Science communication PhD UK

Last Updated on December 14, 2022

Science Communication PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Programme website: Science CommunicationExpand all Contract all 

Research profile

The University of Edinburgh has over 20 years’ experience in science communication practice and has forged lasting partnerships with Edinburgh International Science Festival, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo National Galleries Scotland, Our Dynamic Earth and Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe.

Potential research areas include informal science learning, the role of social media, cultural differences in science communication.

Training and support

Students are strongly encouraged to present their research at conferences and in journal papers during the course of their PhD.

Students are also encouraged to attend the transferable skills courses provided by the University and to participate in external courses when relevant.

PhD candidates pursue their research projects under continuous guidance, resulting in a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge.

You will be linked to two academic supervisors.

Students who have secured their own funding are welcome to apply.


The University has an extensive library collection of books and journal, many available electronically. Our partnerships with external organisations enable us to expand the range of facilities on offer.

Entry requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in any discipline, plus either an MSc in Science Communication or at least one years experience of work in science communication (paid or voluntary).

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Fees and costs

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Scholarships and funding

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

Science and Technology Studies MPhil/PhD

Research degrees are offered under two subject headings: History and Philosophy of Science, and Science and Technology Studies. Students may specialise in the history of science, the philosophy of science, science communication and public engagement, the sociology of science, science communication and public engagement, the sociology of science and technology, science technology policy research, or a suitable combination of those fields.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 yearsPart time: 5 years

Application dates

All applicantsOpen: 9 November 2020Close: 30 July 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

UK:£5,525 (FT)£2,765 (PT)Overseas:£22,740 (FT)£11,390 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Master’s degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: GoodPre-Master’s and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master’s and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.


UCL Science & Technology Studies is the only interdisciplinary department in London covering history, philosophy and social studies of science, science communication and public engagement with science. The department has grown rapidly over the last few years and has continued to develop a vibrant and varied community of researchers. Students are able to take advantage of networking opportunities with prominent London museums and institutions, as well as the proximity of facilities such as the British Library. Many recent PhD graduates have continued to successful academic careers, with others moving on to careers in project management within the EU and NHS. Research standards are extremely high with 42% of history and 46% of philosophy research assessed as ‘world leading’ in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Research areas

  • History of science: history of physics, of biology, of chemistry and of astronomy
  • Philosophy of science: philosophy of physics, of chemistry and of medicine
  • Science and the media: science communication and scientists’ use of the media; public understanding of science; science and journalism
  • Public engagement with science
  • Sociology of science and science policy: policies for biotechnology and genetics; 20th-century evolutionary studies; ethics and integrity in scientific research.

More information can be found on the department website: Science and Technology Studies MPhil/PhD

About this degree

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


UK/EU research students in the area of either history of science or philosophy of science are eligible for AHRC studentships. The department has 1+3 and +3 recognition status from the ESRC for UK/EU studentships in the area of science and technology studies.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship

Value:UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)Eligibility:UKCriteria:Based on both academic merit and financial need

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Recent graduate students have gone on to pursue academic careers at the postdoctoral level and teaching fellow level in various universities, including the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield and Westminster, and UCL.


Science and Technology Studies PhD students graduate with a full spectrum of academic skills, including teaching experience as well as advanced research techniques. As well as providing a firm base for a career path in academia graduates are well equipped for roles as researchers in industry, journalism or for careers in science communication. Recent graduates have gone on to a range of lecturing and research roles at universities including UCL, Westminster and the Open University. Others have taken up project management roles in the NHS and the European Union, and research roles at Demos and in industry.


UCL Science & Technology Studies has strong links with London’s museums and institutions. Staff and previous students have worked with museums such as the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and National Maritime Museum, and UCL’s own Grant and Petrie Museums, as well as key institutions such as the Royal Institute and the Wellcome Trust. Links have included joint events, teaching contributions and research projects.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Capitalising on UCL’s location in the heart of Bloomsbury, our programme combines cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research with the academic resources that London offers, from parliament and political think tanks to the BBC, production houses, and advertising houses. We work in close collaboration with national and specialised archives and museums in science, arts, natural history, and maritime history. Consistently rated as outstanding by students at every level, the department recruits widely and internationally and thrives on the variety of perspectives, skills and motivation that students from diverse backgrounds bring to our research community.

Department: Science & Technology Studies

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Application deadlines

All applicants30 July 2021

Research degrees may start in September or January. Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit (contact listed in Next steps, right) to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.

For more information see our Applications page.Apply now

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Page last modified on 11 June 2021

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