MJ4300 Science and the Media: Challenges for Journalism and Communication Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Science and the Media: Challenges for Journalism and Communication
Masterstudium i medieutvikling / Masterstudium i medieutvikling, deltid / Masterstudium i journalistikk, deltid
10 stp.


In a democratic society, science and scientific communities should be subject to a rigorous process of dialogue and critique. However, many journalists and science writers covering science have tended to regard themselves solely as translators and disseminators of scientific knowledge. Scientific institutions have, for their part, become increasingly skillful in shaping the image of science in the public. This course draws upon studies of how the media represent science, scientific uncertainty and risk. The students will be encouraged to explore other ways of representing science and science related issues in journalistic work and science writing.




After completing the course, the student should have the following overall learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • has advanced knowledge of how science is put to use and how it shapes and is shaped by society
  • has thorough knowledge of how the media represents science, scientific uncertainty and risks


The student

  • is able to critically analyze practical journalistic work and science writing which covers scientific issues or uses scientists as expert sources
  • is able to critically use this knowledge to explore other ways of representing science and science related issues in journalistic work and science writing
  • has developed and perfected his/her science journalism and/or science writing
  • can apply relevant methods to explore this area of journalism and science writing
  • can inspire colleagues and students to reflect on the role of science in society and journalism/science writing
  • is able to communicate key issues in the research area Science and the media

General competence

The student 

  • is able to analyze professional and occupational issues as well as questions in research ethics
  • is well qualified to present academic scientific work as well as analysis of journalistic and science writing material and is able to give and receive constructive criticism and response 
  • is able to discuss ethical issues in science
  • has acquired journalistic and/or science writing skills through practice and increased knowledge of the scientific processes and science reporting

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

The course will be based on two week-long gatherings at Oslo Metropolitan University, including lectures, discussions and group-work

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

The following coursework requirements must have been approved in order for the student to take the exam:

  • Coursework 1:Present a text from the reading list in the course seminar devoted to presentations and discussions of course syllabus texts.
  • Coursework 2: Partake and present in a group work an analysis of how sources are used in science journalism/communication texts.

The presentation of a text from the reading list is approximately 10 minutes in length.  The group presentation from each group is approximately 15 minutes in length.

The purpose of the course requirements is to help strengthen the students’ skills in critical analysis of science journalism and communication, and to help strengthen the students’ reflection on theoretical issues and/or practical challenges for science journalism /communication that are presented in texts from the reading list. 

Both presentations must be approved before the student can sit for the exam. If the course requirements are not approved, or in case of illness or other valid reasons for absence, the student may once and within a set deadline hand in an improved individual written version of work requirement 1 or work requirement 2. The written version of each requirement consists of approximately 600 words. If the student does not meet the set deadline(s), or if the course requirements are not approved, the student loses the possibility to hand in the paper/hold the presentation, and thereby loses to right to sit for the exam.

There are no mandatory activities in the course, with the exception of the above mentioned work requirements.

Vurdering og eksamen

For the main assessment, the students may choose one of two individual term papers. 


  • A reportage covering science or science related issues, followed by a reflection paper that discusses and analyzes the textual material theoretically helped by the syllabus, a total maximum of 15 pages. The length of the reportage may range from 5 to 7 pages. The reflection paper may range from 6 to 8 pages. Font and font size: Arial or Calibri 12 points. Line spacing: 1.5.


  • An analytic, theory-based paper investigating a limited media output where science, scientific uncertainty or risks related to science are covered. The paper may range from 12 to 15 pages. Font and font size: Arial or Calibri 12 points. Line spacing: 1.5.

The term papers may be written in English or Norwegian (or another Scandinavian language).

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

All aids are permitted, as long as the rules for source referencing are complied with.


Grade scale A-F


The exam papers are assessed by one internal and one external examiner. At least 25% of the exam papers will be assessed by two examiners. The grades awarded for the papers assessed by two examiners form the basis for determining the level for all the exam papers.


A bachelor's degree. The minimum academic requirement for admission is the grade C, in accordance with Regulations Relating to Admission to Master's Degree Programmes at OsloMet.