domov MSc Applied Communication Science
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The programme Applied Communication Science studies the role of communication in innovation processes within several fields of the life sciences, including nature, environment, water, nutrition and health, biotechnology and food production. Within these areas, complex processes of scientific and technological change are constantly taking place. These developments will pose new questions for society, such as to what extent is nature manageable, what value do functional foods have, what are the benefits and risks of gene technology, or what impact does climate change have? To analyse such issues, an integrated approach needs to be adopted that involves social science and technical innovations, fulfilling an intermediary role to enhance multi-disciplinarity and interactive cooperation.
At the same time, society too is changing. Across the world, we can observe the effects of increasing globalisation, liberalisation, and individualisation. The impact of these changes calls for new agreements between government and society, and between governments worldwide, at various societal levels and in diverse arenas. Examples include the reform of the United Nations, changing relations between the European Union and national governments, and local initiatives on the way to solving local problems.
Communication is a basic element of change. Complex processes of change involve different perspectives and perceptions of the various people involved. Societal processes like climate change, poverty, disease or ecological degradation require appropriate solutions that integrate insights from all kinds of disciplines and stakeholders. Opportunities for enhancing mutual understanding and collaboration between science disciplines and society will be explored in this programme. Special attention will be paid to everyday life situations and how people actively deal with common issues related to the domains of the life sciences.
There are no pre-defined specialisations in Applied Communication Science. Students develop their own study tracks by choosing, besides the compulsory courses, a minor in the life sciences domain. The Major thesis allows students to become experts in a specific area within communication that is closely linked to their personal interests and future career. A few examples of study tracks are:
•Communication in relation to Nature Conservation
•Communication in relation to Nutrition and Health
•Communication in relation to Animal Production Systems
Other possibilities for linking Communication Science with a domain in the life sciences minor
Ecology and Environment
Forestry and Rural Development
Product Design and Quality Management
Land Use Planning
Graduates are specialised in building bridges between various stakeholders such as governments and citizens, or experts and laymen. They work, either in The Netherlands or abroad, for communication consultancy organisations, government departments, hospitals, development agencies, commercial organisations, and media and knowledge institutes. Careers prospects are:
Communication consultant - advising organisations on how to improve their communication processes
Policymaker - formulating policy in cooperation with groups in society
Process facilitator - managing conflict between interest groups, negotiation and change
Communication manager - organising internal and external communication processes of an organisation
Journalist - making scientific knowledge accessible to a broader public
Communication researcher - conducting research on the effectiveness of communication in a particular setting or the quality of communication processes