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Informal Science Education


Admission Requirements

Informal Science Education is a 13-week course which is part of the Science Communication and Society specialisation. The course is open to MSc students from the Faculty of Science and to MSc students in the Biomedical Sciences programme of LUMC. Other students who are interested in following this course, should contact their own study advisor for permission.

There are unfortunately no spots left for students who want to follow this course as an elective course and are not following the entire SCS specialisation.

Please apply for this course through this registration form.


In this course we will look at the field of informal science education, a field within science communication concerned with learning about science outside of the formal school system. Examples of informal science education are institutions such as science museums, zoos, and nature parks. In this course we will discuss different theoretical perspectives that are relevant for informal science education regarding learning theories, target audiences, exhibit development, interactivity, authenticity and citizen science. The course will include guest lectures by professionals in the field and visits to science museums, a botanical garden and a zoo.

Course Objectives

After completion of Informal Science Education students are able to:

  • Give a definition of Informal Science Education and describe the history of the field;

  • Describe different learning theories that are relevant to ISE

  • Describe different ways of defining target audiences and their needs;

  • Define and explain authenticity and interactivity and their importance for ISE;

  • Describe the characteristics of citizen science;

  • Analyze existing ISE products using the theoretical concepts of this course;

  • Develop an educational activity using the theoretical concepts of this course


Preliminary schedule: Classes will take place on Friday morning 9.15 – 12 from September 8 – November 24, 2023; Friday afternoons should be kept available for visits and group work. Room schedule will follow.

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of Instruction

Lectures, in-class activities, guest lectures, museum visits, self-study, group work.

Assessment method

The assessment of the course will be conducted through individual and group assignments, including reports and presentations.

NEMO essay questions - individual - 20%
Naturalis educational activity - group - 50%
Artis one day assignment - individual - pass/fail
Boerhaave object analysis - individual - 30%
Hortus one day assignment - group - pass/fail

Reading List

Reading list will consist of several articles and book chapters. The reading material will be provided through Brightspace.


Please apply for this course through this registration form. You also need to register via MyStudyMap (uSis).

From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


For any information regarding this course or the SCS specialisation in general you can contact our department through: