trimester One, is based on-campus and is compulsory for all students.

In Part 1, you'll focus on developing your critical thinking and communication skills in four taught courses. Look at the theory and practice of science communication, and gain a grounding in contemporary scientific issues and theories. Explore perspectives on science from different cultures and from across the humanities and social sciences.

You'll choose from three of four core 400-level courses, and complete an additional approved course worth 15 points.

The field component of SCIS 589, the Science Communication Project, also takes place during Trimester One.

You'll go on to put your learning into practice in Part 2 by completing your science communication project and a research essay. You'll also choose to do a work placement or a research project, or choose other relevant courses from another discipline of your choice, such as Maori Studies, Public Policy or Conservation Biology.

Which department am I in?

Wellington Faculty of Science

Study options

Online/Distance with attendance (3 trimesters)

Tuition fees
NZ$53,720.00 (US$ 35,203) per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

To suit the client/individual

Venue

Victoria University of Wellington

Kelburn Campus,

Level 2, Easterfield Building, Kelburn Parade,

WELLINGTON,

Kelburn,

6012, New Zealand

Entry requirements

For students from United States

To be accepted into this programme you will need: A Bachelor's degree with a B range average; To have met the prerequisites for the subject you wish to study (see subject section below); To be accepted by the programme director as capable of proceeding with the proposed course of study. English Language Requirements: IELTS: minimum overall score of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.0; TOEFL: minimum score of 90 for the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 in writing; Pearson Test of English: minimum score of 65 (with a ‘Communicative’ score of not less than 58) EPP: minimum final scores of 4,4,5,5.

For international students

To be accepted into this programme you will need to meet:

A Bachelor's degree in a science or other approved subject, normally with at least a B+ average

To be accepted by the programme director as capable of proceeding with the proposed course of study

Proof of English proficiency

To be accepted into this programme you will need to meet one of the following:

IELTS: minimum overall score of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.0

TOEFL: minimum score of 90 for the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 in writing

Pearson Test of English: minimum score of 58 (with a ‘Communicative’ score of not less than 50)

EPP: minimum final scores of 4,4,5,5

Find your nearest IELTS test centre and test dates

There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

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About this uni

Among the world’s 18,000 universities, Victoria University of Wellington ranks in the top 2 percent, and in the top 100 worldwide for 13 subjects.

  • Enjoys 5+ stars in QS Stars Rating of Excellence 2019
  • Among world’s 1% to be triple accredited for business
  • First in New Zealand for research intensity
  • Based in New Zealand’s capital city